Blackpool Football Club fans and officials are mourning the death of former goalkeeper Iain Hesford, who has passed away, aged 54.
Hesford played over 200 matches for the Seasiders and was an England under-21 international, as well as being a member of one of the country’s most talented and versatile sporting families of all time.
Hesford’s brother Bob played rugby union for England, while another brother Steve was an outstanding player with Warrington Rugby League Club.
Their father Bob Hesford was a top goalkeeper in his own right, playing for Huddersfield Town in the 1938 FA Cup final defeat at the hands of Preston North End..
Born in Zambia, Iain Hesford’s first club was Blackpool where he established a reputation as one of the best young ‘keepers in the country, creating a record in the process.
When he made his debut against Oldham Athletic in August, 1977, he became the youngest goalkeeper ever to play for the Seasiders..
It was the start of a successful career at Bloomfield Road, which lasted until 1983 during which time he made more than 200 appearances between the posts.
His talent soon caught the eye at international level and he was regularly called up to play for England under-21s, winning seven caps.
He moved to Sheffield Wednesday in 1983, but surprisingly failed to make a senior appearance.
Hesford enjoyed a far more fruitful time at his next clubs, Sunderland and Hull City before a spell at Maidstone, then a Football League club.
The talented stopper then played out the end of his career in the Far East in Hong Kong with no little success, winning titles and player accolaldes.
While playing for one club Eastern, he went 827 minutes without letting in a goal.
Though an England international at under-21 level, he actually played against his own country, taking the field for a Hong Kong national XI against a touring England side.
On his return to England, Hesford ran a hotel business in the Rochdale area.
Brother Steve is regarded as a legend at Warrington, where he kicked 1,112 goals, a record that stood for several years.
Bob Hesford Junior, who was born in Blackpool, played 10 time for England at rugby union.
Iain must have inherited much of his goalkeeping prowess from his father, who made 200 appearances for his one and only club Huddersfield.
Hesford Senior featured in one of the most dramatic FA Cup finals of all time in 1938 - Preston won with a penalty by George Mutch, who scored against Hesford in the final minute of extra time.
Announcing Hesford’s death, Blackpool said in a statement:”Condolences go out to his family at this sad time.”