Frank Worthington: ‘A beautiful footballer, a maverick and a wonderful character’

Huddersfield Town were “devastated” and Gary Lineker paid tribute to his “boyhood hero” after the death of one of football’s great entertainers, Frank Worthington.

flamboyant: Frank Worthington leaves the legendary George Best in the background in this Old Trafford First Division encounter between  Manchester United and Huddersfield Town in 1972. Picture: Bob Thomas/Getty Images
flamboyant: Frank Worthington leaves the legendary George Best in the background in this Old Trafford First Division encounter between Manchester United and Huddersfield Town in 1972. Picture: Bob Thomas/Getty Images

The forward, whose career began at Leeds Road in 1966 and ended with Halifax Town reserves 26 years later, died aged 72 on Monday after a long illness. Born in Shelf, halfway between Halifax and Bradford, he played for more than 20 teams in six countries, including Huddersfield, Leeds United and Guiseley, and eight times for England, scoring twice.

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The Terriers described Worthington as “among the most elegant of all Town players on the ball,” adding: “Everyone at Huddersfield Town is devastated.”

He was a regular at his first club’s home games until shortly before the Covid-19 pandemic and former players Iwan Roberts, Jon Stead and Mark Lillis were amongst those to offer condolences.

Roberts described him as a “lovely man who always had time to talk.”

Ex-England captain Lineker called Worthington: “A beautiful footballer, a maverick and a wonderful character who was so kind to this young apprentice when he joined (Leicester City). RIP Frank (Elvis).”

He owed his nickname to idolising the singer with whom he shared a love of entertaining. “Frank brought joy to so many people throughout his career and private life,” said his wife, Carol.

Former Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper and manager Chris Turner, a Sunderland team-mate, referred to “afternoons in Magaluf with Frank holding court in a beach bar.”

But there was far more to the playboy, who scored 266 times in 882 games, appearing in 22 consecutive league seasons.

“Frank should have 40, 50 caps,” said former team-mate Ally McCoist. “For an old-fashioned ball-player of that generation, Frank was up there with the best.”

Worthington joined Leeds in March 1982, scoring 14 goals in 35 appearances.

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