Ian Black: Goalkeeper for Fulham in the 1950s

 

Ian Black guarded Fulham's net unflappably throughout most of the 1950s before giving way to the challenge of youth in the form of the more flamboyant Tony Macedo. Black was a much-needed pillar of reliability in a team stacked with talented footballers and colourful characters but prone to an inconsistency which kept them out of the top flight for most of the Aberdonian six-footer's Craven Cottage tenure.

Having shown immense promise as a schoolboy, Black joined his home-town club in 1944 but the impetus of his career was jolted by the war, during which he served in the Army with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. During the conflict he guested for Southampton and Chelsea, whom he helped to lift the Football League South Cup, keeping a clean sheet against Millwall in the 1945 Wembley final in front of 90,000 fans desperate for entertainment as the end of hostilities approached.

When peace resumed, Black couldn't oust the much older George Johnstone at Pittodrie and in December 1947 he was sold to Second Division Southampton for £1,000. He thrived immediately, and in spring 1948 he was called up for Scotland, against England at Hampden Park.

His selection ahead of Celtic's Willie Miller and Jimmy Cowan of Morton caused heated debate, especially as Black was an "Anglo", but he was not to blame for the 2-0 defeat, being beaten by unstoppable efforts from Tom Finney and Stan Mortensen, and was unfortunate not to win a second cap. Back at The Dell, the only Southampton player to represent Scotland at the top level in the 20th century continued to excel, contributing impressively to three successive promotion bids, all of which failed narrowly.

Black was happy under the guidance of manager Bill Dodgin, so it was hardly surprising in August 1950 when he followed his mentor to top-flight Fulham – in exchange for the Northern Ireland international 'keeper Hugh Kelly – having conceded slightly less than a goal a game in more than a century of senior appearances.

At Craven Cottage he found himself facing a different challenge, that of avoiding relegation, a task that was accomplished in 1950-51 but not in the next campaign, when Fulham finished bottom. Still, Black excelled, his composure, courage and agility frequently limiting the damage as the Cottagers' rearguard was pounded, even if occasional crosses were dropped.

For the next five and a half seasons, alongside such starry performers as Charlie Mitten, Bobby Robson, Bedford Jezzard and the great midfield general Johnny Haynes, Black was a reassuring presence, even becoming the only Fulham 'keeper to score a goal. At Leicester in 1952, well before the use of substitutes was allowed, he was hurt and switched to the front line for nuisance value. He offered rather more than that, nodding home a cross from winger Arthur Stevens, an act of welcome defiance in a 6-1 defeat.

However, another injury, suffered in November 1957 in his 277th outing for the club, had more far-reaching consequences. Macedo stepped up and performed brilliantly, and the Scot never played another senior match. In 1959, aged 35, he signed for non-League Bath City, remaining at Twerton Park for three years before enlisting with Canterbury City. Later he coached youngsters for Brentford, ran a sports shop in Tolworth, south-west London and played bowls for Surrey.

Ivan Ponting

Ian Henderson Black, footballer: born Aberdeen 27 March 1924; played for Southampton 1947-50, Fulham 1950-59; capped once by Scotland 1948; died 13 December 2012.

News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Business Project Manager

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Project Manager job vaca...

Business Analyst (Agile, SDLC, software)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor