Plymouth Argyle - Where Are They Now - Johnny Porteous
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Where Are They Now - Johnny Porteous

It's back to the 1950s for this chapter in the Where Are They Now series with Peverell Green taking a look at the career of Johnny Porteous.

JOHNNY PORTEOUS - Born 5th December 1921 Motherwell, Scotland.

Born John Robertson Porteous, Johnny missed possibly his best footballing years due to the Second World War.
After serving in the RAF he joined his hometown club Motherwell when he was demobbed in 1946. Although he spent two seasons at the club he was never able to break into the first team and at the start of the 1948-49 season left to join Alloa.

He was more successful here and in his first season made 27 appearances scoring one goal.
His appearances at wing half brought him to the attention of Argyle's scout in Scotland, he contacted manager Jimmy Rae who made an offer of 2,000 which was accepted and Johnny moved to England for the 1949-50 season.

He made his debut on 20th August in a 1-1 draw at home to Bradford Park Avenue with a Bradford player scoring an own goal for Argyle. Although Johnny formed a good partnership with Neil Dougall it would be the only point they would win from the first eight games.
He scored his first goal for the club in early December in a 1-1 draw at Luton.
Despite their indifferent form the Argyle forward line of Bill Strauss, Maurice Tadman and George Dews were all scoring regularly, unfortunately they all hit a blank after January, from 4th February to 8th April they played ten games and only managed to score in one of the, even that was a 2-2 draw at Grimsby. It was a slump that would cost Argyle dearly as they finished 21st and were relegated. Despite their poor form the crowd stayed loyal to the team with an average attendance of over 22,000 for the season.

Argyle found playing in Division 3 South a lot easier, recording several big wins, usually at Home Park. Aldershot were beaten 5-1, Colchester 7-1, Crystal Palace 4-0, Swindon 5-1 and Northampton 4-1. They were even prolific on their travels with Brighton being beaten 6-0. Even Johnny managed to score another goal in a 1-1 draw at home to Walsall.
With Alex Govan and Gordon Astall added to their forward line Argyle scored 85 league and 9 cup goals, finishing fourth in the table and leaving the fans eagerly looking forward to the next season.
After winning the last five games in the previous season Argyle started the 1951-52 season by being beaten 1-0 at Orient. They then won the next six games scoring seventeen goals and conceding only three. It was a pattern that would continue throughout the season.
In the last home game of the season against local rivals Torquay a crowd of 28,728 turned up to watch Argyle crowned as Champions.
After forming a guard of honour as Jack Chisholm led his team onto the pitch Torquay took an unexpected lead after fourteen minutes, it got worse for the home fans when former Argyle player Ernie Edds scored a second for the visitors on thirty minutes. Six minutes later Johnny sent a precision pass into the goal mouth and George Dews slammed the ball into the net for his 25th goal of the season. Not to be outdone in the goalscoring stakes after 64 minutes Maurice Tadman scored his 27th for the season to put the scores level.
Despite Argyle pushing for the winner Torquay managed to hold out for a point. Argyle ended the season five points in front of second placed Reading and scored a record equalling 107 goals.

Despite moving up to a higher division Argyle started the season in great form, winning five of their first seven matches and drawing the other two, including a 5-2 win over Sheffield United who would finish the season as champions, in front of a crowd of 31,456, with goals from Arthur Smith (2), Alex Govan, Gordon Astall and George Willis. Argyle continued to play attacking football throughout the season and were rewarded by finishing fourth, the highest the club had ever finished, in fact sixty years later the club has never finished in a higher position.

After scoring two goals in the four seasons he had been at the club Johnny went on a bit of a goal spree in 1953-54 season when he scored three goals. He started at the end of March in a 4-1 win at Derby with a Neil Langman hat trick doing most of the damage, he followed that one up in the next game when he scored in a 1-1 draw at home to Blackburn. His last for the season came in the last home game a 2-1 win over West Ham with Tony McShane scoring the first goal and Johnny getting the winner.

If Argyle fans were shocked to see Johnny score three goals in a season they must have been astounded by his goal scoring during 1954-55 when he scored seven goals before the end of October. His first came in a 3-3 draw at Anfield, Argyle had already beaten Liverpool 1-0 at Home Park eight days earlier with a goal from Keith Thomas.
The same player opened the scoring and goals from George Dews and Johnny securing a point. Three days later he scored the Argyle goal in a 2-1 defeat at home to Doncaster and the following Saturday he scored both goals in a 2-2 draw at Derby.
Johnny's next came in a 3-2 win at home to Fulham, after an own goal had started the scoring, goals from Johnny and Tony McShane finished the Londoners off.
In the next away game he scored in a 3-1 defeat at Luton and a fortnight later scored the first goal in a 3-2 defeat at Leeds with Peter Anderson also scoring for Argyle.
After scoring seven goals in two months Johnny then had to wait until April to score his next one when he got the first in a 2-0 home win over Ipswich with George Willis scoring the second. It would be the last goal he would score for the club.
When the season ended Johnny was the joint leading goalscorer with Peter Anderson and Eric Davis also scoring eight.

With Johnny now 34 at the start of the 1955-56 season and new player/manager Jack Rowley operating in a similar position to him his first team opportunities became limited, after only playing in five of the first seventeen games he realised his future lay elsewhere.
He made his last appearance on 14th January in a 2-1 defeat at home to Blackburn with George Willis scoring the Argyle goal.

After making 221 appearances and scoring 13 goals Johnny joined Exeter City.
Johnny spent the rest of the 1956-57 season and the following one at Exeter making 40 appearances.

He finished his playing career off in Cornwall with Truro City.
Johnny didn't return to Scotland on retiring, preferring to remain in the Westcountry. He passed away in Plymouth on 13th August 2007 aged 85.

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The Journalist

Writer: Peverell Green Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday January 20 2014

Time: 10:35AM


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