I’d walk a million miles….

As a 9 year old boy, my first season watching Huddersfield Town was 1969/70. What a season to start with, though the fact that I never saw them lose (Blackburn was a school night and the only home game I missed) rather heightened expectations for the future.

50 years on, I can still recite the usual starting 11 in that wonderful team, aided by the fact that the club only used 15 players in the whole season.

Amongst Town legends like Cherry, Nicholson, McGill, Poole and all the rest, Frank Worthington stood out even further.

The epitome of cool, Frank’s playing style allied flair and skill with the work rate demanded by the late, great Ian Greaves. To a young boy, the glamour attaching to this consummate footballer was dazzling and getting his autograph after every home game became a ritual; he would scrawl across two pages of my little book with a flourish that seemed to last as long as the match itself.

21 times I waited at the old player’s entrance at Leeds Road to get close to these unfathomably glamorous young men and Frank stopped every time. Off the field, you could only marvel at the lifestyle you imagined he had. Even years before celebrity culture, Frank effortlessly exuded star quality but was always approachable and very good to the kids lining up for a brief moment of proximity.

Ineffably glamorous with a luscious mane, Frank stood out wherever he played and thrived in a Town side which combined flair, hardness and endless energy as they swatted their rivals aside to the 2nd Division championship.

I was too young to appreciate the finer points of Frank as a player; rather, it was instinctively obvious that you were seeing something special. As the goal scorer and front man, he demanded attention even though surrounded by many other memorable talents. Cherry’s cultured defending, Nicholson’s experienced leadership, Lawton’s mercurial inside forward play, McGill’s enforcement and all the others’ qualities, framed Frank’s consummate performances.

For it was Frank who added bags of personality to a side rarely, if ever, matched in the decades since. 

I hated it when he turned out for many, many other teams following his inevitable departure from a club which simply couldn’t or wouldn’t match his ambition. The tributes from all of his clubs have flowed today, testament to a long career short on medals but long on fantastic entertainment.

I will always associate Frank Worthington with the very start of my obsession with Huddersfield Town and football. 

RIP Frank.

One thought on “I’d walk a million miles….

  1. Lovely article, Martin, and every word is so true.
    Legend – the word is bandied around far too easily these days, but Frank was the epitome of what the word really means.

    PS I outrank you by just one season (1968/69) 😉


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