RIP Paul Futcher
Port Hero Paul Futcher passes away at 60 years old after cancer battle.
Southport FC are shocked and saddened to learn of the death of former player-manager Paul Futcher who passed away today at the age of 60 after a short battle with cancer.
Chairman Charlie Clapham said on hearing the sad news: “Paul was the best player I believe we have had during my time at the club. Paul was a true gentleman, a magnificent sportsman who gave all of us as supporters our greatest day at Wembley. A day that seems like yesterday and one that cannot be repeated as it will always be Southport Football Club’s first ever Wembley appearance. I am truly shocked and pass my condolences onto Paul’s wife Collete and family. Paul’s memory and legacy will always live on at Southport Football Club.”
Chester-born centre-back Futcher had a playing career spanning 28 years, making over 700 Football League appearances for Luton Town, Barnsley and Grimsby Town among others. He also represented England U21’s 11 times. In 1978 Paul became Manchester City’s record signing and, at the time, England’s most expensive defender at £350,000. Paul began his career at his hometown club Chester City where his two brothers were also on the books. He made his debut aged just 16.
Making 70 appearances for the Yellows in his two and a half year stint at the club, Paul became a firm fan legend and thoroughly deserving of the mantle of “Port Legend”.
He will be best remembered at Southport for leading the side to the club’s only Wembley final appearance in 1998, where over 10,000 Port fans proudly descended on the capital for an FA Trophy final against Cheltenham.
“Supporters of the club will be able to relate to this when I say you cannot express in words the feeling of the initial realisation that Wembley was no longer just a dream but reality” – Paul Futcher
The match ended in a 1-0 loss but Paul made the record books, becoming the oldest outfield player to grace the Wembley pitch in a final at 41 years and 235 days old. It was a mark to the great man that at the player of the year awards evening at the Floral Hall, Futcher presented his medal to chairman Charlie Clapham.
Commercial and Community Director Haydn Preece told southportfc.net: “He gave us our greatest sporting moment, leading us to Wembley in 98, an achievement which was celebrated by the club in 2008 by bringing that squad back together. It was a childhood dream for all of us in whatever capacity to experience a Wembley final and Paul gave us all, the town of Southport and every supporter, including himself that wonderful, never to forget day. It was only the other day I was thinking of how to celebrate the twenty year anniversary of that May day, sadly and unbelievably Paul will not be there.
“He was a total gentleman, an absolute pleasure to work with and a wonderful man to be around as player/manager and a person. He was so polished on and off the field. A class act, a wonderful person to work with, as I did with him press wise at that time.
“Paul was a great player in his era and to still be playing at the age of 40 years old was quite an achievement. His passing has come as a massive shock to us all and our hearts go out to his wife Collete, children and all of his family and friends”
Paul will be greatly missed by all who knew him and Southport Football Club wish to send our condolences to all of Paul’s family and friends at this sad time.”