We were contacted this week by former Portadown Times editor David Armstrong with some information on former Ports player Billy Punton who turned 90 this month.

Born in Ormiston, East Lothian, Punton was a left-sided winger who starred for Portadown before signing for Newcastle United in February 1954. He made his Football League debut in April 1954 against Manchester City making 23 league appearances during his four-year spell at the club. In July 1958, he was sold to Southend United in a part exchange deal which saw Southend’s John McGuigan join Newcastle. A year later he joined Norwich City, where he made over 200 league appearances and scored for the Canaries in the 1962 Football League Cup Final against Rochdale. He went on to play for Sheffield United, Scunthorpe and Yarmouth Town.

At the end of his playing career, Billy moved into management, spending 20 years in charge of Great Yarmouth Town. He later became manager of Diss Town, leading them to victory in the FA Vase final in 1994, beating Taunton Town 2-1 after extra time.

David Armstrong has fond memories of Billy being part of the Portadown side which beat Linfield 2-1 at Seaview in the 1952/53 season to win the Gold Cup and remembers the Ports XI that day being McCann, Doherty, Mennie, Mulvaney, Shaw, Buchanan, Widdup, Dobbin, Harris, Boyd and Punton. He mentions that some of the records say that a Jackie Russell scored a goal but he has no doubt the scorers were Billy Punton and Frank Mennie, he goes on to add that his memory also tells him that Alec Boyd was a brilliant inside-left.

David recalls the night the team won the Gold Cup and the celebrations included a bonfire in the Fair Green but despite all his years in the newspaper business he has never seen a photo of the winning team!