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12 September 2007

Peter Rafferty

Name: Peter C. Rafferty
Born: 7 November 1948, Belfast
Height: 6.00 ft
Weight: 12.07 st
Position: Centre-Half

Representative Honours: Northern Ireland: 1 Full Cap (1979); Irish League: 2 Caps (1978-1980).
Club Honours: (with Distillery) Irish Cup Winner 1970/71, Runner-Up 1968/69; (with Linfield) Irish League Champion 1974/75, 1977/78, 1978/79, 1979/80, 1981/82; Irish Cup Winner 1977/78, 1979/80, 1981/82; Runner-Up 1974/75, 1975/76, 1976/77; Gold Cup Winner; Ulster Cup Winner; Co. Antrim Shield Winner 1976/77, 1980/81, 1981/82; Tyler All-Ireland Cup Winner 1980/81.
Awards: Ulster Footballer of the Year 1977; NI PFA Player of the Year 1977.

Club Career:
FA Cup
* / 7
* / 2
* all domestic games.

From the Village area of Belfast, Peter Rafferty joined Distillery as a teenager, making his debut as a centre-forward against Ballymena on 19th April 1967. He established himself at centre-half the following season, though in his career with the Whites he played in every position, including seven starts as goalkeeper. He played on the right-wing in Distillery’s 1969 Irish Cup Final defeat, but he picked up a winners’ medal in 1971. In all he made 262 appearances for Distillery, scoring 36 goals, before joining Linfield in December 1973.

At Windsor Park, where he was affectionately nicknamed the ‘Bald Eagle’, Rafferty made 331 appearances, scoring 42 goals, mostly from centre-half. He actually scored on his debut for the Blues against Cliftonville in an 8-1 win just before Christmas 1973. During his nine year spell with Linfield Rafferty picked up 5 Irish League titles, 3 Irish Cups, 1 City Cup, 2 Gold Cups, 4 Ulster Cups, 3 Co. Antrim Shields and 1 Tyler All-Ireland Cup winners’ medals.

He left Linfield in August 1982, making his final appearance in a friendly game against Middlesbrough. At the end of the game he was given a standing ovation by the fans and a guard of honour by his team-mates. That night he signed for Ards, before ending his career with Crusaders.

A real ‘colourful character’, Rafferty was sent-off 13 times during his Irish League career, but he also picked up the 1977 Ulster Footballer of the Year award. Once, in a Big Two game between Linfield and Glentoran and with Linfield winning 4-1, he sat on the ball in his own six-yard box and motioned the Glentoran players towards him. On another occasion at the Oval he was left flattened by a crunching tackle and was stretchered off. The delighted Glens fans cheered only for Rafferty to jump from the stretcher and shake his fist at the Glentoran support before returning to the pitch.

Rafferty's long career was rewarded with a call-up to the Northern Ireland squad in 1979. He won his only cap coming on as a half-time substitute against England and was given the unenviable task of marking the UK's first million pound player, Trevor Francis. On a wet and miserable day at Windsor Park, Rafferty was given a rousing reception by the 18,000 crowd, but was found cruelly wanting when robbed of the ball by Francis who then set-up Tony Woodcock to put the English 4-1 up. In the face of an England forward line that also included Kevin Keegan, Rafferty looked out of his depth - however, the man he had replaced, Allan Hunter, who had a decade of top-level experience behind him, had been similarly found wanting, hence the 2-0 half-time scoreline and the 5-1 final result.

Linfield FC Interview (Apr 2009)

Northern Ireland Cap Details:
17-10-1979 England H L 1-5 ECQ sub

0(1)/0. Won o, Drew 0, Lost 1.

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