Colin Appleton

Leicester City In 100 Players: Colin Appleton

This series continues with Colin Appleton, who captained Leicester City in the 1960s during one of the best spells in the Club’s history.
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Colin began his career with Scarborough, whose manager recommended him to the Foxes, who signed him as a 17-year-old in March 1954. 

He became a professional when he was 18, but 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 was soon on the way to Singapore to play for the Army with top players like John White and Bobby Charlton. 

Between 1954 and 1966, Colin Appleton played 333 times for Leicester City. He played most of his games at left-half, wearing the No.6 shirt with great distinction. He was a member of the side which won the old Second Division title in 1957, when several Club records were broken.

For the next nine years, he played in the old First Division under manager Matt Gillies. He featured in the final of the 1961 FA Cup against Tottenham Hotspur and captained the side in the 1963 showpiece against Manchester United, when Leicester City were a realistic contender for the double.

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Colin Appleton
Colin Appleton

Appleton contests the coin toss ahead of the kick-off of the 1963 FA Cup Final.

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 final of the League Cup again, losing to Chelsea. In addition, he was selected for the FA Tour of New Zealand and the Far East in 1961.

Later that year, he captained the first City team to compete competitively in Europe in the old European Cup Winners’ Cup. Colin left Filbert Street in May 1966 to play for Charlton Athletic, before moving to Barrow in 1967. 

A thoughtful and reflective man, Colin had a deep interest in coaching which stood him in good stead both as a captain and later as a manager, at Barrow, Scarborough, Grimsby Town, Hull City, Swansea City and Exeter City. 

Sadly, Colin died in May 2021. A true Club legend, his influential displays as captain and wing-half were vital in making his time at Filbert Street one of the best periods in Leicester City’s history. 

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