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Tony Ford MBE
Tony Ford MBE

Tony Ford Interview

By: Jake Olley
Date: 19/03/2006

TONY Ford needs no introduction to fans of many Football League clubs around the country. In a career spanning 28 years with 10 different clubs, including two highly successful spells at Blundell Park, Grimsby-born Tony chalked up over 900 league appearances and went on to win a MBE.

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Tony Ford's Career
West Brom1988/89-1991/92127(1)15£145K

Tony, you're at Rochdale where you assist Steve Parkin. What I want to know is how is that going and how does it compare to playing?

I have a great relationship with Steve Parkin, we've managed together for many years now. Compared to playing there is no comparison.
You cannot beat playing, it’s as cutting edge as it gets when you're actually out there pitting your wits against an opponent or team. Now I'm out of it I've realised just how good it was playing and how much I really miss it

So even though you're an assistant at the minute surely one day you'd love to give management a go?

I would love to go on to be a manager, though if you asked me that question when I was 20-years-old I'd have said no. As you get older your views change and though it is nice still being involved in the game as assistant manager, I'm ambitious and I'd like to have a go at managing on my own one day.

You are not only regarded as a Grimsby Town legend you're also thought as a Football League legend, how does that feel?

I think my modesty would stop me from saying that I'm a legend. I have been in football for a long time with 27 of those years as a player. I'm just thankful of all the friends that football has made me over the years, I've enjoyed playing and enjoyed most things football has brought to my life.

I've been given several tales from parents and grandparents regarding you storming down the Mariners' flank. What were your memories of the Town fans and do you have any tales you'd like to share?

It was great to actually play for your home town club and I was classed as a flying winger in my prime. I did have pace in the early part of my career, but that soon disappeared!

One of the times I remember from those days was a game against Birmingham. I was up and down the right wing as I usually was and I was just on the half-way line when a large cod landed at my feet. I just burst out laughing and it made a change from some of the things that usually arrived on the pitch in the 80’s.

I thought about it on the way home and just wondered how that supporter managed to get a 6lb cod through the gates.

You've played under several managers in your time but who stands above the rest in the way he developed your career?

To be fair is was more of a group of managers that developed my career and it would be unjust to single any one out. Obviously Tommy Casey who never really had much success at Grimsby brought a lot of the youngsters in.

He taught me the harsh realities in the game and just how hard you had to work to become a footballer. Then John Newlan gave me a chance in the first team and we won promotion. John moved onto to Derby County and George Kerr stepped in and it carried on from there.

You've also released a new book can you give us an insight into what that's about?

It’s simply about growing up in Grimsby and becoming a footballer. There is no great scandal or gossip in it, but there are plenty of football tales and just what I've done and seen over the years.

What would you say your greatest moment at Blundell Park was?

I think the game when we won the third division championship in 1980 would stand out as the best. We beat Sheffield United 4-1 and my good friend Kevin Drinkell scored a hat-trick that day. The euphoria of the day, winning the title was just fantastic and that is a moment that really stands out.

Do you still look out for Town's results and what did you think of the Mariners' games against Spurs and Newcastle?

I look out for all the results from every team I've played for. I watched the games you mentioned and it just goes to prove the lower league clubs can really give the big boys a scare. Not in a lucky way, because the performances Grimsby Town put in were worthy of the results and indeed a little more against Newcastle.

We'd also like to take this chance to thank Tony Ford who took time out from his busy schedule to do this interview for Town fans

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