Leicester City In 100 Players: Frank Worthington
Worthington signed for Leicester City from Huddersfield Town on 23 August, 1972. The matchday programme for Frank’s home debut described him as ‘an aggressive, powerful striker very much in the traditional centre-forward mould who has just completed a very successful close-season tour with the England Under-23s side’. This rather understated Frank’s ability as a flair player who entertained the crowd with sublime skill in his role as a rampaging striker.
Prior to signing for City, it had looked as though Frank would be signing for Bill Shankly at Liverpool. However, that deal fell through due to Frank’s high blood pressure. Leicester manager Jimmy Bloomfield was therefore able to sign him for £80,000, which was only two thirds of the amount that Liverpool had been prepared to pay. It was to prove a great deal, both for the Club and the player.
A few days later, Frank had a dream debut for his new club. He scored at Old Trafford in a 1-1 draw with Manchester United. In the years which followed, Frank’s performances epitomised the style of play that became associated with Jimmy Bloomfield’s time at Filbert Street. He took centre-stage in a Leicester City side which became one of the most attractive footballing sides in the country. It included such stars as Keith Weller, Lenny Glover, Jon Sammels and Alan Birchenall.
Worthington is remembered fondly by all who watched him at Filbert Street.
He played in every match in his first three years at the Club, only missing a handful of games in his five years at Filbert Street during which he played in nearly 250 games, scoring 78 goals. He was top scorer in 1973/74 with 24 goals in cup and league matches. This form earned him eight England caps and two England goals between May and November 1974. For three of these games, his Foxes team-mates Keith Weller and Peter Shilton were in the same England side.
Bloomfield’s departure from City in 1977, combined with the Club losing some of its best players through age and transfers, meant that eight games into Frank McLintock’s spell as manager in 1977, Frank went to Bolton Wanderers. He later played for over a dozen other clubs in England. He also had spells in the USA and South Africa.
The most successful five years of Frank’s career were spent at City. His skilful and maverick entertaining centre-forward play will live forever in the minds of those fans lucky enough to have seen him.
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