Radford (A Ballad To)

“Once upon a time there was this little boy called Ronnie.
He grew up in a little tin shack with his mother and 15 brothers.
All little Ronnie wanted to do when he grew up was play football.
And then one day…”

All right that didn’t work… What I’m trying to do is find a different angle on something that everybody already knows about. The following video (and song) does that for me.
Ronnie Radford - Four Four Two article header
All of you know about that FA Cup replay and that goal scored by him, which took the match to extra time and eventual win with a goal from Ricky George.

What you probably didn’t know though, was what happened to Ronnie Radford before and after this one moment in time. You know about his goal, but what about the man himself ?

I’ve posted a couple of previous ballads which also tell pretty much the same story – One of someone who dreamt of playing football, achieving that dream, then a brief moment in the spotlight.

Ronnie Radford started his footballing career with a big name – he was signed by Sheffield Wednesday and then went to Leeds United. But in a tale similar to Doc “Moonlight” Graham in the movie Field Of Dreams, it was one of Ronnie watching from the sidelines. He never made a 1st team appearance for either of them.

As with every footballer he wanted to play and dropped down the leagues, eventually signing for Cheltenham Town where he was ever present. But with this change and because of who he was playing for, Ronnie had to find a part-time job as a joiner.
Some years later Newport County came in and paid £1,500 for him. In his first season Radford was voted player of the year. But with the stress and hardship with the travelling (and still on lower pay), he moved closer to home and to (the then non-league) Hereford United.

And then that goal:

In the next round Hereford were at home to West Ham United and they managed to get another replay at Upton Park. But this is where their story ended with a Geoff Hurst hatrick.

A few years later he moved on again and became the player-manager of Worcester City. Then had stints at Bath City and Forest Green Rovers before an Achilles tendon injury ended his playing career.

Radford moved back to Yorkshire and still works at what was his part-time job, now full time as a carpenter and joiner. But despite giving up the football he is never forgotten every time the FA Cup rolls around.

» The musician Harry Harris met up with Ronnie and a few of his friends (as seen in the video above). As well as talking to him, Harry composed this ballad about Radford’s time before, during and after his moment in the sun:

The track is included on his album Songs About Other People.

» I found another song by Harry which is also on the album. He uploaded a video to YouTube:

Previous ballads: Tierney | Jevons

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