Asa Hartford

Asa Hartford
Asa Hartford
Personal information
Full name Richard Hartford
Date of birth 24 October 1950 (1950-10-24) (age 61)
Place of birth Clydebank, Scotland
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current club Accrington Stanley (Reserve & Youth Coach)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1967–1974 West Bromwich Albion 214 (18)
1974–1979 Manchester City 185 (22)
1979 Nottingham Forest 3 (0)
1979–1981 Everton 81 (6)
1981–1984 Manchester City 75 (7)
1984 Fort Lauderdale Sun ? (?)
1984–1985 Norwich City 28 (2)
1985–1987 Bolton Wanderers 81 (8)
1987–1989 Stockport County 45 (0)
1989 Oldham Athletic 7 (0)
1989–1991 Shrewsbury Town 25 (0)
Total 744 (63)
National team
1972–1982 Scotland 50 (5)
Teams managed
1985–1987 Bolton Wanderers (player-coach)
1987–1989 Stockport County (player-coach)
1989–1991 Shrewsbury Town
1991 Boston United
1991–1993 Blackburn Rovers
1993 Stoke City (caretaker manager)
1996–2005 Manchester City (assistant/caretaker manager)
2007–2008 Macclesfield Town (assistant manager)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Richard 'Asa' Hartford (born 24 October 1950 in Clydebank, Dunbartonshire) is a retired Scottish international midfielder and footballer who became famous for failing a medical examination due to the discovery of a heart condition which put paid to a high profile transfer to Leeds United in November 1971.


Early career

He first played for Drumchapel Amateurs in Glasgow, but began his professional career at West Bromwich Albion in 1967. During his time with West Brom, the team won the FA Cup Final in 1968 (although he did not play in the final), were beaten Semi-Finalists in 1969 and reached the League Cup final in 1970.

Hole-in-the-heart discovery

Given his role in the team it was no surprise that he would attract interest from the top clubs but in November 1971 a high profile transfer to Don Revie's Leeds United was cancelled when a suspected hole in-the-heart condition was found during a pre-transfer medical examination. He was eventually transfer listed by then West Brom coach Don Howe alongside favourites Len Cantello and Jeff Astle in April 1974 and his subsequent career made nonsense of the fears occasioned by Leeds' doubting staff.

Manchester City

Hartford moved on to Manchester City for £210,000 (making his debut in a resounding 4-0 victory over West Ham United), coming to prominence as a strong, talented midfielder (helping City win the 1976 League Cup final (a game famous for Dennis Tueart's overhead winner)) as well as a regular Scottish international.

International recognition

He played in Scotland’s oddly ill-fated 1978 World Cup campaign in Argentina where Ally MacLeod's selection vagaries exposed a talented Scottish squad to a needless first round exit. Brian Glanville commenting, in his frequently updated 'The Story of the World Cup', wrote "The Scots had an abundance of fine midfield players at a time when most other countries looked for them desperately; Bruce Rioch, Don Masson, Asa Hartford, Archie Gemmill, Lou Macari, Graeme Souness". (p. 214, 2005). Hartford’s international career (which began in 1972 against Peru) came to an end in Seville during the Spanish World Cup of 1982 when he recorded his fiftieth cap for Scotland in the game against Brazil, thereby securing himself a place on the national team's Roll of Honour in the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

Latter career

At the beginning of the 1979-80 season he was transferred to Brian Clough’s European Champions at Nottingham Forest (in order to replace Archie Gemmill) for £500,000 only to be smartly packed off to Everton for £400,000 after 3 games. In October 1981 John Bond brought him back to Maine Road for £375,000. What followed were stints in the United States (Fort Lauderdale Sun), Norwich City (for whom he scored the winning goal in the 1985 League Cup final), Bolton Wanderers and Oldham Athletic, before he took up coaching/managerial roles with Stockport County, Shrewsbury Town and Boston United where he made 15 appearances as a player at the age of 40.

Coaching and management

Latterly, he joined ex-international team-mates Kenny Dalglish (at Blackburn Rovers), Joe Jordan and Luigi ‘Lou’ Macari (at Stoke City) in various coaching/managerial roles before taking on an assistant managerial position at Manchester City with Alan Ball in 1995 and stayed as the reserve team coach until May 2005 when Stuart Pearce brought in his own coaching staff. He thereafter became a coach with Blackpool in December 2005. He left Blackpool in May 2006.

On 29 June 2007 it was announced that he had been appointed Assistant Manager at League Two team Macclesfield Town but both he and Ian Brightwell were sacked in February 2008 to be replaced by Keith Alexander.

In April 2008 he was given a role with Accrington Stanley coaching the junior teams and the reserves.


  • Glanville, Brian - World Cup. The Story of the, Faber & Faber, London, 2005.

External links

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