Benefit for Bless Field: The Players

Hopefully you are planning to join us on April 4 at the Hollywood Theatre at 7:00 for our kickoff benefit for Bless Field: Beating Seattle Never Gets Old. We'll be screening some historic Timbers highlights with commentary throughout the evening from the players who were there: NASL Logo Willie Anderson is one of the longest-tenured players in Timbers history, making some 200 appearances for the club in three distinct stints between 1975 and 1982. A speedy winger who learned the game in his native Liverpool, he played at Manchester United, Aston Villa and Cardiff City before arriving in Portland and is among the Timbers’ all-time leaders in goals and assists.

For many Timbers fans and Portland-area soccer players, Bernie Fagan’s name is among the first they ever knew in association with the game. A longtime college coach, currently in that position at Warner Pacific College, Bernie came to the Timbers as a defender in 1980 after spells at Northampton Town, Scarborough and, ahem, Seattle, among other clubs. (To atone for this error, he had the good taste to be born in Sunderland.)

He’s here to talk Timbers, but Roger Goldingay could also talk about another of Portland’s quirky civic passions: food carts. He operates the Mississippi Marketplace and Cartopia pods. But he first made his way here in 1975 as a forward from Leicester, England, via, AHEM, Seattle. A man who wears many hats, he is surely the only ex-Timber to have published a novel about following the Grateful Dead on tour.

Mick Hoban was literally the first Timber, brought to Portland by Aston Villa manager Vic Crowe for the club’s inaugural season. Hoban had been in Aston Villa’s youth scheme and then its senior squad before coming to the US in 1971 to play for the Atlanta Chiefs (and, incidentally, earning a cap playing for his adopted country). When he left the Timbers after the 1978 season, it was to become the first employee fully dedicated to soccer operations at a little local outfit called Nike.

A great figure in Portland soccer history, Bill Irwin tended goal for the Timbers for but one season in a career that took him from Bangor in his native Northern Ireland to Cardiff in Wales, the Washington Diplomats and a handful of other clubs. But during a quarter-century as a coach at the University of Portland, he had helped make the school into a perennial men’s and women’s powerhouse, with many great players, including several former Timbers, passing on to professional careers. He has also coached the US Women’s International U-23 squad.

He was named Seamus Kelly when he was born in Northern Ireland, but winger Jimmy Kelly was rechristened Magic Feet when he played for the Timbers in their inaugural 1975 season. On loan to Portland from Wolverhampton, he became a cult hero here because of his small stature, his fiery mettle, his footballing wizardry (Sports Illustrated called him a “magician”), and his pop idol looks. Signs declaring “Jimmy Kelly for Mayor” were seen at matches throughout that amazing year.

Check out our prior post where we featured the historic matches to be screened.

Tickets are $12.00 in advance through Eventbrite, $15.00 at the door. Look forward to seeing you there!