Portadown Football Club were delighted & honoured to induct Brian Morrison, Sammy Lunn & Richard Clarke into the Portadown Football Club Hall of Fame at Saturday (20 May) evenings End of Season Dinner in Portadown Golf Club.
Like so many young lads, Brian began his football career in the BB with 1st Portadown (Thomas Street Methodist), joining in 1958. The next logical move was to join his home town team Portadown progressing through the reserves to make his senior debut in 1963 after impressing manager Gibby McKenzie in pre-season trial matches.
Brain made his senior debut against Bangor in August 1963 and went on that season to make 24 appearances scoring 1 goal. He was selected for the Northern Ireland Youth team to take part in the British Championships, playing against England at The Oval in January 1964, scoring the only goal for the home side in a 3-1 defeat and playing against Scotland in Greenock in April.
After such a promising start Brain found himself confined to the reserves over the next couple of seasons, making just 4 seniors starts. He did pick up a winners medal for the Mid-Ulster Cup in 1964-65 when the Ports defeated Banbridge Town 3-2. Having sought to be released Brian joined Bangor in November 1966 spending almost five years with the Seasiders, winning the City Cup and Co. Antrim Shield. In April 1971 Brian won a Northern Ireland Amateur International cap, playing against Wales. Brian scored a hat-trick for Bangor in an Irish Cup tie against Portadown in 1967, including one which he ‘accidentally’ put into the net with his hand !!! So perhaps he was a Maradona ahead of his time !
In august 1971 Brian returned to his hometown club. The previous season The Ports had finished bottom of the league table with just eight points. Boss Gibby McKenzie took to the transfer market signing Brian and a few months later his brother Ronnie, Jackie Hutton, Mick Magowan and Frank Gillespie. The new look Ports hit the ground running with Brian scoring 8 goals in the first 4 games including 4 in a 7-0 rout of Ballymena United. The turnaround was amazing with the Ports finishing runners up in the league and Irish Cup and winning the Gold Cup. It was a season of personal triumph for Brian finishing the season as the Ports top scorer with 35 goals and awarded the Portadown Player of the Year.
The 72/73 season began successfully for Brain with Portadown lifting the Carlsberg Cup but with just 8 goals and no longer an automatic choice Brain was again unsettled at Shamrock Park. In January 1973 Brain moved to Carrick Rangers where he spent two season before returning to Portadown in February 1975.
In football Portadown were always his first love and Brian continued to volunteer around the club for many years.
Sammy Lunn began his career with the 15th Belfast Boy Scouts before joining Glentoran in 1964 and won a Steel and Sons Cup medal with the seconds in 1964/65. That same season he won Youth caps for Northern Ireland, playing in the team which beat England at Birkenhead in January 1965 and defeated Wales and Scotland. He won a fourth cap in a defeat to the Republic of Ireland. In a step up in grade he was capped at Junior International level that same season winning honours against Scotland.
Swansea made enquiries about signing Sammy in 1967 but he opted for a move to Portadown in October of that year. He finished the season with 12 goals from 28 games. Sammy had been playing in the centre forward role at Glentoran but a master stroke converted him to centre half and the rest as they say is history.
In 1971 Sammy and his wife decided they would immigrate to Australia but a change of heart saw him re-sign for the Ports. Major honours would evade Sammy, he played in the 1972 Irish Cup Final side that lost to Coleraine and picked up a runners up medal in the league but injury cost him a place in the 1971/72 Gold Cup winning team, when he suffered ankle ligament damage in training just before the final. In 1973 he was again on the losing Gold Cup Final team which lost to Linfield but a stellar season saw him voted Ulster Footballer of the Year for his outstanding displays at the heart of the Ports defence. He was part of the team which won the Texaco Cup trophy in 1973/74.
Sammy was a firm fans favourite giving 11 years’ service to the club before joining Bangor in 1978 and a year later he was on his way again, this time to Newry Town where he would eventually have a spell as manager. In 1982 he joined Tandragee Rovers.
Richard’s football journey began with Killen Rangers before he moved on to Dergview, in between, he had a spell with Belfast boys club Dungoyne. The Castlederg native however would be brought to Portadown by Ronnie McFall’s assistant manager Bob Nesbitt following Northern Ireland Schoolboy trials and make his first team debut for the club as a 15 year old on 2 April 1996 in a Mid-Ulster Cup tie against Distillery. He would go on to make 530 Portadown appearances, scoring 50 goals in a stellar 16 plus year career at Shamrock Park as well as representing Northern Ireland five times at U21 level.
The midfielder who was the NI Football Writers’ Young Player of the Year award in 1999 would pick up an Irish League Championship in 2002 as well as Irish Cups in 1999 and 2005 along with a Championship winners medal in 2009 at Portadown.
In European competition Richard would represent Portadown in the Champions League in 2002 against Belshina Bodruisk as well as in the UEFA Cup/Europa League in 1999 against CSKA Sofia, Malmo in 2003, FZ Zalgiris Vilnius in 2004, Viking FK in 2005, Kaunas in 2006 and was of course part of that Portadown side that beat Skonto Riga in 2012 before eventually going out to Qarabağ.
Richard would also feature in Portadown sides who finished runners up in the Irish League in 2003, 2004 & 2012 and would also be in losing Ports sides in Irish Cup finals in 2000, 2002 & 2010.
Portadown would reject bids from Port Vale and Aberdeen for Clarke during his time at Shamrock Park. Being a loyal one-club man, Richard was offered the chance of a testimonial season at Portadown but famously it was an offer he flatly refused and stating “I told them I wasn’t interested, I was happy enough playing for the club; things like that didn’t interest me at all.”
Richard’s career at Portadown would be cruelly cut short in 2012 after being diagnosed with testicular cancer, thankfully however Richard would go on to make a full recovery before taking charge of Portadown’s reserve side and then going on to become player/manager of hometown side Dergview and now is back where it all started, Killen Rangers.
Your Portadown FC Hall of Fame Class of 2023 – BRIAN MORRISON, SAMMY LUNN & RICHARD CLARKE