|Full name||Richard Hartford|
|Date of birth||24 October 1950|
|Place of birth||Clydebank, Scotland|
|Height||1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)|
|Norwich City (Scout)|
|1967–1974||West Bromwich Albion||214||(18)|
|1984||Fort Lauderdale Sun||?||(?)|
|1985–1987||Bolton Wanderers (player-coach)|
|1987–1989||Stockport County (player-coach)|
|1993||Stoke City (caretaker manager)|
|1996–2005||Manchester City (assistant/caretaker manager)|
|2007–2008||Macclesfield Town (assistant manager)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Richard "Asa" Hartford (born 24 October 1950) is a retired Scottish international midfielder and footballer who became famous for failing a medical examination due to the discovery of a heart condition which put paid to a high profile transfer to Leeds United in November 1971.
He first played for Drumchapel Amateurs in Glasgow, but began his professional career at West Bromwich Albion in 1967. During his time with West Brom, the team won the FA Cup Final in 1968 (although he did not play in the final), were beaten semi-finalists in 1969 and reached the League Cup final in 1970.
Given his role in the team it was no surprise that he would attract interest from the top clubs but in November 1971 a high profile transfer to Don Revie's Leeds United was cancelled when a suspected hole in-the-heart condition was found during a pre-transfer medical examination. He was eventually transfer listed by then West Brom coach Don Howe alongside favourites Len Cantello and Jeff Astle in April 1974 and his subsequent career made nonsense of the fears occasioned by Leeds' doubting staff. Hartford moved on to Manchester City for £210,000 making his debut in a 4–0 victory over West Ham United, coming to prominence as a strong, talented midfielder helping City win the 1976 League Cup Final, as well as a regular Scottish international.
At the beginning of the 1979–80 season he was transferred to Brian Clough's European Champions at Nottingham Forest (to replace Archie Gemmill) for £500,000 only to be smartly packed off to Everton for £400,000 after 3 games. In October 1981 John Bond brought him back to Maine Road for £375,000. What followed were stints in the United States (Fort Lauderdale Sun), Norwich City (for whom he scored the winning goal in the 1985 League Cup Final), Bolton Wanderers and Oldham Athletic, before he took up coaching/managerial roles with Stockport County, Shrewsbury Town and Boston United where he made 15 appearances as a player at the age of 40.
He played in Scotland's ill-fated 1978 World Cup campaign in Argentina where Ally MacLeod's Scottish squad endured a first round exit. Brian Glanville commenting, in his frequently updated 'The Story of the World Cup', wrote "The Scots had an abundance of fine midfield players at a time when most other countries looked for them desperately; Bruce Rioch, Don Masson, Asa Hartford, Archie Gemmill, Lou Macari, Graeme Souness". Hartford played in all Scotland games in Argentina. His side lost 3-1 to Peru, drew 1-1 with Iran and defeated eventual runners-up The Netherlands 3-2.
Hartford's international career (which began in 1972 against Peru) came to an end in Seville during the Spanish World Cup of 1982 when he recorded his fiftieth cap for Scotland in the game against Brazil, thereby securing himself a place on the national team's Roll of Honour in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.
Coaching and managerial career
Latterly, he joined ex-international team-mates Kenny Dalglish (at Blackburn Rovers), Joe Jordan and Lou Macari (at Stoke City where he spent four matches as caretaker manager) in various coaching/managerial roles before taking on an assistant managerial position at Manchester City with Alan Ball in 1995 and stayed as the reserve team coach until May 2005 when Stuart Pearce brought in his own coaching staff. He thereafter became a coach with Blackpool in December 2005. He left Blackpool in May 2006.
On 29 June 2007 it was announced that he had been appointed assistant manager at Macclesfield Town but both he and Ian Brightwell were sacked in February 2008 to be replaced by Keith Alexander. In April 2008 he was given a role with Accrington Stanley coaching the junior teams and the reserves, but was made redundant from this role in October 2011 and subsequently joined Birmingham City as a scout. In the summer of 2012, he returned to one of his former clubs Norwich City to assist with scouting duties having previously spent a season at Carrow Road in his playing career.
As a player
- Sourced from The English National Football Archive
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other[A]||Total|
|West Bromwich Albion||1967–68||First Division||6||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||6||1|
|Manchester City||1974–75||First Division||30||2||1||0||1||0||0||0||32||2|
|Nottingham Forest||1979–80||First Division||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|Manchester City||1981–82||First Division||30||3||2||0||4||1||0||0||36||4|
|Norwich City||1984–85||First Division||28||2||4||0||8||3||0||0||40||5|
|Bolton Wanderers||1985–86||Third Division||46||5||1||0||4||1||7||1||58||7|
|Stockport County||1987–88||Fourth Division||31||0||4||0||1||0||1||0||37||0|
|Oldham Athletic||1988–89||Second Division||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||7||0|
|Shrewsbury Town||1989–90||Third Division||17||0||1||0||1||0||1||0||20||0|
As a manager
|Stockport County||12 June 1987||1 April 1989||93||24||34||35||25.81|
|Shrewsbury Town||1 January 1990||17 January 1991||55||16||19||20||29.09|
|Stoke City||10 September 1994||29 September 1994||4||3||0||1||75.00|
- Glanville, Brian – World Cup. The Story of the, Faber & Faber, London, 2005.
- Player profile at Post War English & Scottish Football League A – Z Player's Database
- Career information at ex-canaries.co.uk