Video: A plastic pitch, a comedy own goal and an amazing comeback - the last top-flight 5-5
FourFourTwo.com editor Gary Pakinson recalls the last time two top-flight English teams evenly shared ten goals
Chris Waddle leaps over Peter Hucker after giving Newcastle a 2-0 lead
The unavoidably Orwellian year of 1984 was not a happy time in the UK. The Miners' Strike was bitterly dividing the country, WPc Yvonne Fletcher had been shot dead outside the Libyan Embassy, Euro 84 had passed without British involvement, controversially fast-tracked distance runner Zola Budd did nothing at the LA Olympics apart from leg up Mary Decker, the IRA were close to success with the Brighton bombing of the Conservative party conference and the 1984/85 football season would end in the far-reaching misery of Bradford and Heysel.
Not all of this was clear on 22 September 1984, when 14,234 gathered at Loftus Road to watch QPR host Newcastle in what would turn out to be the last 10-goal draw in England's top flight until the final game of Alex Ferguson, then a mere OBE and still manager at Aberdeen.
Six games into the 1984/85 season, QPR were down in 13th but only two points off top spot, despite having lost 5-0 the previous week at Tottenham. Jack Charlton's Newcastle, back in the top flight after six years, had also lost their previous away game 5-0, at the hands of Ron Atkinson's Manchester United; their next trip was to QPR's controversial Omniturf artificial surface.
But the pitch wasn't a problem for the Geordies as they went into an early lead through a far-post header from Neil McDonald, their former apprentice (and currently Sam Allardyce's assistant manager at West Ham).
Enter Chris Waddle. Another local lad made good, the lanky winger swept in a 25-minute hat-trick to put the visitors 4-0 up at half-time, when the ecstatic visiting fans serenaded the Loftus Road locals with songs about how much they loved the plastic pitch.
Meanwhile in the home dressing room, Alan Mullery had a problem. The former Palace boss had only arrived in June, during a summer of upheaval at Loftus Road. Under Terry Venables QPR had finished fifth the previous season, qualifying for the UEFA Cup, but Venables had then switched to Barcelona. Rangers had replaced the newly-christened 'El Tel' with Gordon Jago, but had sacked him a week later after a player rebellion led by captain Terry Fenwick, who had threatened to leave the club.
Mullery was appointed instead and Fenwick stayed, but leading striker and new England cap Clive Allen had walked away. Having refused to sign a contract extension under Venables, saying that he wanted to broaden his horizons by playing abroad, Allen had joined Spurs for ÃÂ£750,000.
And now, less than a month into the season, Mullery's men had conceded nine goals in a game and a half. Under pressure, Mullery played his only card in the days of single substitutions, bringing on Ian Stewart for Mike Fillery.
Stewart may not be recalled among the ranks of famous supersubs but the switch Ã¢ÂÂ and Mullery's half-time team-talk Ã¢ÂÂ worked wonders. Gary Bannister, who had been signed from Sheffield Wednesday to replace Allen (but only after QPR had failed to land West Brom's Cyrille Regis and Birmingham's Mick Harford), started the comeback in the 49th minute.
Then came one of the finest own goals you're likely to witness. As Newcastle defenders scrambled to clear the ball, Peter Haddock succeeded only in hoofing the ball off team-mate Kenny Wharton's face and into the far corner for 4-2. Comedy gold, and more hope for the Hoops.
With just over 15 minutes left to play, experienced midfielder (and future manager of QPR, among assorted other clubs around the globe) John Gregory raced cleared of the defence and skilfully lobbed goalkeeper Kevin Carr to make it 4-3.
The Rs desperately sought an equaliser, but as is often the case they left the back door open and Wharton wandered unmarked into the six-yard box to make it 5-3 with six minutes to go. Surely that was the end of the great comeback?
As you obviously know by now, no it wasn't. Towering centre-back Steve Wicks looped home a far-post header on 86 minutes before an injury-time equaliser from 5ft 7in midfielder Gary Micklewhite lifted the Loftus roof.
The post-match press conference was heavy on the cardiac references. "These kind of games are great for the fans but they give managers heart attacks," said Mullery. "We needed a miracle in the second half and we got it."
Jack Charlton was understandably less jovial, describing it as "a total embarrassment, absolutely diabolical. I have never seen anything like it in my 32 years in the game. I went mad at the players because there were times when they were going to give me a heart attack. They just stopped playing.
Charlton was barely a month into the job, having replaced Arthur Cox, who had resigned when the board refused to improve his contract despite the Magpies' impressive promotion. And Charlton was scathing about the club he had walked into: "There are so many things wrong at Newcastle it is incredible. People are asking me where I intend to start with the problems, but I just don't know. It will take years to put right. Some of the players couldn't even breathe in the second half. I don't know where they got their education from before, but, believe me they'll get it from me in the months to come."
Indeed, the draw at Loftus Road was the start of an eight-game unbeaten run for Newcastle, but the majority were draws and the former Middlesbrough manager's less than scintillating football never captured Geordie hearts. He resigned the following summer, and Newcastle spent the rest of the 1980s bobbing about in mid-table before relegation and rebirth in the 1990s.
Mullery didn't even make it to Christmas. He was sacked less than six months after arriving at QPR, later claiming that the "moaning, groaning" players "treated me, themselves and their profession with contempt". In a neat twist to the Newcastle result, Rangers had gone out of the UEFA Cup to Partizan Belgrade despite winning the home leg 6-2, becoming one of only three teams in the history of European competition to lose a four-goal first-leg lead.
QPR Peter Hucker, Warren Neil, Steve Wicks, Terry Fenwick, Ian Dawes, Gary Micklewhite, John Gregory, Wayne Fereday, Mike Fillery, Simon Stainrod, Gary Bannister. Sub: Ian Stewart (Fillery, HT). Manager: Alan Mullery.
Newcastle Kevin Carr, Malcolm Brown, Wesley Saunders, Glenn Roeder, John Anderson, Peter Haddock, Neil McDonald, David McCreery, Kenny Wharton, Peter Beardsley, Chris Waddle. Manager: Jack Charlton.
Nine other 5-5 draws...
Manchester United 5-5 Lincoln City (Division Two - 16 November 1895)
USSR 5-5 Yugoslavia (Olympic First Round - 20 July 1952)
Tottenham Hotspur 5-5 Aston Villa (Division One - 19 March 1966)
Chelsea 5-5 West Ham United (Division One - 17 December 1966)
Ghana 5-5 Ivory Coast (CSSA Nations Cup - 15 February 1982)
Southampton 5-5 Coventry City (Division One - 4 May 1982)
Netherlands 5-5 Belgium (Friendly - 4 September 1999)
Lyon 5-5 Marseille (Ligue 1 - 8 November 2009)
Chesterfield 5-5 Crewe (League Two - 2 October 2010)