Farewell to football’s favourite showman: Flamboyant former England striker Frank Worthington dies aged 72 after long battle with illness
- Former England striker Frank Worthington died aged 72 on March 22 in hospital
- Worthington hit headlines as much for off-field exploits as rarefied talents on it
- Worthington won eight England caps and represented over 20 clubs in career
- Worthington’s wife Carol paid tribute to the much-loved football showman
Former England striker Frank Worthington has died aged 72.
One of English football’s great mavericks, Worthington died peacefully in hospital on March 22, his family announced in a statement.
Unashamedly non-establishment, Worthington hit the headlines as much for his off-field exploits as his rarefied talents on it.
Worthington won eight England caps and represented over 20 clubs in a long playing career that began with Huddersfield in 1966. He went on to play for Leicester and Bolton.
Worthington’s wife Carol paid tribute to the much-loved football showman, who died in hospital in Huddersfield.
Former Huddersfield, Leicester, Bolton and England striker Frank Worthington has died aged 72
One of English football’s great mavericks, Worthington (pictured in 2004) died peacefully in hospital on March 22, his family announced in a statement
Unashamedly non-establishment, Worthington (left in 1976 and right in 2017) hit the headlines as much for his off-field exploits as his rarefied talents on it
‘Frank brought joy to so many people throughout his career and in his private life,’ Carol Worthington said.
‘He will be greatly missed by everyone who loved him so much.’
Worthington’s daughter, Kim Malou, announced on Facebook in 2016 that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, but he issued a statement the following day denying that he had the condition.
He said at the time: ‘I have never been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or any other neurological disorder or illness.
‘I do have some issues with short-term memory impairment but I have been assured this is not particularly unusual for a man of my age.’
Worthington was a fan favourite, much-loved for his outlandish sense of dress and well-reported playboy lifestyle.
An avid Elvis fan, he often donned medallion-man jewellery, paired with a shirt open at the chest, a fedora and buckled leather boots with his hair slicked back with Brylcreem.
He only stopped wearing the medallions when his wife Carol told him ‘it was beginning to look a bit naff’, he earlier said.
Commenting on his escapades in 1985 he said: ‘I admit I have not been an angel, but nothing has ever come before football.’
In 1994, his autobiography One Hump or Two?, detailing his various exploits.
One such anecdote sees him fined one week’s wages by Huddersfield after being caught hiding two female dancers in his hotel wardrobe before a game at Everton.
In another, he recalls joining the Mile High Club with a French woman he had known for 20 minutes on a flight to Los Angeles while playing for Leicester City.
The woman’s husband was asleep in the next seat.
Worthington won eight England caps and represented over 20 clubs in a long playing career that began with Huddersfield in 1966. He went on to play for Leicester and Bolton (pictured playing for the Bolton Wanderers)
Worthington also refused to wear shinpads on the pitch, playing with only his socks covering his ankles
A statement from Worthington’s family read: ‘It is with great sadness that the death is announced of football legend Frank Worthington (pictured) who passed away last night’
He also refused to wear shinpads on the pitch, playing with only his socks covering his ankles.
A statement from Worthington’s family read: ‘It is with great sadness that the death is announced of football legend Frank Worthington who passed away last night.
‘A spokesman for his wife Carol said Frank died peacefully in hospital in Huddersfield following a long illness.’
Meanwhile, Gary Lineker lead the tributes the footballing great online, taking to Twitter to dub Worthington his ‘boyhood hero’.
He wrote: ‘Profoundly saddened to hear that Frank Worthington has died. He was my boyhood hero when he was at Leicester City.
‘A beautiful footballer, a maverick and a wonderful character who was so kind to this young apprentice when he joined the club. RIP Frank (Elvis).’
Football commentator Gary Taphouse added: ‘RIP Frank Worthington. One of the great entertainers, scorer of one of the greatest ever goals.’
Huddersfield Town Association Football Club’s Twitter account wrote: ‘Everyone at Huddersfield Town Football Club is devastated to hear of the passing of Town legend Frank Worthington.
‘Our thoughts are with his family and friends.’
Once described by former Huddersfield and Bolton manager Ian Greaves as ‘the working man’s George Best’, Worthington played in 22 consecutive Football League seasons from 1966/7, scoring 266 goals in 882 appearances in all competitions.
In 14 of those seasons he played in the top division, notching 150 goals in 466 matches, and won the Golden Boot award in 1978/79 as the leading scorer ahead of Kenny Dalglish and Frank Stapleton.
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