Louis Ford

Louis Ford, 1914-1915

Since 1884, Leicester Fosse and Leicester City have appointed a total of 47 permanent managers. In this new series, Club Historian John Hutchinson highlights the careers and achievements of the key managers in the Club's history.
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Louis Ford replaced Jack Bartlett as manager in 1914. He had been involved at the very inception of the Football League in 1888 at a time when, like several other pioneers of the Football League, he was a referee.

He was also the Honorary Financial Secretary of West Bromwich Albion, before becoming General Secretary of that Club in 1890 and a Director from 1896. In addition he was also an FA Councillor from 1890-93.

From the very beginning he was actively involved in many of the decisions taken in preparation for the setting up of Football League, although his ideas relating to sharing gate receipts and the allocation of points for results weren’t successful.

Until 1893, those who ran the League’s affairs were often referred to as the Emergency Committee. The first League Management Committee was elected in May 1893. A Second Division had been added to the League in 1892/93 (two years before Leicester Fosse joined it from the Midland League).

The new Management Committee had two representatives from each division. William McGregor, the founder of the League, was the President, and Ford was elected as a committee member, serving as Vice-President from 1894-97.

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Leicester City 1914/15
Leicester City 1914/15

Louis Ford resigned as the Club's manager in January 1915.

By this time Ford, described as ‘a shrewd judge of football ability’, had joined Walsall, newly elected to the Second Division of the Football League. He also become a publican in Rugely.

When he joined Leicester Fosse in March 1914, Ford had weathered some personal financial difficulties. In 1910, to ease his financial worries, the League sent him £10.

His appointment at Filbert Street was a poisoned chalice described as ‘a thankless task, in all conscience’. The Club was in a bad state. Only goal average saved Leicester Fosse from having to seek re-election to the League in the summer of 1914.

That summer, the First World War broke out. On the grounds that it was good for morale league football continued for one more season before it was suspended. However, with many local men enlisting in the army, with casualty lists beginning to appear in the local press, and with wounded soldiers being treated in the Base Hospital on University Road, football lost its relevance and appeal. The view was growing that young men should be fighting rather than playing football.

Gates dropped. The Club’s financial position worsened. The Fosse Directors, with the support of the captain Sam Currie, arranged for the players to go on half pay. This move resulted in a League Commission’s less than favourable report into the Club’s handling of this matter and this was   instrumental in Ford resigning in January 1915. At the end of the season, only Glossop were below the Fosse in the Football League table. 

The final references to Ford come from 1938, when he was granted £21 by the Football League for his failing health. He also sent a note to the Football League congratulating it on its Golden Jubilee.




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