Ron Rafferty, a striker who began his career at Wycombe Wanderers before going on to become a scoring legend at Grimsby Town, has died aged 86. He had been suffering with dementia, and died of Covid-19 in Hampshire, where he had been living in a care home in his latter years.
He showed his potential with ten goals in just 14 games for the Blues in 1954, including two to help the club beat Slough Centre in the final of the Berks & Bucks Cup. Born in South Shields in 1934 but raised in Berkshire from the age of two, that was to be his swansong as an amateur at Loakes Park.
After National Service he signed as a professional with Portsmouth. Within 18 months, he was snapped up by Grimsby for £3,500 and went on to net a superb 145 goals in 264 appearances between 1957 and 1963, etching his name on to the club’s list of legends – Town’s top post-war marksman. A potent force on the ground and in the air, perhaps his finest season was in 1961-62 when he hit 34 League goals in Grimsby’s Division Three promotion campaign. He later went on to play for Hull City and Aldershot.
Ron stayed with The Shots for two years, during which he made 79 first-team starts and scored ten goals. However, many of his games for that club were played in a new position as a centre-half. He then went to Guildford City as a player-manager in 1969, but retired six months later. Aldershot Town continued to play a massive part within the Rafferty family following Ron’s retirement, with him and his family involved with many club sponsorships.
Ron leaves sons Paul and Stephen, daughter Andrea and seven grandchildren. He had been married to Patricia, who sadly died 20 years ago of cancer.
Below: Ron Rafferty (far right) with the Wycombe team that won the Berks & Bucks Cup in 1954. That side, coached by Sid Cann, included Malcolm Hunt, Frank Westley, Dennis Atkins, Barry Darvill, Ken Butler, Dennis Syrett, Mike Wicks, Fred Lawson & Jimmy Moring.