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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 May, 2003, 17:49 GMT 18:49 UK
Football great Ford dies
Trevor Ford
Ford was a centre forward from the old school
Trevor Ford, one of Wales' greatest footballers, has passed away at the age of 79 following a long illness.

Born in Swansea in 1923, Ford emerged as a classic, uncompromising centre-forward with his home-town club, before being snapped up by Aston Villa.

He became the most expensive forward in Britain in 1950 when Sunderland paid 30,000 for him, and went on to enjoy successful spells with Cardiff City, PSV Eindhoven, Newport County and Romford.

After making his international debut against Ireland in 1946, Ford went on to score a record-breaking 23 goals in 38 Wales games, the most memorable being a back-heeled flick against England at Wembley in 1952.

I used to watch him (Ford) when I was a young lad - he was my idol
John Charles
In Britain, he scored some 174 league goals in 349 appearances, including a record 41 strikes for Swansea Town in the 1945-46 season.

The most controversial period of his career came in 1956 when he was suspended by the English Football League after an investigation into illegal payments that Ford brought to light in his book "I Lead the Attack".

The incident was the catalyst for his move to Holland, but he won the case for reinstatement and finished his league career with Newport in 1960.

Trevor Ford in action
Trevor Ford, in white, was powerful and effective with both feet
He later went into the car trade and was involved in various garages in Cardiff, Swansea and Sunderland.

Ford continued to play in many charity football matches through the 1960s and was a keen follower of all his former clubs.

He is survived by his wife Louise, and sons David and Martyn.

Idol

Wales legend John Charles paid tribute to the man he followed into the international side.

"I used to watch him (Ford) when I was a young lad - he was my idol," Charles told BBC Wales Sport.

HAVE YOUR SAY
"He used to bang everybody and knock them out of the way, he was never frightened.

"He was definitely one of the greatest Welsh players and also a wonderful person - it's so sad he's gone."

Ian Rush, who broke Ford's international goal-scoring record, said he was a true gentleman.

"I met him a few times and I remeber the night I got the record - against Belgium in Cardiff - Trevor made a point of coming over to me after the game," said Rush, who scored 28 goals for Wales.

"He shook my hand and said 'well done'. That was the mark of the man. It was always nice to break records as a player, but it was very special to break a record of Trevor's.

"His death is very sad news for the whole of Welsh football."






WATCH AND LISTEN
"I never injured a player...I frightened a few"
Trevor Ford



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