Club historian David Bull has compiled a tribute, from in and around the club, to former director Ian Gordon, who has died aged 73.
Ian Gordon, a club director for 18 years, was a member of an especially accessible Board, whose members talked to me for my 1998 biography of Ted Bates.
They made an interesting team, with non-footballing men like Rupert Lowe and Andrew Cowen working with half-a-dozen ardent Saints fans, including Ian, a third-generation supporter.
While it would be invidious to single out any director from among those who queued up to tell me about Ted Bates, Ian enthused about his privileged role as Ted’s chauffeur to away games.
When Ted had to give up driving and could no longer cope with overnight stays on the road, Ian and his wife Carole, whom Ian described as a Saints “fanatic”, would take him to matches in London and to grounds otherwise near enough.
It was a case of “just sit in the car and let him talk,” Ian told me. “I loved doing it.”
Ian’s contribution to our book-writing didn’t stop there. In 2006, when Tim Manns was compiling the story of the Saints’ 1976 Cup win, he was so grateful for the encouragement and support he received from Ian and Carole – not to mention the photo they supplied of them with Lawrie McMenemy, their son Jamie and the FA Cup.
That was, for Tim, a continuation of the kindness Ian had shown him when he joined the club in 2003 as Station Director of its radio station, The Saint. All of which explains why Tim remembers Ian as “a genuine man and a charming gentleman”.
Coming off the Board in 2006 didn’t diminish Ian’s support for the club, as manifested in two ways: he continued to be a fan; and he remained a helpful friend to the administration.
It was always a joy to bump into him home or away – so enthusiastic but “too self-effacing”, Tim Manns reasons, to own up to the “fanatic” label that he’s accorded his wife.
I especially recall meeting Ian at Ashton Gate. We chatted a while before I realised that he was heading not for the posh seats but for the away end.
At home games, he would sit with other ex-directors on the halfway line. A solicitor and notary public at Paris Smith for 50-odd years, he would continue to help out Ros Wheeler, the club’s Secretary, when needed, with his legal expertise.
Ros joined the club in 1989 and, like Tim Manns, valued so much the support of Ian Gordon as a mentor who became a friend.
Ian was recently very proud to have three generations of Gordons attend a match for the first time, carrying on the legacy of supporting the Saints.
Ros poignantly sums up what Ian has meant to us, when she says that “Saints have lost one of their own.”
IAN LEONARD GORDON
25th September 1946 – 31st March 2020