Tony Ford (footballer, born 1959)

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For the former Bristol City footballer, see Tony Ford (footballer, born 1944).
Tony Ford
Personal information
Full name Anthony Ford
Date of birth (1959-05-14) 14 May 1959 (age 55)
Place of birth Grimsby, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975–1986 Grimsby Town 355 (55)
1986 Sunderland (loan) 9 (1)
1986–1989 Stoke City 112 (13)
1989–1991 West Bromwich Albion 114 (14)
1991–1994 Grimsby Town 68 (3)
1993 Bradford City (loan) 5 (0)
1994–1996 Scunthorpe United 76 (9)
1996–1999 Mansfield Town 103 (7)
1999–2001 Rochdale 89 (6)
Total 931 (108)
National team
1989 England B 2
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Anthony "Tony" Ford MBE (born 14 May 1959 in Grimsby, Lincolnshire) is a former English footballer. Through most of his career, Ford was a right-sided midfielder, but in the later years of his career, he was converted to right-back. In a career that spanned 26 years, Ford played no fewer than 931 league matches, which is the all-time record for matches played in the English league by an outfield player. Only goalkeeper Peter Shilton (1005 matches) has played more. Ford is in fact only one of two outfield players to play in English football to have ever passed 1000 games in competitive matches (league and cup) with the other being Graham Alexander.[1]

Career[edit]

Playing career[edit]

Ford began his career at his hometown club Grimsby Town, where he made his first-team debut as a 16-year-old in October 1975. He spent 11 years at Blundell Park, where he made his name as one of the most talented players outside the top division. In 1986, he left Grimsby. He first had a short loan spell at Sunderland, and later joined Stoke in a permanent deal.

Ford spent two and a half years at Stoke, before being transferred to West Bromwich midway through the 1988–89 season. After three years at The Hawthorns, he rejoined Grimsby in late 1991. His second spell at Blundell Park lasted three seasons, and he left the club at the end of the 1993–94 season, having played 423 league games for the club, which at the time placed him second on the club's career appearance list behind Keith Jobling (he has since been passed on that list by John McDermott and Paul Groves).

In 1994, Ford joined Grimsby's arch-rivals Scunthorpe, where he played two seasons. When he was released at the end of the 1995–96 season, it seemed like his career at league level had come to an end. However, after a short spell at non-league side Barrow, he was asked by Steve Parkin, a former teammate at Stoke and WBA, who had recently been appointed manager at Mansfield to become his assistant. This allowed Ford to continue his playing career, and in early 1999, he played his 825th career league game, breaking Terry Paine's record for career appearances by an outfield player.

Coaching career[edit]

In the summer of 1999, Parkin resigned as Mansfield manager to take a similar job at Rochdale. Once again, he appointed Ford as his assistant, and despite now being well past 40, Ford continued to play regularly. The final goal of his career was the winner in a 1–0 win at Swansea City on 9 October 2001[2] and his final professional appearance came the following month against Torquay United.[3] He finally retired from playing in November 2001 when he and Parkin took up the same positions at Barnsley understandably feeling himself unequal to Division One football once more. He was sacked along with Parkin some 11 months later but in August 2003 he returned to his old role at Rochdale under new manager Alan Buckley. He kept his job when Buckley made way for Parkin on 31 December 2003 but was sacked along with the latter three years later.

He went on to work for former club Grimsby Town as a scout but was relieved of his duties in May 2011.

Career statistics[edit]

Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other[A] Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Grimsby Town 1975–76 Third Division 15 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 16 0
1976–77 Third Division 6 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 8 0
1977–78 Fourth Division 34 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 36 2
1978–79 Fourth Division 45 16 1 0 3 0 0 0 49 16
1979–80 Third Division 37 5 4 0 9 4 0 0 50 9
1980–81 Second Division 28 4 1 0 1 0 3 1 33 5
1981–82 Second Division 35 7 3 0 1 0 3 2 42 9
1982–83 Second Division 37 4 3 1 3 0 3 0 46 5
1983–84 Second Division 42 8 1 0 4 0 0 0 47 8
1984–85 Second Division 42 6 3 1 6 1 0 0 51 8
1985–86 Second Division 34 3 1 0 3 0 2 0 40 3
Total 355 55 19 2 33 5 11 3 418 65
Sunderland (loan) 1985–86 Second Division 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 1
Total 9 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 1
Stoke City 1986–87 Second Division 41 6 5 0 2 0 1 1 49 7
1987–88 Second Division 44 7 2 0 4 0 4 0 54 7
1988–89 Second Division 27 0 2 0 2 0 1 0 32 0
Total 112 13 9 0 8 0 6 1 135 14
West Bromwich Albion 1988–89 Second Division 11 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 11 1
1989–90 Second Division 42 8 2 1 3 0 1 0 48 9
1990–91 Second Division 46 5 1 0 2 0 1 0 50 5
1991–92 Third Division 15 0 1 0 2 0 1 0 19 0
Total 114 14 4 1 7 0 3 0 128 15
Grimsby Town 1991–92 Second Division 22 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 22 1
1992–93 Division One 17 2 1 0 1 0 0 0 19 2
1993–94 Division One 29 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 31 0
Total 68 3 3 0 1 0 0 0 72 3
Bradford City (loan) 1993–94 Division Two 5 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 7 0
Total 5 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 7 0
Scunthorpe United 1994–95 Division Three 38 2 4 0 2 0 1 0 45 2
1995–96 Division Three 38 7 3 1 2 1 3 0 46 9
Total 76 9 7 1 4 1 4 0 91 11
Mansfield Town 1996–97 Division Three 27 2 2 1 0 0 1 0 30 3
1997–98 Division Three 34 3 0 0 2 1 2 0 38 4
1998–99 Division Three 42 2 2 0 2 0 2 0 48 2
Total 103 7 4 1 4 1 5 0 116 9
Rochdale 1999–2000 Division Three 34 2 3 0 2 0 4 0 43 2
2000–01 Division Three 38 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 41 2
2001–02 Division Three 17 2 0 0 2 1 1 0 20 3
Total 89 6 4 0 6 1 5 0 104 7
Career Total 931 108 50 5 65 8 34 4 1080 125
A. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Anglo-Scottish Cup, Football League Group Cup, Football League Trophy and Full Members Cup.

Honours[edit]

Grimsby Town

References[edit]

  • Haynes, Keith (2005). The Tony Ford Story. Tempus Publishing Ltd. ISBN 0-7524-2418-1. 
  1. ^ "Burnley 2–1 Swansea". BBC News. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "Swansea 0–1 Rochdale". BBC Sport. 9 October 2001. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 
  3. ^ "Rochdale 2–0 Torquay". BBC Sport. 3 November 2001. Retrieved 17 April 2012. 

External links[edit]