Ronnie Radford: former Hereford United footballer and scorer of iconic FA Cup goal dies aged 79

Ronnie Radford, famous for 30-yard FA Cup goal, has died aged 79

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The former Hereford United footballer Ronnie Radford has died at the age of 79 it has been announced. The news was announced by Hereford United earlier today, Wednesday 2 November 2022, with a statement that said: “We are devastated to hear of Ronnie’s passing, and wish to extend our deepest condolences to his family and friends at this very sad time.”

Radford, who played for Hereford between 1971 and 1974, became famous for scoring one of the FA Cup’s most outstanding goals during the 1971/72 season in a third round match against Newcastle. The statement on Hereford’s website also adds: “Ronnie is not just part of Hereford United folklore, he is part of football history and has kept Hereford on the football map since 1972. His mild manor, and friendly and modest approach to life epitomised the man he was and he was always delighted to visit Edgar Street, to meet up with past teammates and watch the present day team in action.

“We will always keep Ronnie close to our hearts at Edgar Street, not just at FA Cup moments, but forever and celebrate him and his huge role in propelling Hereford United to the forefront of the nations attention with that goal and being part of that team. We will carry your spirit onwards. Rest in peace Ronnie.”

Who was Ronnie Radford?

Born in July 1943 in South Elmsall, Yorkshire, Radford started his football career at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds United but would not make a first team appearance for either club. Moving on from Leeds in 1962, Radford played for Cheltenham Town, Rugby Town, Cheltenham again and Newport Country before he went to Hereford United in 1971. His football was a part-time career, as he was also a joiner during the week.

Following his stint at Hereford, Radford also went to play for Bath City and Forest Green Rovers although an Achilles tendon injury ended his playing career. He moved back to Yorkshire, after a short time at Worcester City working as their player-manager, and continued his career as a carpenter and joiner.

Radford’s famous goal

Edgar Street hosted the FA Cup third round match between Hereford and Newcastle, in which Radford scored the goal for which he is most fondly remembered. The replay took place on a pitch caked in mud in front of a full capacity crowd. Newcastle went 1-0 up in the final 10 minutes and it appeared the match was settled until Radford won a tackle in the Magpies’ half and played a one-two with Brian Owen.

The return pass then bobbled in the muddy pitch back to Radford and he rocketed a 30-yard strike into the top corner, beating Newcastle’s goalkeeper Willie McFaul, to draw his side level. The goal consequently sparked a pitch invasion and the match then went into extra time with substitute Ricky George scoring the winner for Hereford as they held out for a 2-1 victory to stun Newcastle.

Imagines of the crowd celebrating with Radford in the air have become immortalised in FA Cup history and the goal was voted 97th in 100 Greatest Sporting Moments in 2002. John Motson, the BBC commentator for the match said: “Oh what a goal! Radford the scorer, Ronnie Radford! And the crowd are on the pitch. What a tremendous shot by Ronnie Radford!”

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