Tribute to former Preston North End striker Frank Worthington who has died at the age of 72

Frank Worthington, who was in Preston North End's 1986/87 promotion-winning squad, has died at the age of 72.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 11:14 am

The striker was a born entertainer, winning eight England caps and playing for more than 20 clubs in a long career which started at Huddersfield Town in 1966.

North End supporters got to see Worthington's skills close up when he joined the club in February 1987.

He was brought in by John McGrath to add more experience and help push PNE towards promotion from the Fourth Division.

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Worthington made his Lilywhites debut in a 2-0 win at Torquay and netted his first goal for the goal in the following match - a 3-2 win at Hereford.

It was the game after - his home debut - which the PNE faithful will most remember Worthington.

North End drew 2-2 with Wolves that day and he scored a stunning chip in front of the Kop at Deepdale.

Worthington was to find the net again a few weeks later, coming off the bench to score in a 3-0 win over Stockport County.

Frank Worthington in action for Preston North End against Hartlepool in May 1987

He stayed with Preston until October 1987, moving on to join Stockport, with Chorley being one of the clubs he went on to play for.

Born in Halifax, Worthington kicked-off his career at Huddersfield and scored 71 goals in 141 appearances for the Terriers.

From there he joined Leicester where he netted 72 times in 210 league appearances.

Worthington spent two years at Bolton, scoring a famous goal against Ipswich when he got the ball with his back to goal chipped it over his shoulder, turned and volleyed home.

Frank Worthington scores for PNE against Wolves in February 1987

It came in the days when only limited games were shown on television and fortunately the Granada TV cameras were there to capture the moments for their Sunday afternoon highlights show.

Worthington played for Birmingham, Leeds, Sunderland, Southampton and Brighton, also having spells in the United States.

He took on the role of player/manager at Tranmere Rovers and it was after leaving Prenton Park that he joined North End.

Once described by former Huddersfield and Bolton manager Ian Greaves as "the working man's George Best", Worthington played in 22 consecutive Football League seasons from 1966-7, scoring 266 goals in 882 appearances in all competitions.

In 14 of those campaigns he played in the top division, notching 150 goals in 466 matches, and won the Golden Boot award in 1978/79 as the leading scorer ahead of Kenny Dalglish and Frank Stapleton.

Worthington died in hospital in Huddersfield on Monday night after a long illness.

His wife Carol said: "Frank brought joy to so many people throughout his career and in his private life.

"He will be greatly missed by everyone who loved him so much."

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