A Voice From The Past……It’s Clive!
Nostalgia In The Grampians For Old Pals
Travel broadens the mind. Among its other beneficial effects, it also enables footballers to catch up again with those who helped them create happy, historic moments decades ago.
It will be 50 years in a few months’ time since 1960s Wolves reserve forward Clive Ford scored a double-quick hat-trick for Lincoln in a Fourth Division game against Bradford Park Avenue.
And, due to the wonders of modern communications and his own wanderlust, he has met up once more with an old friend who assisted him in his headline-grabbing deeds.
Ford has been to Australia twice in the last 18 months or so to visit the daughter who now lives over there but it was some travelling much closer to his home in Cumbria that enabled him to have a fond reunion with Lewis Thom, a Scottish-born left-winger resident in the Aberdeen area as a distant follow-up to his own respectable career in English football.
“I think it’s fair to say that Lewis and I were close mates,” he said. “He was actually playing for Shrewsbury around the time I was at Wolves in the mid-1960s but I didn’t know him until we were together at Lincoln a couple of seasons later.
“I went up to see him in the early 1970s when I borrowed a Volkswagen caravanette for a couple of weeks from the company in Tipton I was selling vehicles for.
“But that was it as regards actually meeting him and we lost touch eventually until I developed a liking for taking coach trips up into Scotland and realised that one of them, in October or November, was going to take me close to where I knew he had lived.
“I used the 192 service on the Internet and came up with four possible numbers for him. The first round of calls came to nothing but I tried again and the third number I had written down was answered – by him! And he recognised my voice.
“We had a great catch-up and a wonderful day together. I hadn’t seen him for 40-odd years, so there was lots to talk about – he used to be almost a scratch golfer and still plays, although he lost a leg in an accident on a rig after he did well in the oil industry.”
Thom was in the Lincoln side the day Ford sensationally scored twice in the first 60 seconds against hapless Park Avenue, the centre-forward requiring only another ten minutes to complete his hat-trick.
“He made my second goal with a cross, then we had another great chance almost straight after but he chose to shoot instead when I was in a better position,” he added. “I might have got to my hat-trick much quicker. One reporter reckoned no player had ever scored twice so quickly after kick-off.
“Lew was a good player and made plenty of appearances in the Football League for Shrewsbury and Lincoln and also played for Aberdeen and other Scottish clubs.
“He had forgotten but we share a birthday, April 10, although he was born a year earlier than me in 1944. He had a brother playing at a decent level of the game as well.”
Ford played twice in Wolves’ first team – against Chelsea and Sheffield Wednesday in 1964-65 – and was saddened in November by the passing away of a brother who was a Molineux regular and one of his biggest fans.