Frank Worthington

Bolton, booze and a Barbados beauty queen... Worthy had it all

Player Biography
Full name: Frank Stewart Worthington
Date of birth: November 23, 1948
Clubs played for: Huddersfield, Leicester, Bolton, Philadelphia Fury, Birmingham, Mjallby AIF, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Leeds, Sunderland, Southampton, Brighton, Tranmere, Preston, Stockport,
Clubs managed: Tranmere
Frank Worthington, 1971
Pause Play
Frank Worthington, 1971 Frank Worthington, 1971 Jimmy Bloomfield and Frank Worthington, 1972 Frank Worthington, 1972 Frank Worthington, 1972 Frank Worthington and Martin Dobson, November 1973 Sir Alf Ramsey, Frank Worthington and Martin Dobson, November 1973 Frank Worthington, 1976 Frank Worthington, 1976 Frank Worthington, 1976 Frank Worthington, 1977 Frank Worthington, 1978 Frank Worthington, 1978 Frank Worthington, 1980 Frank Worthington, 1980 Frank Worthington Frank Worthington Frank Worthington Frank Worthington and Rick Holden
View thumbnails View full screen Turn captions on/off

Club Career

Frank Worthington was one of the most skillful footballers to grace English football. He began his career with Huddersfield in 1966 and helped the club secure promotion to the First Division in 1969-70. He moved on to Leicester in 1972, where he spent five successful years, before he was reunited with his former Huddersfield boss Ian Greaves at Bolton.

His spectacular goals propelled Bolton into the top-flight, where he won the Golden Boot in 1979 and the hearts of Trotters fans, who warmed to his maverick spirit. Notorious for his love of the high life, his weakness for late nights and fast women took its toll on an itinerant career, which involved a total of 15 clubs over his 23 years as a professional footballer.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1966-72 Huddersfield 171 41
1972-77 Leicester 210 72
1977-79 Bolton 84 35
1979 Philadelphia Fury (loan) 21 10
1979-82 Birmingham 75 29
1980 Mjallby AIF (loan) 10 4
1981 Tampa Bay Rowdies (loan) 26 11
1982 Leeds 32 14
1982-83 Sunderland 19 2
1983-84 Southampton 34 4
1984-85 Brighton 31 7
1985-87 Tranmere 59 21
1987 Preston 23 3
1987-88 Stockport 19 6

International Career

Worthington's extraordinary ability should have earned him more than the eight England caps he won while he was at Leicester but he almost certainly paid the price for his off-field antics and general notoriety.

International Career Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1974-75 England 8 2

Managerial Career

Worthington had a spell as player-manager of Tranmere but, despite enjoying moderate success as a tactician, he did not return to management after his two seasons in charge.

Key Games

England 2-2 Argentina (International friendly, May 22, 1974)

Worthington made only a handful of international appearances and this bruising encounter would prove to be the highlight of his England career. Worthington's goal put England 2-0 up but, in a fraught match, Emlyn Hughes received a black eye and gave away a last-gasp penalty, from which Mario Kempes equalised, as the old antagonisms from 1966 resurfaced.

Blackburn 0-1 Bolton (Second Division, April 29, 1978)

Worthington had agreed to leave Leicester in 1977 to team up again with manager Ian Greaves, for whom he had scored 22 goals to help Huddersfield win the Second Division title eight years earlier. Worthington had returned to form at Burnden Park and with Bolton needing a win at Ewood Park to take them up to the First Division, he duly obliged with the only goal of the game.

Bolton 2-3 Ipswich (First Division, April 21, 1979)

This was Worthington's most successful season personally as he topped the scoring charts with 24 goals to help Bolton narrowly avoid relegation. The one he scored against Ipswich was his most memorable, despite his team suffering a 3-2 defeat. With his back to goal on the edge of the penalty area, Worthington controlled a pass with his knee, played keepy-uppy whilst moving away from goal before flicking it over his head, and those of the advancing defenders, and volleying it on the turn past the goalkeeper. A truly memorable strike.


Club Competition Year
Huddersfield Second Division Championship 1969-70
Bolton Second Division Championship 1977-78

Did You Know...?

In Worthington's autobiography 'One Hump or Two' he lifted the lid on many of his extra-curricular activities. The book is best described with the following quote: "George Best had a reputation with the ladies but I had more than my fair share. There's one story in the book about how I managed to seduce a Swedish teenager and her mother. They were great days."

Worthington came close to signing for Liverpool in 1972 only to fail the medical due to high blood pressure. Bill Shankly gave him a second chance, though, and told him to go on holiday, relax and come back a fortnight later refreshed. Worthington did as he was told, only in his case 'relaxing' involved going to Majorca and spending the two weeks clubbing with a Belgian girl he met on his travels. By the time he returned his blood pressure was even higher than before and the deal was scrapped.

Worthington made 757 league appearances, putting him 13th in the all-time list. The number is all the more impressive considering he was an outfield (and off-field) player. To lend perspective to his feat, Worthington shares the figure with goalkeeper Pat Jennings.

We want your help to grow the archive! Leave your comments about this piece of football history by clicking on the 'Your Memories' tab above. Tell us who or what you'd like to see covered in the archive by emailing

Your comments

From the back pages

England 2-2 Argentina Published: May 23, 1974

International match report

Bolton 0-1 Everton Published: February 16, 1977

League Cup semi-final match report

Bolton 2-1 Spurs Published: January 11, 1978

FA Cup match report

The Season's Top Scorers Published: May 25, 1978

Frank Worthington tops the scoring charts news story

  • Don Revie

    The Don of Elland Road

  • The Gary Lineker collection

    No slouch before moving to TV couch

  • Mark Lawrenson

    Talks a good game, played an even better one

  • Roy Keane

    Genius. Madman. Professional dog-walker

  • George Best

    Goals, girls... where did it all go wrong?

  • Gil Merrick

    Mr Birmingham City: the gentleman goalkeeper and legend

  • Stanley Matthews

    The greatest English player of all-time

  • Jimmy Dickinson

    Gentleman Jim

  • Johnny Haynes

    The Maestro

  • Howard Kendall

    One third of the Holy Trinity

  • Dixie Dean

    Footballer, Gentleman, Evertonian

  • Leighton James

    A better Lollipop man than Ronaldo

  • Jimmy Armfield CBE

    More popular than the Blackpool Tower

  • Trevor Francis

    The £1million pound man worth his weight in goals

  • Dennis Mortimer

    Another Scouser who's lifted the European Cup...