'Profoundly saddened': Football mourns death of 'maverick' icon

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Frank Worthington is pictured here during his time with the Leicester Football Club.
Frank Worthington is being remembered as one of the great entertainers in English football. Pic: AAP

The football world is hailing the career of Frank Worthington after the England icon sadly passed away at the age of 72.

Regarded as one of English football's great mavericks, Worthington died peacefully in hospital on Monday evening following a long illness, his family announced in a statement.

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Worthington won eight England caps and represented over 20 clubs in a long playing career that began with Huddersfield in 1966.

He also played for Leicester and Bolton in a distinguished career that captivated the imagination of many football fans.

Worthington's wife Carol paid tribute to the much-loved football showman, who died in hospital in Huddersfield.

"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."

Unashamedly non-establishment, Worthington hit the headlines as much for his off-field exploits as his rarefied talents on it.

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, scoring 266 goals in 882 appearances in all competitions.

Seen here, Frank Worthington later in his life after football.
Frank Worthington died aged 72 after a long battle with illness. Pic: AAP

In 14 of those campaigns 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.

Former Leicester, Tottenham and England striker Gary Lineker was among those to offer his condolences on Twitter following the death of his "boyhood hero".

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"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)."

Worthington's former clubs were also quick to pay their respects on social media.

Huddersfield tweeted: "Everyone at #htafc is devastated to hear of the passing of Town legend Frank Worthington. Our thoughts are with his family and friends."

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Leicester posted: "It is with great sadness that we heard the news of the death of Leicester City legend Frank Worthington, who passed away on 22 March, 2021."

Bolton tweeted: "It is with great sadness that Bolton Wanderers has today learned of the passing of club legend Frank Worthington. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends."

Birmingham posted: "The club is saddened to learn of the passing of Frank Worthington aged 72. All of our thoughts are with his family and friends at this difficult time."

Southampton hailed Worthington for the joy he took to the south coast in his one-year stint with the Saints.

"Saints FC is saddened by the passing of Frank Worthington, who lit up The Dell with his talents in 1983/84. Our thoughts are with Frank's loved ones," the club tweeted.

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with AAP

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