RIP Frank Worthington

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David Gwilliam

Well-Known Member
Frank Worthington had a wonderful career but really he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He was in the wrong place in that his career would have been even better if he had signed for Liverpool. With all due respect to John Toshack, a Keegan - Worthington partnership would have been on a different level. For all his qualities he had a big failing in his lack of fitness. He tended to fade in the later stages of he game. Shankley would never have stood for that and neither would the Liverpool team.

I believe Frank was the most gifted English centre forward in my time though not the best. His first touch was better than Lofthouse or Shearer or any of their rivals; nor could they produce Frank's moments of magic, However, Shearer worked for ninety minutes and as Kenneth Wolstenholme said "you would have to shoot Lofthouse to stop him and even that probably wouldn't work." (He could not get away with that comment today).

Frank was also playing at the wrong time. Those moments of sheer skill were produced on muddy pitches How he would have enjoyed today's pitches. He also got no protection from referees I am reminded of the saying at the time - "technique is doing om the training pitch; skill is doing it with Norman Hunter's boot up your arse." Because of his skill it is easy to forget his courage ; he never let brutal centre halves intimidate him.

The Guardian compares him to George Best because of his lifestyle. I think there was a major difference. Best's career seemed desperate and he struggled with fame. Frank seemed to have a really good time on and off the field.

RIP Frank and thank you for wonderful memories.
 

Miles Away

Well-Known Member
Anyone have any idea what this match was?

Early 90s, presumably a charity/testimonial game, but I can't remember what it was for.

You had to pick your moment when taking a photo in those days, couldn't afford to waste film. The moment I picked was just as Frank looked away...
A few other recognisable faces in the picture.

View attachment 15925

I THINK I was at this match. A testimonial. The same one BN is referencing. I feel like it could have been Walshys 10 years at the club?

It was the only time I ever got to see Wortho, my dad worshipped him.

He came on for 15 minutes and had Gascoignes pants down if I remember correctly.
 

Volpone

Well-Known Member
From the Daily Telegraph

The Frank Worthington I knew: an entertainer born in the wrong age

It's an insult that my fellow seventies maverick won just eight England caps

By Rod Marsh and Simon Briggs,

What a talent Frank Worthington was. Light on his feet, agile, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. And that was just in a night club. On the football pitch, my word what a presence he was. That goal he scored for Bolton, flicking the ball over his head before volleying it into the corner of the net: that was a piece of magic that will be admired as long as football is played.

We belonged to an exclusive little club, Frank and I - and I don’t mean Stringfellows. We were part of a unique cohort in the Seventies that have become known subsequently as The Mavericks. There was Stan Bowles, Charlie George, Alan Hudson, Tony Currie, Frank, me and at the centre of it, George Best. We all shared a common perspective: football was there to be enjoyed, both for the player and the fan. Our main priority when we went out on the pitch was to entertain, to have fun.

The problem was, we were non-conformists at a time when the game was run at the top by those who valued conformity. Alf Ramsey and then Don Revie as England managers had a right distrust of those who thought outside their strict guidelines. The fact is, they were suspicious of flair.

It was madness Frank didn’t play more for his country. He was always treated with such suspicion by England management. Which wasn’t altogether fair. I remember I was with him in one get together Revie organised. And he wouldn’t go out with us that evening. He was trying to create a good

In one way Frank was lucky that he was born at a time when he could have fun, enjoy himself, relax away from the game. If there had been camera phones around when Frank was out on the town, he would be permanently banned from playing. I once read an interview with him when he had just moved clubs - to Bolton I think - and he said he was knuckling down, getting self-disciplined; instead of going out seven nights a week, he said, he was going to cut it down to just the six. And I remember thinking at the time: come on Frank, you and I both know come next week you’ll be out on the seventh night too.

But in another way he was unlucky with when he was born. Because were he around now, Frank would have earned himself 100 England caps not the eight he got. Eight: it is an absolute insult. He really was that good. I read that when he was a kid growing up in Halifax he played on the street with his two older brothers who used to kick lumps out of him. In order to avoid their attacks, he learned how to beat them with skill. And boy was he skilful. He was big, good in the air, a real presence. But he could pass, he could dribble, his movement off the ball was so intelligent. Plus he scored big goals at times that mattered. His club managers realised they could rely on him to deliver the goods. That was when they could prise him off the dancefloor.

Mind, he did have a reputation, Frank. There was a time when every night club I went into he seemed already to be there, bootlace tie, hair slicked back, another girl on his arm. But he was always up for a chat about football. You could talk to him about the game for hours.

After I’d retired and was living in Florida, he signed for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. There was a big headline in the local paper: Worthington Arrives Today. They gave the time his flight was due in and encouraged all the fans to go and greet him. Well, anyone turning up got quite a sight. When he got off the plane, looking like he'd enjoyed a long flight, he was carrying a bag of duty free, tripped down the steps, and a bottle of scotch smashed on the runway. Welcome Frank.

The last time I saw him was about three years ago when I did an event with him and Gary Lineker. He did his best to hide it, but you could see there was a confusion in his eyes, the effect of dementia. He was still in good spirits, but mentally he was disappearing before your eyes. It was so sad to see. Because I tell you what, there weren’t many who, when they had a ball at their feet, could lift the soul like Frank Worthington.



One of football's great entertainers by Simon Briggs

When Frank Worthington arrived at Heathrow Airport in June 1972, ready for an England Under-23 tour of Eastern Europe, he wore high-heeled cowboy boots, a red silk shirt, black slacks and a lime velvet jacket.

Alf Ramsey, England’s understated manager, turned white. “Oh s---,” he exclaimed. “What have I f---ing done?”

This was classic Worthington, the maverick’s maverick who has died at the age of 72 following a long illness. Off the field, he dressed like a peacock; on it, he played to the gallery. His personal level of performance, he once told an interviewer, “is more important to me than the team winning”.

His loss will be sadly mourned, and yet there will also be joy in reliving some of the game’s most outrageous anecdotes. Take the occasion in 1972 when Worthington nearly signed for Liverpool for what would then have been a club-record fee of £150,000. Unfortunately, there was a problem at the medical: his blood pressure was too high.

According to Worthington’s racy autobiography, One Hump Or Two, the Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was still keen and told him to head for Majorca for a holiday. He was dating Miss Great Britain at the time, but he used the break to pick up a series of international admirers including a Swedish mother-and-daughter combination. By the time he returned to Liverpool for a retest, his blood pressure was even higher.

You can see why Worthington’s attitude failed to impress Ramsey or his successor Don Revie, a pair of pragmatic England managers. He made only eight international appearances, even though the Manchester City legend Mike Summerbee once called him “the only player you could have taken from the league to Italy without him looking out of place”.

His best chances came in 1974, when Joe Mercer spent a month as caretaker manager in the wake of Ramsey’s departure. Worthington scored on his second start, a 2-2 draw against Argentina at Wembley, by producing an ingenious and instinctive finish with his back to goal. A second goal, rifled home from a Kevin Keegan flick-on, beat Bulgaria 1-0 in Sofia 10 days later. “Joe picked entertaining players,” said Keegan at the time. “The kind the fans might have selected.”

Worthington loved football for its own sake – a passion which kept him going through an extraordinary 22 seasons in the Football League. Born in Halifax, his last gig was as player-coach for Halifax Town, aged 44. And he continued to turn out for their reserves even after that. In later life, when asked who he had played for, he liked to reply “I had 11 clubs – or 12 if you count Stringfellows.”

Worthington was a supremely gifted player who scored one of the greatest juggling goals ever seen – the 1979 volley for Bolton Wanderers against Ipswich Town, which as you can see in the below YouTube clip began with four delicate keepy-uppy touches, outwitting the onrushing defensive line, before he buried the ball in the right-hand corner. Even the referee clapped.

But he will also be remembered as a dedicated playboy who loved to impersonate Elvis – the explanation for his flamboyant sideburns – and who took pride in his extensive list of conquests. “George Best had a reputation with the ladies,” he wrote in his autobiography, “but I had more than my fair share.”

Worthington’s Football League career lasted from 1966 to 1987, featuring 266 goals from his 882 appearances. His longest-lasting association was with Leicester City, whom he represented more than 200 times, while he also appeared for Birmingham City, Leeds United, Southampton and Sunderland.

He was a hero to Gary Lineker when the pair overlapped for six months at Filbert Street, though not exactly a mentor. “I kept a suitably awed distance,” Lineker has admitted, “in keeping with his status as a superstar and my status as, basically, the dressing-room floor cleaner.”

That memory dates from Worthington’s iconic 1970s heyday. It was the decade when, as the author Rob Steen put it, “flair wore flares”. He was part of a group of half-a-dozen freaky footballers who looked like they had strayed off the set of Top of the Pops. Indeed, he admitted to hankering after a musical career himself.

“In the Seventies, football became part of the pop industry,” Worthington once said. “I used to go to a lot of pop concerts and got to meet a lot of the stars. There is still a common bond, an affinity with one another, that stems from back then, because footballers are frustrated pop stars and the pop stars are all frustrated footballers.”

As with the other members of the mavericks’ group – Alan Hudson, Tony Currie, Rodney Marsh, Charlie George, Stan Bowles – Worthington’s propensity for showboating sometimes attracted flak from the stands. “W---y-w---y-w---y-w---y-Worthington!” they would shout. For more adventurous managers, though, the creativity in his silky left foot outweighed any perceived lack of discipline. When he signed for Southampton in 1983, Lawrie McMenemy told him “I don’t care how you train, just so long as you perform for me on a Saturday.”

On the marriage front, Worthington was more frugal than one might have expected from such a fast liver. His first wife, Brigitta, was a former Miss Sweden who came over after to Britain after she became pregnant during what he called “a holiday romance”. They had a son and a daughter together: Frank Junior and Kim Malou.

After the divorce came through in 1977, his expensive lifestyle – which Steen’s excellent book The Mavericks described as “shopping sprees on the King’s Road and a rapid turnover of sports cars” – had to be toned down a little. Within a few years, he had found his second wife Carole Dwyer, Page Three model and daughter of Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Noel Dwyer.

This relationship endured, as will Worthington’s memory as one of the most gifted and charismatic players of his day. The sort of player who makes sport worthwhile.
 

give_us_a_wave

Well-Known Member
From the Daily Telegraph

The Frank Worthington I knew: an entertainer born in the wrong age

It's an insult that my fellow seventies maverick won just eight England caps

By Rod Marsh and Simon Briggs,

What a talent Frank Worthington was. Light on his feet, agile, you couldn’t take your eyes off him. And that was just in a night club. On the football pitch, my word what a presence he was. That goal he scored for Bolton, flicking the ball over his head before volleying it into the corner of the net: that was a piece of magic that will be admired as long as football is played.

We belonged to an exclusive little club, Frank and I - and I don’t mean Stringfellows. We were part of a unique cohort in the Seventies that have become known subsequently as The Mavericks. There was Stan Bowles, Charlie George, Alan Hudson, Tony Currie, Frank, me and at the centre of it, George Best. We all shared a common perspective: football was there to be enjoyed, both for the player and the fan. Our main priority when we went out on the pitch was to entertain, to have fun.

The problem was, we were non-conformists at a time when the game was run at the top by those who valued conformity. Alf Ramsey and then Don Revie as England managers had a right distrust of those who thought outside their strict guidelines. The fact is, they were suspicious of flair.

It was madness Frank didn’t play more for his country. He was always treated with such suspicion by England management. Which wasn’t altogether fair. I remember I was with him in one get together Revie organised. And he wouldn’t go out with us that evening. He was trying to create a good

In one way Frank was lucky that he was born at a time when he could have fun, enjoy himself, relax away from the game. If there had been camera phones around when Frank was out on the town, he would be permanently banned from playing. I once read an interview with him when he had just moved clubs - to Bolton I think - and he said he was knuckling down, getting self-disciplined; instead of going out seven nights a week, he said, he was going to cut it down to just the six. And I remember thinking at the time: come on Frank, you and I both know come next week you’ll be out on the seventh night too.

But in another way he was unlucky with when he was born. Because were he around now, Frank would have earned himself 100 England caps not the eight he got. Eight: it is an absolute insult. He really was that good. I read that when he was a kid growing up in Halifax he played on the street with his two older brothers who used to kick lumps out of him. In order to avoid their attacks, he learned how to beat them with skill. And boy was he skilful. He was big, good in the air, a real presence. But he could pass, he could dribble, his movement off the ball was so intelligent. Plus he scored big goals at times that mattered. His club managers realised they could rely on him to deliver the goods. That was when they could prise him off the dancefloor.

Mind, he did have a reputation, Frank. There was a time when every night club I went into he seemed already to be there, bootlace tie, hair slicked back, another girl on his arm. But he was always up for a chat about football. You could talk to him about the game for hours.

After I’d retired and was living in Florida, he signed for the Tampa Bay Rowdies. There was a big headline in the local paper: Worthington Arrives Today. They gave the time his flight was due in and encouraged all the fans to go and greet him. Well, anyone turning up got quite a sight. When he got off the plane, looking like he'd enjoyed a long flight, he was carrying a bag of duty free, tripped down the steps, and a bottle of scotch smashed on the runway. Welcome Frank.

The last time I saw him was about three years ago when I did an event with him and Gary Lineker. He did his best to hide it, but you could see there was a confusion in his eyes, the effect of dementia. He was still in good spirits, but mentally he was disappearing before your eyes. It was so sad to see. Because I tell you what, there weren’t many who, when they had a ball at their feet, could lift the soul like Frank Worthington.



One of football's great entertainers by Simon Briggs

When Frank Worthington arrived at Heathrow Airport in June 1972, ready for an England Under-23 tour of Eastern Europe, he wore high-heeled cowboy boots, a red silk shirt, black slacks and a lime velvet jacket.

Alf Ramsey, England’s understated manager, turned white. “Oh s---,” he exclaimed. “What have I f---ing done?”

This was classic Worthington, the maverick’s maverick who has died at the age of 72 following a long illness. Off the field, he dressed like a peacock; on it, he played to the gallery. His personal level of performance, he once told an interviewer, “is more important to me than the team winning”.

His loss will be sadly mourned, and yet there will also be joy in reliving some of the game’s most outrageous anecdotes. Take the occasion in 1972 when Worthington nearly signed for Liverpool for what would then have been a club-record fee of £150,000. Unfortunately, there was a problem at the medical: his blood pressure was too high.

According to Worthington’s racy autobiography, One Hump Or Two, the Liverpool manager Bill Shankly was still keen and told him to head for Majorca for a holiday. He was dating Miss Great Britain at the time, but he used the break to pick up a series of international admirers including a Swedish mother-and-daughter combination. By the time he returned to Liverpool for a retest, his blood pressure was even higher.

You can see why Worthington’s attitude failed to impress Ramsey or his successor Don Revie, a pair of pragmatic England managers. He made only eight international appearances, even though the Manchester City legend Mike Summerbee once called him “the only player you could have taken from the league to Italy without him looking out of place”.

His best chances came in 1974, when Joe Mercer spent a month as caretaker manager in the wake of Ramsey’s departure. Worthington scored on his second start, a 2-2 draw against Argentina at Wembley, by producing an ingenious and instinctive finish with his back to goal. A second goal, rifled home from a Kevin Keegan flick-on, beat Bulgaria 1-0 in Sofia 10 days later. “Joe picked entertaining players,” said Keegan at the time. “The kind the fans might have selected.”

Worthington loved football for its own sake – a passion which kept him going through an extraordinary 22 seasons in the Football League. Born in Halifax, his last gig was as player-coach for Halifax Town, aged 44. And he continued to turn out for their reserves even after that. In later life, when asked who he had played for, he liked to reply “I had 11 clubs – or 12 if you count Stringfellows.”

Worthington was a supremely gifted player who scored one of the greatest juggling goals ever seen – the 1979 volley for Bolton Wanderers against Ipswich Town, which as you can see in the below YouTube clip began with four delicate keepy-uppy touches, outwitting the onrushing defensive line, before he buried the ball in the right-hand corner. Even the referee clapped.

But he will also be remembered as a dedicated playboy who loved to impersonate Elvis – the explanation for his flamboyant sideburns – and who took pride in his extensive list of conquests. “George Best had a reputation with the ladies,” he wrote in his autobiography, “but I had more than my fair share.”

Worthington’s Football League career lasted from 1966 to 1987, featuring 266 goals from his 882 appearances. His longest-lasting association was with Leicester City, whom he represented more than 200 times, while he also appeared for Birmingham City, Leeds United, Southampton and Sunderland.

He was a hero to Gary Lineker when the pair overlapped for six months at Filbert Street, though not exactly a mentor. “I kept a suitably awed distance,” Lineker has admitted, “in keeping with his status as a superstar and my status as, basically, the dressing-room floor cleaner.”

That memory dates from Worthington’s iconic 1970s heyday. It was the decade when, as the author Rob Steen put it, “flair wore flares”. He was part of a group of half-a-dozen freaky footballers who looked like they had strayed off the set of Top of the Pops. Indeed, he admitted to hankering after a musical career himself.

“In the Seventies, football became part of the pop industry,” Worthington once said. “I used to go to a lot of pop concerts and got to meet a lot of the stars. There is still a common bond, an affinity with one another, that stems from back then, because footballers are frustrated pop stars and the pop stars are all frustrated footballers.”

As with the other members of the mavericks’ group – Alan Hudson, Tony Currie, Rodney Marsh, Charlie George, Stan Bowles – Worthington’s propensity for showboating sometimes attracted flak from the stands. “W---y-w---y-w---y-w---y-Worthington!” they would shout. For more adventurous managers, though, the creativity in his silky left foot outweighed any perceived lack of discipline. When he signed for Southampton in 1983, Lawrie McMenemy told him “I don’t care how you train, just so long as you perform for me on a Saturday.”

On the marriage front, Worthington was more frugal than one might have expected from such a fast liver. His first wife, Brigitta, was a former Miss Sweden who came over after to Britain after she became pregnant during what he called “a holiday romance”. They had a son and a daughter together: Frank Junior and Kim Malou.

After the divorce came through in 1977, his expensive lifestyle – which Steen’s excellent book The Mavericks described as “shopping sprees on the King’s Road and a rapid turnover of sports cars” – had to be toned down a little. Within a few years, he had found his second wife Carole Dwyer, Page Three model and daughter of Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Noel Dwyer.

This relationship endured, as will Worthington’s memory as one of the most gifted and charismatic players of his day. The sort of player who makes sport worthwhile.
Absolutely spot on. If you look up all those players records It's pitiful the number of international caps they accrued between them. Meanwhile Ramsay, Revie & even Greenwood continued to pick workhorses. England qualified for **** all the entire decade on the back of it. When they did go for the skill element later in the decade it tended to be Trevor Brooking. But Brooking was more of a precise technician than a flair player. The 74 & 78 World Cups would have been lit up by the player's on that list. Missed opportunity.
 

give_us_a_wave

Well-Known Member
Scholes, Hoddle, Le Tissier....They kept the trend up in the 90's too.
It's a disease.

I remember walking across Braunstone Park a few years ago. Stopped to watch a youth game (U15s/16s at a guess) One of the wingers skipped a tackle, cut inside then outside the full back, left him in knots. Powered to the touchline, looked up, drew the CB on that side to him then nutmegged him & crossed into the box. Midfielder arriving late in a Lampardesque fashion hit it firmly & the keeper fingertipped it over the bar on the stretch. Lovely piece of football all round.

The lad's coach yelled at him from the touchline "stop twatting about & get the ****ing ball in early"

If he'd got the ball in early there were 5 defenders in the box to 3 attackers. The lad was waiting for the midfield to arrive. So, intelligent as well as skillful. Just been told he's an idiot.

I've seen that sort of shit aimed at creative & talented people (especially young ones) all my life & not just in football. It's crippled this country & will continue to do so, both on the football pitch & in the wider world.
 

Lako42

Well-Known Member
No talent on here that's for sure.
 

Ike O'Noclassed

Well-Known Member
It's a disease.

I remember walking across Braunstone Park a few years ago. Stopped to watch a youth game (U15s/16s at a guess) One of the wingers skipped a tackle, cut inside then outside the full back, left him in knots. Powered to the touchline, looked up, drew the CB on that side to him then nutmegged him & crossed into the box. Midfielder arriving late in a Lampardesque fashion hit it firmly & the keeper fingertipped it over the bar on the stretch. Lovely piece of football all round.

The lad's coach yelled at him from the touchline "stop twatting about & get the ****ing ball in early"

If he'd got the ball in early there were 5 defenders in the box to 3 attackers. The lad was waiting for the midfield to arrive. So, intelligent as well as skillful. Just been told he's an idiot.

I've seen that sort of shit aimed at creative & talented people (especially young ones) all my life & not just in football. It's crippled this country & will continue to do so, both on the football pitch & in the wider world.

Reminds me of a conversation I had with a guy who was scouting fhe kiddies' leagues for Forest during the Clough era, telling me his brief was to *spot the ones who could run really fast", the logic being that everything else could be taught.
 

give_us_a_wave

Well-Known Member
Reminds me of a conversation I had with a guy who was scouting fhe kiddies' leagues for Forest during the Clough era, telling me his brief was to *spot the ones who could run really fast", the logic being that everything else could be taught.
Natural talent is looked on with suspicion here. Grafters are universally praised. That goes the same for football pitches, workplaces & even telly talent shows.

"Yeah he's brilliant...but that other bloke is a real trier. Give it to him" It's like if you haven't grafted your balls off you've cheated somehow.

I think it was Shearer who said some years back that at youth level here we try to produce athletes rather than footballers.
 
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