Trevor Ford, born 1 October 1923 to Trevor and Daisy Ford, was a centre forward who played for Swansea Town, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Cardiff City, PSV Eindhoven, Newport County and the Wales national team. In a career that spanned fifteen years he scored 202 league goals in 401 matches.
Trevor Senior served as a physical training instructor during the First World War. He encouraged young Trevor, buying him a new football and boots for each birthday. He also made him practice his football for two hours each day, often using a tennis ball on his stronger right foot to improve control.
Cricket was another one of Trevor’s passions. At the age of 14, he was selected to represent Wales against a London Schools under-15 side as a bowler, playing alongside his future Wales and Cardiff City teammate Alf Sherwood. Later, he fielded substitute during the match at St Helen’s, Swansea when Garry Sobers hit six sixes in one over.
A physical player, Trevor began his career during the Second World War with his hometown club Swansea Town. After the war he joined Aston Villa before, in October 1950, breaking the British transfer fee record with a move to Sunderland. The fee: £30,000.
In 1953 Trevor returned to Wales to play for Cardiff City. However, a scandal from his time at Sunderland, involving illegal payments in an attempt to circumvent the maximum wage, brought a suspension. Unable to play in Britain, Trevor joined PSV Eindhoven. He returned to Britain in 1960 and completed his club career at Newport County.
As an international, Trevor represented Wales on 38 occasions becoming his country’s record goalscorer with 23 goals, a record later equalled by Ivor Allchurch then surpassed by Ian Rush and Gareth Bale. Due to his suspension, Trevor was not selected for the 1958 World Cup finals, a bitter blow for him and Wales.
Trevor made his first appearance for Wales on 4 May 1946 against Northern Ireland in a ‘Wartime International’. Northern Ireland won, 1–0. His first official cap arrived during the 1946-47 British Home Championship when he scored in Wales’ 3 – 1 victory over Scotland, a game played at the Racecourse Ground, Wrexham. He scored again against Northern Ireland, but the game ended in a 2 – 1 defeat.
Trevor made it three goals in three games when, in the following season, he scored against Scotland. However, his finest personal performance arrived in 1949 when he scored a hat-trick against Belgium. He also scored two goals against England, twice, Portugal, Switzerland and Yugoslavia.
Trevor won his final cap on 20 October 1950 in a 2–2 draw with Scotland. Of course, he scored.
Trevor used his physicality to great effect and often stretched the rules to the limit when challenging goalkeepers. His Wales international teammate John Charles said, “He used to bang everybody and knock them out of the way, he was never frightened.” He added that Trevor was a “wonderful person”.
Trevor admitted that his personality changed when he stepped on to the pitch and that he played “like an animal”. However, no referee cautioned him or sent him off.
Sunderland colleague Billy Bingham later stated, “He got some terrible knocks from goalkeepers, but he also knew how to dish it out and he never complained to refs”. He added, “The two of us would lift weights, and I don’t think he broke a sweat while I was struggling to lift some of them. He was the bravest player I ever played with.”
Following his retirement, Trevor entered the car trade. He died in his native Swansea on 29 May 2003 at the age of 79 and was buried in Oystermouth Cemetery.