East Fife fans pay tribute to striker John Sludden

John Sludden only spent a couple of years at East Fife, but, in that time, gave supporters memories which will last a lifetime.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 8:38 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 8:39 am
John Sludden made his mark at several clubs. Pic by Alan Murray.

The Bayview club was amongst those this week paying tribute to the 56-year-old striker who has passed away.

‘Sluddy’, famed for his double for Scotland schoolboys in a 5-4 win over England at Wembley in 1980, enjoyed a terrific career in the the senior game, appearing for the likes of St Johnstone, Ayr and Kilmarnock before joining up with the Methil men for a couple of seasons in the early 1990s.

And what an impact he had, hitting the net 39 times in 86 appearances during his days at Bayview.

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It’s a record any striker would be proud of, so it’s little wonder he remains so fondly remembered.

Fan Stephen Mill said: “’Sluddy’ was a quite brilliant player for East Fife.

"I would even suggest he was under-rated by many, as much of his work was done off the ball, in addition to his impressive goals to games ratio.

"He was the perfect foil for the more direct Robert Scott; his intelligent runs, dragging defenders all over the place, allowing ‘Scotty’ to take advantage.

"The duo formed a great partnership in their two years together at Bayview.”

Sludden was also a relative of Dennis Mochan, another ex-Fifer and father of Paul Sludden, who spent some time on loan with the club.

He managed at Bo’ness United, Camelon Juniors and East Stirlingshire and was also a youth coach at Celtic.

Online tributes were paid by the striker’s former clubs, fans and current pros.

Amongst them was current Scotland star Andy Robertson, who spent time at youth level with Celtic, who said: “A fantastic coach and an even better man!

"My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

"Rest easy Sluddy.”

East Fife supporters immediately took to Sludden when he arrived at Bayview.

For the club’s younger fans, he was their star man.

Supporter Doug Pirie said: “Genuinely my first East Fife hero growing up.

"I had his number on the back of my shirt and named my East Fife teddy bear 'Sluddy' after him.

"His partnership with Robert Scott was outstanding and they were so prolific then that, as a little kid, my friends and I were just in awe watching them play.”

Fellow fan Alan Ross remembers clearly a certain goal which lives with him and is something he still takes pride in telling others about years later.

"East Fife played Charlton Athletic in a friendly at Old Bayview in August 1991," said Alan.

"John Sludden scored an amazing goal off the bar to win the game late on.

"In my mind it is the best East Fife goal I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

"Fast forward 20 years and I'm in a work meeting with a guy from Falkirk who tells me John is his best friend and plays golf with him every week.

"I recounted the Charlton goal to him, he promised he'd relay to John my message about it being the best goal I'd ever seen.

"I'd like to think that hearing an East Fife supporter still having fond memories of him and his goals many years later would have brought a smile to John's face.”