Colin Appleton

Colin Appleton: 1936-2021

It is with great sadness that we heard the news that Colin Appleton, the captain of Leicester City’s famous ‘Ice Kings' team, which was a realistic contender for the league and cup double in 1963, died on 31 May, 2021 at the age of 85.
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Scarborough-born Colin began his career with Scarborough Town whose manager, the ex-Leicester City player Reg Halton, recommended him to Leicester City whose manager Norman Bullock signed him in March 1954.

Colin arrived in Leicester as a 17-year-old, signing professional forms when he was 18. As he was continuing his joinery apprenticeship he was only able to train at Filbert Street on Tuesday and Thursday nights. He made his debut against Manchester City in the old First Division on 4 September, 1954.

He finished his apprenticeship when he was 21 and then joined the Army for his National Service. He had to report to the Derbyshire Regiment, but because of his football he was transferred to the Royal Leicesters at Glen Parva Barracks. His Leicester City team-mate Howard Riley was there. Colin was called up on the Monday and on the Thursday he was on the way to Singapore to play for the Army with top players like John White and Bobby Charlton.

Between 1954 and 1966, Colin played 333 times for Leicester City. He played most of his games at left-half, wearing the no.6 shirt with great distinction.  

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Colin Appleton
Colin Appleton

Colin played for the Foxes between 1954 and 1966.

He was a member of the side which won the old Second Division title in 1957, when several Club records were broken. For nine years after that, he played in the old First Division under manager Matt Gillies.

His cup record was also impressive.

He played in the 1961 FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur and captained the side in the 1963 FA Cup Final against Manchester United, when Leicester City was a realistic contender for the league and FA Cup double. That side, the famous ‘Ice Kings’, contained some really great players, such as Gordon Banks, John Sjoberg, Richie Norman, Frank McLintock, Ian King, Howard Riley, Graham Cross, Ken Keyworth, Davie Gibson and Mike Stringfellow.

The following season he led the team to the Club’s first League Cup win, beating Stoke City in the final. A year later he was captain in the League Cup Final again, losing to Chelsea. 

In addition he was selected for the FA Tour of New Zealand and the Far East in 1961, along with players such as Bobby Moore and Tom Finney. Later that year, he was in first Leicester City team to compete competitively in Europe when he played against Glenavon and Atlético Madrid in the old European Cup Winners’ Cup.

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Colin Appleton
Colin Appleton

Colin Appleton receives the 1964 League Cup trophy after a win over Stoke City in the final.

When Colin left Filbert Street in May 1966, he dropped down a division to play for Charlton Athletic.

A thoughtful and reflective man, Colin had a deep interest in coaching, as his meticulously kept handwritten notebooks testify.

He even owned a coaching manual written in Russian because it contained useful diagrams.

This knowledge and interest in coaching stood Colin in good stead both as a captain and, later, as a manager.

He became player-manager first at Third Division Barrow and then at Non-League Scarborough Town, leading his home town club to three FA Trophy  ictories at Wembley. He later coached at Grimsby Town and managed Hull City (twice), Swansea Town and Exeter City.

He then retired to live near to Scarborough.

Colin’s career at Leicester City was one of great distinction and our thoughts are with Colin’s family and friends at this sad time.

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