When Iain Hesford collected seven England under-21 international caps in the early 1980s he appeared to be a goalkeeping star in the making. But despite some 500 appearances for six domestic clubs, then shining in Hong Kong, he never quite fulfilled the glittering potential he exhibited during a six-year stint with Blackpool, his first employer.
Hesford was solidly efficient rather than showy, surely having assimilated the rudiments of the job from his father Bob, who kept goal for Huddersfield in the 1938 FA Cup final defeat to Preston. Having enlisted with the Seasiders as a 17-year-old in 1977, Hesford Jnr soon became a first-team regular, his personal progress not hindered by relegations from the Second Division in 1978 and the Third in 1981.
By then he was impressing for his country and in August 1983, after 230 games for Blackpool, he moved to Sheffield Wednesday, only to languish in the reserves behind the ultra-consistent Martin Hodge. After fleeting loan stints with Fulham and Notts County, Hesford was acquired by Sunderland, with whom he experienced demotion from the second tier in 1987 followed by promotion a year later.
In December 1988 he switched to Hull City, with whom he suffered yet another fall, to the third level in 1991, then joined Maidstone United in the basement division. After the Stones went bankrupt he helped the Hong Kong club Eastern win trophies in the mid-1990s, then served Sing Tao and South China in the same league. He died of a suspected heart attack. His brothers were distinguished rugby men, Bob winning union caps for England, Steve starring at the league code for Warrington.
Iain Hesford, footballer: born Ndola, Zambia 4 March 1960; died 18 November 2014.Reuse content