TOP rugby coach and former player Mike Ford is returning to his Saddleworth roots to try his hand as a café owner.
The 53-year-old, who used to live in Grasscroft and now has a base in Diggle, can be revealed as the man behind plans to open Kobe Coffee on Uppermill High Street.
An application ( PA/343023/19) to transform the former Bed wine bar and restaurant has been submitted on Ford’s behalf to Oldham Planning Committee.
The proposals, including change of use of the first and second floors from residential to commercial use, were due to be discussed by Saddleworth Parish Council’s planning committee before the Independent went to press.
No changes are proposed for the ground floor, previously occupied by Bed, which closed last year.
The application from agent Thomas Pye of Pye Design, Hindley, Wigan, says Kobe Coffee intends to employ two full and four part time staff.
The proposed opening hours will be: Monday to Saturday, 7am to 11pm and Sunday and Bank Holidays, 8am to 6pm.
Ford, whose sons George and Joe are leading rugby union players, is currently employed by Leicester Tigers after a spell in charge of the German National RU team.
He has been hired to save Leicester’s Aviva Premiership status. Ford had previously accepted an opportunity to become Director of Rugby and board member of American Major League Rugby side, the Dallas Griffins.
As a player, Oldham-born Ford represented Wigan, Oldham, and Warrington and Castleford in rugby league, twice representing Great Britain. Switching codes, he coached at Saracens, Bath and Toulon while taking up a role as defensive coach with England and Ireland.