'One of English football’s great mavericks' - Emotional tributes to ex-Sunderland, Huddersfield, Leicester, Bolton and England striker Frank Worthington

Former Sunderland, Huddersfield, Leicester, Bolton and England striker Frank Worthington has died aged 72.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 5:02 pm

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 to the PA news agency.

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

Sunderland tweeted: “We are saddened to learn of the passing of former player Frank Worthington.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”

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.”

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.

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.

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 offered his condolences on Twitter following the death of his “boyhood hero”.

“Profoundly saddened to hear that Frank Worthington has died. He was my boyhood hero when he was at @LCFC,” Lineker posted on social media.

“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.”

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.”