Clive Ford has used lockdown to reconnect with one of his big friends from Lincoln City – while also adjusting to being away from the home at which he and his wife were foster parents for 20 years.
The West Bromwich-born former Wolves forward is still in Cumbria but has down-sized considerably from the hectic, fulfilling life he once knew.
“We went our separate ways some time back, so I’ve bought a nice flat overlooking a park in Whitehaven, about four miles from where we lived,” he said this week.
“I am a long way from my daughter, who is doing very well in Australia, and son but have stayed in touch with one of the girls we fostered and treat her, her husband and children like I would my own family and they are close to here.
“They have helped me through lockdown, which everybody has found hard, but I have some plans in place to get about more when it is safe.”
We were delighted to play a part in putting Clive back in touch recently with Lincoln team-mate Roger Holmes after we were approached by a Sincil Bank historian.
But the catch-up by phone also brought sadness for him in the form of news of the passing-away of one of their colleagues.
“If I remember right, Roger and I had met once since we played together more than 50 years ago,” Ford added. “I can’t recall exactly where but it was probably at a reunion of some kind at Lincoln and we hadn’t spoken since.
“We were close as team-mates as I was centre-forward and he was usually inside-forward – and he was a smashing bloke who never raised his voice. He has done really well in business since finishing in football but told me that another colleague of ours called Lewis Thom had died in the last year or two.
“I met up with Lew a few years ago in Aberdeen, where he lived, and he had been planning to come down here to see me.”
Wolves Heroes wrote more than four years ago about Clive’s feat in scoring a double-quick hat-trick for Lincoln at home to Bradford Park Avenue, with his first two goals thought by some to be in record time by the same player at the start of a match.
Thom, a left-winger, was instrumental in the assists, having played for Shrewsbury while Ford was down the road taking his first steps in the game with Wolves – but being restricted to only two first-team games.
Holmes later served at Lincoln as a coach working for Graham Taylor. And Clive recalls being reminded by the one-time England and Wolves manager to wind in his natural forcefulness during a friendly in which they were opponents.
“The news Roger gave me about Lew reminds us that we should do things while we can,” he added. “I am hoping to go around Christmas to see my daughter, who is a chemical engineer near Sydney.
“I have been out there four times before and also hope to get back to see family and friends in the Wednesbury area in about August.
“I have more time on my hands after downsizing, although a couple of guys are doing work on the other property, which has seven bedrooms and which we took on with the aim of running a b & b.
“But my wife wanted to foster and I agreed to give it a go. I thought I would see how it went for 12 months while expecting to have had enough in three. But, very soon, I realised I found it hard to even think about walking away from it.
“We stayed in fostering for 20 years or so in the end and had some of the youngsters for a long time.”