One of English football’s great mavericks, Worthington died peacefully in hospital on March 22 at the age of 72 following a long illness and the funeral of the former Huddersfield and Leicester forward will take place in Halifax today (Apr 16).
During a lengthy playing career, the striker represented more than 20 clubs but the latter years of his life saw wife Carol became his full-time carer with benefits their only source of income.
Worthington battled dementia and prostate cancer after retirement and while he initially earned a living on the after-dinner speaking circuit, offers eventually stopped and the death of the former Philadelphia Fury and Tampa Bay Rowdies striker has left his widow in a precarious position.
Carol Worthington, speaking at their Huddersfield home, said: “Frank had been declared bankrupt after returning from playing in America when he was landed with a big, unpaid tax bill.
“After the money stopped coming in I was made bankrupt as well. Everyone was chasing us for money but with sickness and other benefits we just about managed to get the interest paid on the mortgage.
“When Frank’s illness got particularly bad over the last five years, I became his full-time carer but now he has gone that income has stopped. I can’t pay the mortgage so I have got to sell our home. I’m applying for Universal Credit and hopefully I can get benefits to pay my rent somewhere but the future looks terribly bleak.”
The 62-year-old revealed Gordon Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association, had “helped in many ways” and he is set to attend Worthington’s funeral today (Apr 16).
Due to coronavirus restrictions, a limit on the number of attendees will be enforced but Taylor and Huddersfield commercial manager John Williams will join 26 family members and close friends at a crematorium in Halifax.
A JustGiving page has been set up in memory of Worthington to raise money for both his wife of 35 years and dementia charities, with 90 per cent of the final total set to go to a charity.
“Gordon Taylor has been fantastic and helped in so many ways but I desperately need help for the future,” Carol Worthington added.
The couple had spent the last 25 years living together at their Huddersfield home after the much-loved football showman eventually hung up his boots at the start of the 90s’.
During the peak of his powers, the flamboyant attacker 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 claiming the Golden Boot award at the end of the 1978-79 campaign.
Worthington, who also had a spell as Tranmere player-manager, scored twice for England during eight appearances and leaves behind wife Carol and children Frank Jnr and Kim, both from his previous marriage with Birgitta Egermalm.
::To donate, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/frank-worthington