R.I.P. Frank Worthington

I am sad to announce the death of one of the game’s Great Entertainers, Frank Worthington (b.23/11/48, Halifax)

I wrote a blog about Frank back in September 2020 prompted by an email from his daughter,Kim. The overwhelming response to a previous Facebook forum post by me about Frank was that he was uniquely loved by everybody in football. I span a few of the anecdotes and memories into an article and forwarded it to Kim hoping it would give his family some joy. I am devasted to now write after his death.

All the Facebook fan forums and all the Twitter threads have a common theme today. Frank was a man loved by every football fan. Even the supporters of his opponents have been rich in their praise. This is almost unheard of. I have read literally hundreds and hundreds of posts in the last 24 hours. Without exception, every single fan has hailed him as a legendary player, a great entertainer and someone who could single-handedly make an unexceptional game magical. Hundreds have lamented his lack of England caps, his lack of medals in Europe and, perhaps the greatest compliment ever, “Oh, if only he had played for us. We’d have won everything.” Manchester United and Liverpool fans wince when they realise just how close they were to signing him. Leicester, Birmingham City and Bolton fans recall goal after goal, anecdote after anecdote. Sunderland and Southampton fans remember his successful stints whilst Huddersfield fans all remember knowing that the precocious kid was indeed going to be a star.

It is invidious to quote just a few of the many tributes but I especially liked these. All are quoted with permission:
“I attended a charity dinner in Northern Ireland when Frank was guest speaker. He told about playing against Tommy Smith (Liverpool) when he beat Tommy on the outside, beat him in on the inside, did a drag back, then nutmegged him and crossed the ball to his teammate who scored!!!!Tommy chased Frank back to the halfway line for the centre, roaring his head off shouting to Frank, “If you try that again I’ll break you in pieces and stamp on whatever’s left over. You’re not going to leave this place alive!!!”
Frank shouted to the ref, “Ref, ref, did you hear that??” The ref said, “I think Tommy was talking to you Frank!”
Ian Getty, Ballymena Utd fan and a real fan of all football nostalgia!

“About 5 or 6 years ago I was sat in a pub in Meriden and sitting a table away from me was Frank Worthington. I said to my wife, “He scored one of the best goals I’ve ever seen.” So my wife said, ” Go and tell him.” So I did. Immediately Frank jumped and said, “Shall I talk you through it?” And he then demonstrated what he did in the middle of the bar using me as the defender. We had a 10 minute chat about old footy and he was so eager to talk .When he asked me who I supported and I said Coventry , he said “You lot always gave me some stick but so did everyone else but I loved it.” Only a few weeks later his daughter announced he was was suffering with Alzheimers but you would never have known . Of course Frank denied it …
Claudio Cardellino, Coventry City and football fanatic.

If anybody else has tributes that they would like added, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Frank Worthington, The Great Entertainer, R.I.P


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