It’s been 30 years since the proposal to merge Queens Park Rangers FC and Fulham FC, an idea which in this day and age seems frankly absurd.
In 2017, the thought of such a suggestion would be laughed straight out of west London, but in 1987, the outlandish plan almost became a reality.
But what is the story behind the proposed ‘Fulham Park Rangers FC’?
It was February 24th 1987 when The Times first published news of the proposed merger.
The news came as Marler Estates, a property company that already owned Fulham's Craven Cottage and Chelsea's Stamford Bridge, acquired Loftus Road for a sum of £5,865,510, with new Chairman David Bulstrode intending to have QPR and the Cottagers playing under one banner, Fulham Park Rangers FC.
At the time, Fulham were playing in the third division, while the Hoops were in the top flight, meaning the plan was to play matches at QPR's stadium while selling off Craven Cottage for housing due to it’s prime location by the River Thames being ideal for luxury housing.
The intention was also to put QPR manager Jim Smith in charge of on-the-field affairs, effectively disbanding Fulham as a footballing entity.
The previous R's owner Jim Gregory had previously tried to link up Chelsea, Fulham and the Hoops into one footballing side who would play at Wembley, but this didn't materialise.
As you can imagine, Fulham's fans were furious about the plans, especially when chairman Bulstrode, addressed 'their small number of fans' saying: "they will appreciate it is not economical in the long run for the club to continue on it's own'.
Clearly unhappy with the proposal, Jimmy Hill headed a public outcry, and ultimately bought Fulham Football Club with the help of his backers.
The only thing they didn't get back was the ownership of Craven Cottage.
Fulham remained at the Cottage as tenants, while the owners drew up their plans to develop the Stadium into housing.
The Stadium's owners, Marler Estates were then purchased by John Duggan's Cabra Estates, but the company soon went under meaning the Royal Bank of Scotland emerged as the Club's new landlords.
Fulham held the lease to to Cottage until 31st May 1993, and with the help of their 'Fulham 2000' scheme, fans joined forces to contribute towards the cost of a high-profile campaign to win back the Cottage, something they did with the help of Mohamed Al Fayed in 1997, as they bought the Stadium back for a price of £7.5m.
Meanwhile, the proposal to merge the two footballing entities of Fulham FC and QPR FC was rejected, before the death of David Bulstrode saw Richard Thompson become QPR’s new Chairman in the 1988-89 season.
It was a naturally turbulent time for both clubs, and certainly goes a long way to explaining the long-standing connection between both Fulham and QPR.