PAST PORTS: A look into the club archives

Shamrock Park
Shamrock Park

Portadown Football Club historian Trevor Clydesdale takes a look into the Shamrock Park archives:

“The constraints of the Salary Cap Protocol and other financial limitations currently restrict the Portadown squad to one of the smallest in the club’s history.

“A far cry from bygone days when the training ground at Shamrock Park was packed with players.

“Looking back to the 1949-50 season, the Ports had no fewer than 85 players on their books.

“Many retained that season were survivors of the famous ‘Scottish’ team which had taken the club to the Irish Cup semi-final with a renowned line-up including McSpadyen, Dykes, Maxwell, Wood, McAra, Gillespie etc.

“Most of those players had parted company with Portadown by the start of the new season but there were still some very well-known professionals on the books including Walter Allen, Billy Twinem and Jackie Russell.

“Portadown reached the Gold Cup final in 1949-50 but went down 3-2 to Linfield at The Oval with the Ports goals coming from Russell and Jackson.

“Despite the large number of players available for selection and the Gold Cup final appearance, it was to be a disappointing season with just three league wins from 22 games, a first-round 4-0 Irish Cup defeat against Linfield, finishing bottom of the City Cup table and bottom of their Ulster Cup group.

“Following on from the lows of the 1949-50 season the number of professionals on the books was reduced from 15 players to just five. On the other hand the number of amateur players signed jumped from 70 to a total of 90.

“Many of those were local players including Joe Roney, Sammy Martin, Edward Vennard and Brian McNally.

“Amongst the amateurs to make an impression in 1950-51 were Tommy Andrews, Jim Giffen, Bruce Shiels and Jackie Dobbin.

“Performances improved with Portadown claiming a creditable fifth-place finish in the league and another Irish Cup semi-final appearance.”