FORMER England striker Frank Worthington was a legend for strutting his stuff at clubs across the land and satisfying adoring fans with his keepy-uppy.
The question always lingered, though, how much of a star Frank would have been if he’d reserved those skills for the football pitch.
Ladies man Frank Worthington has died aged 72
The former striker, pictured with George Best and Alex Higgins, was known as ‘the working man’s Best’
For this mercurial talent, who has died at the age of 72, was just as well known for his inexhaustible exploits in the bedroom and on the dancefloor as his prowess in front of goal.
He boasted of sleeping with a different woman every night, bedding a teenager followed by her mother and dating a string of beauties.
They included Miss World Mary Stavin, Miss Barbados Lindy Field, Profumo Affair model Mandy Rice-Davies, his first wife Birgitta who won Miss Sweden and his second spouse Carol Dwyer, who had been a Page 3 Girl.
And when he was asked to name his ‘previous clubs’ he answered: “The Playboy, Tramps and Sandpiper.”
A flamboyant maverick, who sported flowing long hair, a manicured moustache, medallion and John Travolta flares, Frank’s passion for the high life cost him his chance to reach the very top.
A record breaking deal to sign for Liverpool in 1972 fell through because two weeks of sex and partying left him with high blood pressure.
While his England caps ended at just eight after manager Don Revie discovered Frank had ignored a strict curfew by going out drinking and gambling at a casino.
BORN TO PLAY THE BEAUTIFUL GAME
Frank, who played for 24 clubs including Leicester City and Leeds United, also confessed to taking cocaine and nearly drove a car off a cliff in Spain.
Extravagant spending, including buying a Ford Mustang and drinking champagne at breakfast, left him bankrupt when he couldn’t pay the taxman.
Frank played for 24 clubs including Leicester City and Leeds United
But he wouldn’t have changed anything.
Frank said: “Yeah, I was a bit of a rascal. I loved football and the ladies and I was not prepared to give up either. Why should I? I never have regrets. I did all right for myself, thanks very much.”
A naturally gifted attacker, Frank was born to play the beautiful game.
The West Yorkshireman, from the village of Shelf near Bradford, was the son of two football players, with his dad Eric turning out for Halifax Town and mum Alice for the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
He quickly made a big impression at his first club Huddersfield Town, scoring 41 goals in 171 appearances.
Huddersfield were not exactly a glamour club, but that didn’t stop Frank becoming a major attraction.
Shortly after leaving the club in 1972 he boasted: “I was pulling girls every night. Sometimes I’d wonder if they were with me because I was Frank Worthington, the footballer, or if they genuinely fancied me as a bloke.
“But I soon realised this didn’t matter a damn.”
He kept a flat in Leeds so the club did not know about his “nocturnal activities” or that he was “abusing my body” by staying out late.
Frank was a notorious ladies man until he eventually settled down with his second wife Carol Dwyer
The Elvis fan, seen rocking out with TV’s Grumbleweeds, tried to keep his ‘nocturnal activities’ secret
Frank’s ability to juggle the ball on the pitch and go past defenders at will persuaded Liverpool manager Bill Shankly to offer a then £150,000 club record to sign him.
Having put pen to paper, Frank failed two medicals.
There were rumours that he had a sexually transmitted disease, but the player insisted it was blood pressure due to constant carousing.
Before the second medical, Shankly sent Frank off on holiday to relax.
Instead the player seduced a young woman on the aeroplane and went on a two week bender with her.
With Liverpool out of the picture, Frank signed for Leicester City instead, scoring 72 goals in 210 games for the Midlands side.
Ex-Leicester and England star Gary Lineker described him last night as “my boyhood hero” and a “wonderful character”.
In 1973 Frank married his first wife Birgitta, who had already given birth to his son Frank Junior.
Displaying some eye-raising parental priorities he said he wanted to teach Frank Junior “all the tricks” so he could be “the greatest Casanova of all time”.
Frank also had a daughter, Kim-Malou, with Birgitta but parenthood did not slow him down.
LEGENDS of the game, footie experts and celebrity fans paid tribute to Frank on social media.
“Profoundly saddened to hear Frank Worthington has died. He was my boyhood hero when he was at LCFC. A beautiful footballer, maverick and wonderful character who was so kind to this young apprentice.” Gary Lineker
“What a character, and one of the most talented footballers I played with.” Ally McCoist
“What a character & what a player! Very sad news.” Tony Cottee
“A great player, entertainer and character, even at 9 we had to go just to see him play. Rest in peace, Elvis.” Stan Collymore
“A true showman and great footballer but even better bloke.”
“Absolute luxury. RIP Frank Worthington, one of the greats.”
“One of the great entertainers, scorer of one of the greatest ever goals.” Sky Sports’ Gary Taphouse
“What a player, got fans off their seats, a great entertainer.” TalkSport’s Ian Abrahams