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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 12, 2007

Football pays tribute to departed Porterfield

Sunderland is in mourning after the death of the man whose goal produced one of the great FA Cup final shocks. Ian Porterfield, who fired the then Second Division Wearsiders to victory over the mighty Leeds at Wembley in 1973, died at a hospice in Surrey yesterday at the age of 61. • Catch ESPN Classic to see Porterfield's famous winner. Porterfield was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year, but carried on with his duties as manager of Armenia's national team until just before his death. Indeed, he took charge of his side for their superb 1-1 draw against Portugal in Yerevan on August 22, which left Luiz Felipe Scolari's superstars facing a fight to qualify for Euro 2008. Former Sunderland team-mate Jim Montgomery, who was in goal at Wembley in 1973, led the tributes. 'It's a very sad day indeed,' he told Sky Sports News. 'I have known him since he first signed for the club and he was just a wonderful man, a gentleman who would do anything for anybody. 'We had not seen each other for quite a while because of his travels all over the world - but whenever he came back he kept in touch. It's a great loss.' Dunfermline-born Porterfield began his management career in December 1979 at Rotherham, where he guided the South Yorkshire club to the Division Three title. He then had a successful spell at Sheffield United before replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at Aberdeen in 1986. He also took charge at Reading and Chelsea before embarking upon an international odyssey. Porterfield managed the Zambia, Saudi Arabia, Zimbabwe, Oman and Trinidad and Tobago national teams, as well South Korean club side Busan I'Park, before accepting the Armenian FA's offer of employment. Manchester United boss Ferguson said: 'His death so young is a tragedy for his family and for football. 'It isn't long ago when he was coaching in Korea that I spoke with him with the intention of getting a few young players over to United. 'I played against him when he was with Raith Rovers. He was an exceptional footballer, blessed with a lot of natural talent.' Porterfield will perhaps be most fondly remembered for his Wembley winner. His 31st-minute volley with his weaker right foot overturned seemingly insurmountable odds to secure a remarkable giant-killing act. The midfielder had begun his playing career at Raith before making a £45,000 move to Sunderland in December 1967. He made 266 appearances for the club and scored 19 goals before - following a loan spell at Reading - leaving for Sheffield Wednesday during the summer of 1977. Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn said: 'The word legend can be very much over-used in the modern era of football, but Ian is what I would call a true legend of the game. 'He is part of what can only be described as an institution in the long and proud history of Sunderland AFC - the famous FA Cup-winning team of 1973. Porterfield is survived by his wife Glenda, who said: 'He may have been a football man all his life, but I know him best as a wonderful human being who was liked by everyone he came in contact with. 'He had his wish to die in harness. Just over two weeks ago, we flew to Armenia for the Portugal game and I'll always remember what happened at the open training session at the stadium on the day before the game. 'The stadium was packed to see all the Portuguese stars like Ronaldo, Deco and the rest, but when Ian walked out, they all stood up and shouted his name. It was very moving.'


• 

ESPN Classic will be showing the 1973 FA Cup Final. Available in the UK on Sky Channel 442 it is scheduled on Sun 16th @ 21:30, with repeats on Mon 17th @ 13:30 & Wed 19th @ 23:30.