Tony Larkin

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Tony Larkin
Personal information
Full name Anthony Gerard Larkin
Date of birth (1956-01-12) 12 January 1956 (age 61)
Place of birth Liverpool, England
Playing position Defender
Youth career
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1975–1978 Wrexham 24 (0)
1978–1981 Shrewsbury Town 189 (7)
1981–1983 Carlisle United 158 (5)
1983–1985 Hereford United 109 (4)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Anthony Gerard "Tony" Larkin OBE (born 12 January 1956) is a former English professional footballer, and manager and coach of the England blind football team, which is based at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford. Larkin is also the former head of sport and recreation at the college,[1] as well as Patron of the disability sports charity British Blind Sport.


During a footballing career spanning fifteen years Larkin made over 450 professional appearances for teams including Everton, Wrexham, Shrewsbury Town, Carlisle and Hereford United.[1] It was while he was playing for Shrewsbury that he first became involved with the Royal National College after doing some voluntary work there. Impressed with the enthusiasm of the students he returned to RNC to coach sports after finishing his playing career at Hereford United. He then qualified as a mobility instructor and blind football coach, and now runs training sessions for other coaches from around the United Kingdom and throughout Europe.

Under Larkin's stewardship the England squad qualified as Great Britain's entry for the 2008 Paralympic Games after finishing runners-up to Spain in the European Championships in 2006.[2] He has also led them to seven European Championship and to four World Championships. The team are currently ranked second in Europe and fifth in the World.

Larkin was instrumental in helping to establish the United Kingdom's first football academy for visually impaired players.[2][3] The Football Academy, which is based at the Royal National College, was officially opened in August 2008 by former England footballer Sir Trevor Brooking and offers visually impaired students the opportunity to include football as part of their study programme with a view to playing the game at a national level.[2][4] The college hosted the 2010 World Blind Football Championships.[5][6]

He coached Britain's Blind Football team for the 2012 Summer Paralympics. Larkin became Patron of British Blind Sport in March 2013.[7] Upon his retirement in January 2016 he was Director of Business and Enterprise at RNC. He was appointed an OBE in the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours.[8]


  1. ^ a b Dart, Tom (1 December 2005). "Blind team raising profile and opening some eyes". Times Online. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c Stone, Alex (13 May 2008). "A world first". The Football Association (press release). 
  3. ^ Lee, Joseph (20 June 2008). "Blind academy is tackling football". Times Educational Supplement. Retrieved 19 February 2010. 
  4. ^ Morgan, Ian (21 August 2008). "Blind football academy launched by Brooking". Hereford Times. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  5. ^ Babbidge, Clare (26 November 2007). "Blind college's £21m Paralympic plans". BBC News. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  6. ^ "Blind World Cup comes to Hereford". BBC News. 24 November 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2010. 
  7. ^ "Former Shrewsbury and Hereford footballer becomes British Blind Sport Patron". ITV News Central. ITV. 25 March 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  8. ^ Cain, Rebecca (13 June 2016). "Former coach of England blind football team recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours". Hereford Times. Newsquest. Retrieved 13 June 2016.