Ian Porterfield’s magic boot: a footnote to FA Cup history


We remember the late Ian Porterfield for his winning goal in the FA Cup Final of 1973. Two Salut! Sunderland readers have another reason for remembering him (or two versions of the same reason) ..

If ever an exchange of thoughts or memories deserved to leap from the Salut! Sunderland comments field to a posting of its own, this was it.

It also forced me to break a promise that we’d done with our coverage of the Lance Hardy book on our victory over Leeds United in the 1973 FA Cup Final.

For those who may have missed it, the responses to Pete Sixsmith’s review of the book – Long ago, when all the world willed us to beat Leeds – included this, from Bill Taylor, who comes from Bishop Auckland, near Toronto, Co Durham but has made his life in Toronto, near Whitby and Scarborough, Canada:

The photo of the Cats’ triumphant ride through the streets of Sunderland brings back a lot of memories. Right in front of the motorcycle cop in the picture was a truckload of journalists. I was one of them, covering it for the Northern Echo. An amazing experience; I’d never seen such ecstatic crowds — a tidal wave of sound following us as Porterfield waved his magic boot. There was a Guardian writer on the truck, too, who asked me at one point what “haway the lads” meant. As I wrote at the time, the crowd answered that one for him.

To which, overcoming some technical hitch that had this site declare him to be a form of “human spam” and stop him posting comments, Paul Dobson – Sobs of A Love Supreme renown – replied:

Bill Taylor comments on his presence in the pick-up truck of journalists in front of the open-top bus in ‘73, and that Porterfield had been waving his boot about. It was actually my Adidas Scorpion trainer, painted gold, that I’d lobbed up to a very bemused Ian at Belmont as the procession started. It’s the first time I’ve heard anything about it since. I’ve often wondered what happened to the shoe in question – whether went in the Porterfield loft, or the Porterfield bin, in May ‘73!

Trust the press to have got it wrong!

Bill climbed onto his penitent stool for his next offering:

Damn! I wonder if it’s too late to get a correction in the Echo — I wrote that it was his boot!! I hope the Porterfield (family) still have it, Paul. Did you spend the rest of the evening with only one trainer on or had you taken the gold one specially? Either way, good for you. It was a full-size truck, not a pickup. There was a considerable media presence including a lot of national hacks. Everybody wanted to be in on that particular act.

… leaving room for Paul’s closing confession, unless there’s more to come:

I’d painted the one shoe specially for the occasion. I was, of course, wearing my red and white Doc Martens on the evening in question.

Colin Randall

4 thoughts on “Ian Porterfield’s magic boot: a footnote to FA Cup history”

  1. He is always willing to help. He sent me an old photograph of a cricket team I used to play for a long time ago.

  2. I’ve laid the facts before Mike Amos in the hope that he might be able to right this wrong in his Gadfly column. A long-belated mea culpa is better than no mea culpa at all.

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