- Tony Ford
Football player infobox2
playername = Tony Ford
fullname = Anthony Ford
height = height|ft=5|in=9
dateofbirth = birth date and age|1959|5|14|df=y
years = 1975–1986
clubs = Grimsby Town
→ Sunderland (loan)
West Bromwich Albion
→ Bradford City (loan)
caps(goals) = 355 0(55)
nationalyears = 1989
nationalteam = England B
nationalcaps(goals) = 002 00(0)
Anthony "Tony" Ford MBE (born
14 May, 1959in 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 less 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 the only outfield player in English football to have ever passed 1000 games in competitive matches (league and cup). The only league ground he had not played on when he retired was White Hart Lane.
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.
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. 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 2003but was sacked along with the latter three years later.
Football League Group Cup: 1982
*Supporters Player of the Year: 1984, 1985
*Supporters Young Player of the Year: 1976
*cite book | first= Keith | last= Haynes | title= The Tony Ford Story | id = ISBN 0-7524-2418-1 | year = 2005 | publisher = Tempus Publishing Ltd
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