HEREFORD United legend Ronnie Radford – who scored the iconic goal against Newcastle in 1972 – has died aged 79.

Hereford FC, the club founded after United folded in 2014, said it was devastated to hear of his death and wanted to extend their 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," the club said.

"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 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 nation's attention with that goal and being part of that team.

"We will carry your spirit onwards. Rest in peace Ronnie."

Hereford Times: Hereford United FA Cup legend Ronnie Radford, pictured at Edgar Street, has died. Picture: Luke Evans Hereford United FA Cup legend Ronnie Radford, pictured at Edgar Street, has died. Picture: Luke Evans

The legend rose to fame in the 1971-72 season when his goal saw non-league Hereford, in the Southern League, draw level with top-flight Newcastle in the FA Cup Third Round replay at a packed Edgar Street.

It was then Ricky George who sealed the 2-1 victory for Colin Addison's side on February 5 1972, which bowed out of the cup to West Ham United in the next round.

Radford's goal, a 30-yard strike, went down as one of the best – if not the best – goals ever scored at Edgar Street, with fans invading the quagmire pitch.

Ronnie Radford and Ricky George, the two goalscorers in the Hereford United v Newcastle United FA Cup match in 1972. Picture: Derek Evans Studio

Ronnie Radford and Ricky George, the two goalscorers in the Hereford United v Newcastle United FA Cup match in 1972. Picture: Derek Evans Studio

After his death, teammate and fellow goalscorer Ricky George said: "I am sad to report the passing of the great Ronnie Radford, a man with a heart as big as Wembley Stadium.

"Immortalised by his sensational goal for Hereford United against Newcastle United in 1972, Ronnie’s name will be enshrined in FA Cup folklore forever. Love you top man."

Memories of the game, which is still now talked about as one of the greatest FA Cup giant-killings of all time, have been stirred up again this week as National League North Hereford FC prepare to play League One side Portsmouth in the first round of the Cup on Friday.

The iconic goal was also attributed to kick-starting the career of Match of the Day commentary legend John Motson, who was covering the game.

Motson believed if Radford, who only played part-time for much of his career, had never scored his famous goal he'd never have had a TV commentary career.

His reaction to the goal was: "Oh what a goal! Radford the scorer. Ronnie Radford! And the crowd are on the pitch. What a tremendous shot by Ronnie Radford".

In 2018, Motson said: "If Ronnie hadn't scored that goal and Hereford had not beaten Newcastle, I don't think I would be here talking to you now," Motson said.

Part of the 1972 side, from left, Peter Isaac, Colin Addison, Billy Tucker, Tony Gough, Ronnie Radford, Ken Mallender, Fred Potter, Brian Owen, Dudley Tyler.

Part of the 1972 side, from left, Peter Isaac, Colin Addison, Billy Tucker, Tony Gough, Ronnie Radford, Ken Mallender, Fred Potter, Brian Owen, Dudley Tyler.

 

"It changed my life, in the sense I was on trial that year at the BBC, I hadn't got a contract at that stage. I had been in radio, and they kind of borrowed me for a year if you like to see if I made out.

"That replay between Hereford and Newcastle was sort of designated to be a bit of a formality. If Newcastle had won it, the match would have been shown for about three minutes on Match of the Day.

"Then when Ronnie's goal turned it, and Ricky George, who by coincidence was a friend of mine, scored the winning goal in extra time, the match was propelled to the top of the running order and we had an audience of about 10 million.

"From that moment onward, maybe the BBC thought they could trust this young guy with a big match, so yes it was a stroke of luck and a huge turning point.

"I don't know what would have happened if Newcastle had won 2-0 – whether I would still have got a contract or gone on to do a cup final, that is all sort of speculation really, but what I do know it was the moment which changed my career and which changed my life."

Radford played for United between 1971 and 1974, before joining Worcester City, where he was player-manager, Bath City and Forest Green Rovers.

Earlier in his career, the Yorkshire-born midfielder had been at clubs such as Sheffield Wednesday, Leeds United, Cheltenham Town and Newport County.

An Achilles tendon injury ended his playing career and he moved back to Yorkshire to continue his work as a carpenter and joiner.

Community answers

Pay your tribute to Hereford United FA Cup legend Ronnie Radford

"Contribute to this online book of condolence after the sad death of Hereford United legend Ronnie Radford. The midfielder secured his place in FA Cup folklore with a 30-yard strike in the FA Cup third-round replay against top-flight Newcastle United in 1972."

We asked for your responses - this is what you sent.

From Stephen Yallop

Share your tribute hereWhen Ronnie Radford scored that wonderful goal against Newcastle United it hurt being a Newcastle supporter, but what hurt even more was hearing of the passing of Ronnie Radford, Rest In Peace, sir. Love and hugs to his family, God bless the legend of Hereford United.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?I saw it on t.v.

From David John Crook

Share your tribute hereRon was a fine midfield player, but with one shot he became a legend and set Hereford on course for league status and all that followed. His memory will always be central to the history of Hereford.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?Yes, at the Blackfriars St End. From my view he seemed to be only just over the half-way line, but as soon as he hit the ball you just knew it was going in. An amazing day.

From Leslie Holder

Share your tribute hereSo so sad to hear of the passing off Ronnie radford you will never be forgotten one of our own RIP true legend from les holder

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?I was there sat on a beer crate behind the blackfriers goal age 13 what an amazing day

From Mitch Stansbury

Share your tribute hereSuch terribly sad news. Thank you Ronnie, for giving us something so very special. You will never be forgotten in Hereford. RIP.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?Yes I was there, and at nine years old, just knew that we would win. Twelve heroes somehow saw to it that we did, but now, and a wiser almost 60, suspect that without Ronnie, we might have struggled. That day changed my life, without doubt, for the better. RR, you are a legend.

From David Bird

Share your tribute hereRIP Ronnie, my thoughts are with your family, Ron you left us with many memories including that famous goal v Newcastle, I thank you.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?Yes I was at Edgar Street that day, after forcing a draw a St. James park we waited and waited for the weather to relent, when we went behind I thought that was it until Ronnies Rocket, I ran onto the pitch from the Meadow end at the full-time whistle absolutely delighted to thank the boys (Hero's).

From David Glinos

Share your tribute hereThe reason I became a dedicated fan - weaned on that goal from birth. RIP Ronnie - it just won’t be the same without you

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?

From Chris Price

Share your tribute hereCondolences to family and friends and of cause the city of Hereford. You will be missed by everyone involved with football Ron . RIP my friend.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?

From Richard Mark Stansbury

Share your tribute hereRonnie, you were my hero. I have relived your goal every day since 6/2/1972. I cannot put into words my feelings. R.I.P

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?I was there as a 13 year old. I sat on the grass behind the goal at the Blackfriars End, mixed with Newcastle supporters who also wore black and white. My sister was with me at her one and only football match and was kissed by a Geordie. Great day, great result. Ronnie my hero, I have relived that goal every day of my life. Eternal thanks and R.I.P. Macdonald, who?

From Richard Mark Stansbury

Share your tribute hereRonnie, you were my hero. I have relived your goal every day since 6/2/1972. I cannot put into words my feelings. R.I.P

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?I was there as a 13 year old. I sat on the grass behind the goal at the Blackfriars End, mixed with Newcastle supporters who also wore black and white. My sister was with me at her one and only football match and was kissed by a Geordie. Great day, great result. Ronnie, my hero, I have relived that goal every day of my life. Eternal thanks and R.I.P. Macdonald, who?

From Paul Jones

Share your tribute hereVery sad news RIP Ronnie

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?Yes sat on a beer crate on the touchline, also the same 13 year old jumping up at Rickie George with the fox fur parka on wish I still had that.

From Billy powell

Share your tribute hereI played a long side Ronnie radford going back in 1979 playing for Prince of Wales in the Premier sunday league in cheltenham you can tell Ronnie played professional the way he played for us . I was proud to play a long side him . The goal Ronnie scored against Newcastle United was fantastic goal brought the name to Hereford United football . Ronnie will be sadly missed by all . From Billy Powell cheltenham .

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?No

From Billy powell

Share your tribute hereI played a long side Ronnie radford going back in 1979 playing for Prince of Wales in the Premier Sunday League in Cheltenham. You can tell Ronnie played professional the way he played for us. I was proud to play alongside him. The goal Ronnie scored against Newcastle United was fantastic goal. He brought the name to Hereford United football. Ronnie will be sadly missed by all. From Billy Powell, Cheltenham .

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?No

From Jon Wooles

Share your tribute hereRIP Legend. That goal will always be the best goal and the biggest upset in F.A. Cup history. Hope we can get a result for you on Friday.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?

From Becky skyrmev

Share your tribute hereRip Ronnie, one icon, condolences to family x friends xxx

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?Yes I was at Merton meadow end, what a match, remember it all to well I was 15yrs old.

From Martin Hill

Share your tribute hereRIP Ronnie. This has really upset me but what memories you have left behind for all football fans to enjoy forever.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?

From Simon Bonelle

Share your tribute hereI have dined out on being at the game and seeing ‘the goal’ for 50 years. What an occasion to have been part of. This one occasion and moment has given endless pleasure over a lifetime.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?Yes, I was at the ‘other’ end and saw the MM goal up close but still had a great view of the Ronnie Radford strike.

From Nigel Martin Heins

Share your tribute hereRonnie's goal has made him more famous than many former international stars. A tackle, a thoughtful one-two and then a thunderous strike - and all this from a part-timer in strength-sapping conditions.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?At the blackfriars end, right behind Ronnie - and knew this was a once in a lifetime moment.

From Jonathon davies

Share your tribute hereOh when our heroes pass away. Ronnie will never die . We can never repay what those boys did for us the Bulls family. All respects to the Radford family.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?

From Philip moon

Share your tribute hereWe all will miss ronnie Radford terribly sad Were still living would say the same RIP ronnie My mum and dad when they met him said he was a lovely man and great footballer, they would if they

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?

From Timothy Perkins

Share your tribute hereA top bloke and Hereford united Legend that put Hereford on the Map he will always be rembered

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?

From Community contributor

Share your tribute hereRest in Peace the great Ronnie Radford.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?I was at the game in 1972 standing in the Meadow End when Ronnie Radford scored his fabulous goal. I was nearly 15yrs old. I will be in the Meadow End this Friday. Hopefully the team will do Ronnie Radford proud.

From Andrew Cross

Share your tribute hereA Newcastle fan who remembers that day vividly. Great goal. God speed Ronnie.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?People forget Hereford held us at St James 2-2 and possibly should have won then. That would have denied us that brilliant replay and John Motsons career.

From Colin Williams

Share your tribute hereA true Hereford legend who never forgot Hereford what a great man.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?Yes I was remember hitting my fist on the Meadow End roof when he scored.

From Dennis Pitt

Share your tribute hereHereford United legend, never to be forgotten.

Were you at the game? What are you memories of it?Yes. Greatest day in Hereford United history.