City Till We Die would like to extend our sincere condolences to the family and friends of former Hull City goalkeeper Iain Hesford who sadly died on November 2014, aged 54.
Hesford joined The Tigers in 1988 as part of the deal that took Tony Norman to Sunderland. Hesford would find replacing Norman an unenviable task. For younger members, it’s equivalent to David Moyes attempting to replace Alex Ferguson … almost.
The deal which brought him, along with Billy Whitehurst, from Roker Park in exchange for Norman was celebrated in the Hull Daily Mail with a picture of the new signings holding pints of beer, a sight that sent many a fan’s heart sinking quicker than the aforementioned tipples. (Kevin Dearden, who came on loan during Hesford’s tenure, reputedly was aghast at the drinking culture then prevalent at the club). Hesford evoked Tommy Lawrence in his build; one fanzine at the time wryly commented that Whitehurst and Hesford at least added weight, if not depth, to the squad.
Hesford’s tenure started well – a fine display in a home match against Ipswich at Boothferry Park on New Years’ Eve 1988 – and later that season he featured in City’s Cup match of the decade against Liverpool, but thereon in it was downhill for both Hesford and City. Hesford’s displays became increasingly erratic, although to be fair he was playing behind a poor defence. He was finally replaced in goal by Steve Wilson towards the end of the 1990/91 season whilst City were relegated, finishing bottom of Division Two.
Following relegation, he moved on to Maidstone United. While with the Kent outfit, who went into liquidation in 1992, Hesford bagged the winning goal in a Fourth Division victory over Hereford when a long kick caught the wind and sailed into the net.
Hesford was born in Zambia before his family moved back home and started his career with Blackpool. He made over two hundred appearances for them having debuted in 1977. Following Maidstone’s extinction he moved to Hong Kong and enjoyed great success. In May 1996, he was selected to play for a Hong Kong XI against a touring England side.