Tony Ford (footballer, born 1959)

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Tony Ford
Personal information
Full nameAnthony Ford
Date of birth (1959-05-14) 14 May 1959 (age 61)
Place of birth Grimsby, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) [1]
Playing position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
1975–1986 Grimsby Town 355 (55)
1986Sunderland (loan) 9 (1)
1986–1989 Stoke City 112 (13)
1989–1991 West Bromwich Albion 114 (14)
1991–1994 Grimsby Town 68 (3)
1993Bradford City (loan) 5 (0)
1994–1996 Scunthorpe United 76 (9)
1996–1999 Mansfield Town 103 (7)
1999–2001 Rochdale 89 (6)
National team
1989 England B 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Anthony Ford MBE (born 14 May 1959) is an English former footballer. Through most of his career, Ford was a right-sided midfielder, but in later years, he was converted to right-back. In a career that spanned 26 years, across four decades, Ford played 931 league matches, which is the all-time record for matches played in the English league by an outfield player. He is one of three outfield players in English football to have ever passed 1,000 games in competitive matches (league and cup), the others being Scott McGleish [2] and Graham Alexander. [3]



Playing career

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 Albion 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.

In 1994, Ford joined Grimsby's arch-rivals Scunthorpe, where he played two seasons. After a short spell at non-league side Barrow, he was asked by Steve Parkin, a former teammate at Stoke and West Bromwich Albion, 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

In the summer of 1999, Parkin resigned as Mansfield manager to take a similar job at Rochdale. He again appointed Ford as his assistant, and, aged 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, [4] and his final professional appearance came the following month against Torquay United. [5]

He retired from playing in November 2001 when he and Parkin took up the same positions at Barnsley. Both were sacked by the club eleven months later, but in August 2003 he returned to his former 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 his former club Grimsby Town as a scout, but was relieved of his duties in May 2011.

Career statistics

Source: [6]

ClubSeasonLeagueFA CupLeague CupOther [A] Total
Grimsby Town 1975–76 Third Division 150100000160
1976–77 Third Division6000200080
1977–78 Fourth Division 342101000362
1978–79 Fourth Division45161030004916
1979–80 Third Division375409400509
1980–81 Second Division 284101031335
1981–82 Second Division357301032429
1982–83 Second Division374313030465
1983–84 Second Division428104000478
1984–85 Second Division426316100518
1985–86 Second Division343103020403
Sunderland (loan) 1985–86 Second Division9100000091
Stoke City 1986–87 Second Division416502011497
1987–88 Second Division447204040547
1988–89 Second Division270202010320
West Bromwich Albion 1988–89 Second Division111000000111
1989–90 Second Division428213010489
1990–91 Second Division465102010505
1991–92 Third Division150102010190
Grimsby Town 1991–92 Second Division221000000221
1992–93 First Division 172101000192
1993–94 First Division290200000310
Bradford City (loan) 1993–94 Second Division5000200070
Scunthorpe United 1994–95 Third Division382402010452
1995–96 Third Division387312130469
Mansfield Town 1996–97 Third Division272210010303
1997–98 Third Division343002120384
1998–99 Third Division422202020482
Rochdale 1999–2000 Third Division342302040432
2000–01 Third Division382102000412
2001–02 Third Division172002110203
Career Total9311085056583441,080125
A.  ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals in the Anglo-Scottish Cup, Football League Group Cup, Football League Trophy and Full Members Cup.


Grimsby Town

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  1. Dunk, Peter, ed. (1987). Rothmans Football Yearbook 1987–88. London: Queen Anne Press. p.  352. ISBN   978-0-356-14354-5.
  2. Scott McGleish at 44 and 1,000 games: 'I can't see myself giving up soon' | Football | The Guardian
  3. "Burnley 2–1 Swansea". BBC News. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 14 April 2011.
  4. "Swansea 0–1 Rochdale". BBC Sport. 9 October 2001. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  5. "Rochdale 2–0 Torquay". BBC Sport. 3 November 2001. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  6. Tony Ford at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)