Remembering Iain Hesford, of Blackpool, Sunderland, Hull City and Maidstone. RIP

Iain Hesford: courtesy of
Iain Hesford: courtesy of*

Monsieur Salut writes: Iain Hesford*, SAFC’s goalkeeper in the Third Division title-winning season, has died at the cruelly young age of 54. Pete Sixsmith sent his thoughts on this sad news in the same file containing a preview of today’s game at Leicester. It would have been simple to detach and should have been by me before publication. I do so now: Iain’s passing deserves its own place on these pages and that place is not as footnote to a match preview. Now let Pete offer his condolences to the former player’s family and a short appraisal of his Roker Park time.

* There was sad news about Iain Hesford, our goalkeeper in the Third Division Championship season who died yesterday. Signed by Lawrie McMenemy from Sheffield Wednesday, he made an excellent opening day debut at Leeds Road, against Huddersfield Town, where goals from Frank Gray and David Swindlehurst appeared to set us up for a good season.

We were relegated and Iain had a mixed bag of a season, including some clangers being dropped; one, against Leeds United, was a top class one and, had we hung on to win rather than drawn, we may well have stopped up.

Dennis Smith attempted to replace him with Steve Hardwick, but Hessie won his place back to end up as runner-up in the Player of the Year vote behind Eric Gates. The next season he moved to Hull City in a swap with Tony Norman and had an absolute blinder for The Tigers as they beat us 3-2 on New Year’s Day 1990.

He was known to “like a pint” and frequented the pubs in Shincliffe on the edge of Durham. His father had kept goal for Preston North End in the 1938 FA Cup final and his two brothers were international Rugby players. Bob played kick and clap for England while Steve had a long career at Warrington playing the 13 a side game.

I am sure I speak on behalf of all Sunderland supporters in sending our condolences to Iain’s family.

* Photographs from the must-have site of the Sunderland Former Players’ Association – – are reproduced by Salut! Sunderland with permission from its editors.

** a short tribute to Iain also appears at the Hull City Tigers site:

*** Wikipedia gives his main playing career as
1977–1983 Blackpool 202
1986–1988 Sunderland 97
1988–1991 Hull City 91
1991–1992 Maidstone United 42

**** There is a thread on Iain’s death at Ready to Go:

I am sure Iain will be remembered when the players line up at the King Power stadoum today and/or at next Saturday’s home game vs Chelsea …


Jake: 'ha'way me bonny Black Cats, outfox the Foxes'
Jake: ‘ha’way me bonny Black Cats, outfox the Foxes’
*** Catch up on the Leicester City vs SAFC buildup:

‘A never-ending love affair
with Foxes’: a double LCFC ‘Who are You?’: Part one at and part two at

And Guess the Score
and maybe win something at


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1 thought on “Remembering Iain Hesford, of Blackpool, Sunderland, Hull City and Maidstone. RIP”

  1. A Northern Rhodesian (Zambia)lad just as nutty as Grobbelaar a larger tha life character Deepiest sympathies to his family

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