Hereford FA Cup hero Ronnie Radford dies aged 79

Hereford FA Cup hero Ronnie Radford has died at the age of 79, the club have announced.

Radford wrote himself into the competition’s history with a stunning strike as the then Southern League club knocked first division Newcastle out of the FA Cup in a third round replay in February 1972.

His death was announced in a statement on Hereford’s official website on Wednesday afternoon.

It 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.

“Ronnie is not just a part of Hereford United folklore, he is a part of football history and has kept Hereford on the football map since 1972.

“His mild manner, 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 team-mates 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 nation’s attention with that goal and being part of that team.

“We will carry your spirit onwards. Rest in peace Ronnie.”

Radford, born in South Elmsall, a Yorkshire pit town between Doncaster and Wakefield, was on the books at both Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds and played semi-professionally for Cheltenham, Rugby and Newport before signing for Hereford in 1971.

He spent three years with the club and will always be synonymous with one of the greatest shocks in FA Cup history when, after the Bulls had earned a replay against the Magpies at Edgar Street following a 2-2 draw on Tyneside, he played a pivotal role in a famous victory.

Newcastle looked to be coasting when Malcolm Macdonald fired them in front, but Radford’s piledriver, which sparked a joyous invasion of the mudbath on which the game was played, set the stage for team-mate Ricky George to secure a remarkable 2-1 win.

The Magpies paid their own tribute to a man whose most famous goal brings shudders to the spines of their older supporters when footage is inevitably aired on third round day each year.

A post on the club’s official Twitter account said: “Though against us, a goal forever written into FA Cup folklore. Rest in peace, Ronnie.”

Radford, a joiner by trade, later played for Worcester, Bath and Forest Green before returning north.