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Ian Black

Scottish international goalkeeper;

Born: March 27, 1924; Died: December 13, 2012.

Ian Black, who has died aged 88, was plucked from the relative obscurity of Second Division Southampton to win a Scotland cap in the 0-2 Hampden loss to England, on 10 April, 1948. By all accounts, he had no chance of stopping either English goal although, as an "Anglo-Scots" goalkeeper, who had been on the losing side against the Auld Enemy at Hampden, his chances of further caps were compromised.

He was replaced by Morton's Jimmy Cowan for Scotland's next game and, as Cowan established himself as one of Scotland's greatest custodians, Black's chances of further Scotland honours vanished.

Black never played a first team game for Aberdeen FC whom he had joined from local juvenile side St Clement's. During the Seconf World War Black, a motor mechanic, was called up and posted to England. He first made a name for himself when he back-stopped the Chelsea side which won the Southern League Cup in 1945, but with a posting to the Southampton area he was soon playing for the Saints and as he impressed during the 1945-46 season, Southampton signed him for £1000. In all, he played 97 first team games for the south coast club, conceding a mere 95 goals, statistics which hint at his prowess as a shot stopper and explain his speedy rise to the national side.

Black enjoyed a particularly close relationship with Saints manager Bill Dodgin Snr and when Dodgin moved to become manager at Fulham, he quickly recruited Black and he was first-choice for the club throughout the 1950s.

Fulham didn't win much in that time; they were relegated out of the English top flight in 1952 and didn't get back there until the 1958-59 season, Black's final one with the club. However, with teammates such as fellow internationalists Eddie Lowe, Tommy Langley, Bedford Jezzard, the great Johnny Haynes, Bobby Robson, Scotland's Graham Leggat and the great uncapped Cockney entertainer Trevor "Tosh" Chamberlain, not to mention a certain bearded inside right named Jimmy Hill, entertainment was almost guaranteed at Craven Cottage.

Black, who liked to play in an all-black kit, played nearly 300 games for Fulham, even scoring on one occasion. Having sustained a shoulder injury against Leicester City in August, 1952, he played on up front and headed home Fulham's goal in a 1-6 defeat.

Another highlight of his Fulham career was the famous fourth round FA Cup tie in 1955-56, in which cup-holders Newcastle United, having been 3-0 up, were pegged back to 3-3, before winning 5-4 at Craven Cottage; this game is still held up as one of the greatest ties in the long history of the FA Cup.

Black's time at Fulham ended at the close of the 1958-59 season. He then had a brief spell in non-league football with Bath City, before turning to management, with Canterbury City.

In retirement Black and former team mate Eddie Lowe opened a sports shop in Tolworth, Surrey, which Black ran into his ninth decade. He golfed and played cricket but his true post-football sporting passion was bowls, at which sport he represented Surrey both indoors and out, playing outdoors at Morden and indoors at the big Tolworth complex, where he was a director.

He is pre-deceased by his wife Dorothy and is survived by his step-daughter Nancy and her two sons.

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