Ian Porterfield

Player of the Day: Ian Porterfield

Published:
by Ashley Houghton

Cup-winning legend profiled on what would have been his 68th birthday.

Ian Porterfield will forever be revered and remembered on Wearside as the scorer of the 31st-minute goal that upset all the odds and won the 1973 FA Cup final at Wembley against Leeds United.

Born in Dunfermline, Porterfield began his career with Raith Rovers of the Scottish Second Division where he made 115 appearances and scored 17 goals as the Kirkcaldy club won promotion to the top-flight in his final season.

Porterfield moved to Sunderland in December 1967 with Raith receiving a record fee of £45,000 for the midfielder.

Ian made his Sunderland debut in a 3-3 draw with Newcastle United at Roker Park and went on to make ten appearances in his debut campaign in English football.

He would become a key member of Alan Brown’s side as Sunderland preserved their top-flight status in the 1968-69 season; making 31 appearances and scoring his first goal for the club in a 2-0 win over Leicester City.

Ian missed the entire 1969-70 campaign as the club were relegated from the top flight but he returned for the following season and missed only two games, scoring two goals.

The 1971-72 campaign was Porterfield’s most prolific in the red and white stripes as he notched six goals in 46 appearances from midfield with Alan Brown’s side missing out on promotion by just four points.

Ian will be most remembered for his efforts during the 1972-73 season, most notably during the FA Cup winning run in which he played every minute before volleying home the winner in the Wembley final.

Another 50 appearances followed for Porterfield in the 1973-74 campaign, including every minute of the Black Cats’ only venture into European competition in the Cup Winners’ Cup.

Ian’s progress was interrupted in December 1974 – the day after a dazzling display in a 4-1 win over Portsmouth – by serious injuries sustained in a car accident which included a fractured skull and broken jaw.

A further 22 appearances followed in the 1975-76 campaign and he scored his final goal for the Black Cats in a 1-0 win over Oxford United in December 1975.

A loan spell at Reading followed before he moved to Sheffield Wednesday where he would finish his career after a two-year stay that returned five goals in 130 appearances.

Both Porterfield and fellow 1973 FA Cup winner Vic Halom led Rotherham United to the Third Division title after just 18 months in charge at Millmoor.

Ian then took charge at another Yorkshire club in Sheffield United and he achieved two promotions in his five year stay at Bramall Lane.

After succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson as Aberdeen boss, Porterfield had spells with Reading and Chelsea before he moved into international management with Zambia.

More spells in Africa followed with Zimbabwe and Oman prior to a move to the Caribbean to manage Trinidad and Tobago in 2001.

Ian then went on to manage now Sunderland AFC official club partners, Asante Kotoko of Ghana, before a spell in Korea with Busan I’Park and then a final stint as coach of the Armenian national team.

He passed away on 11th September 2007 at the age of 61.