Foxes A to Z, Steve Whitworth, England international with Charity Shield special

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An immaculately cool and perceptive right-back, perfectly suited in his adventurious adaptability to a game in which tactical developments meant he was only rarely in direct oppostion to an orthodox winger, Steve won his team spurs as an early season stand-in for Peter Rodrigues in Frank O’Farrel’s promotion bound side, and missed only three games throughout the entire span of Jimmy Bloomfield’s subsequent managerial reign.

His consistently classy performance (one run of 198 consecutive appearances at the time creating a club record) made international selection look inevitable, and Steve duty won seven full caps to ad to six at Under-23 level and complete his English representative set, following numerous schools and youth selections. A temporary loss of form during his testimonial season preceded Steve’s ¬£ 120 000 move to Roker Park and Sunderland.

He continued to display his pace and tackling ability at League level for another six years, when also finally laying to rest the idiosyncratic jinx that may have earned him one of hte most unwanted records in football. For while Steve’s close range goal against Liverpool had won for City the FA Charity Shield in 1971, and he had also got on the scoresheet for England Under 23’s, he had never registered a strike in League or Cup football until converting a penalty for Mansfield against Hereford in March 1985. This happend in his 570th League game, and over fourteen and a half year after his debut. The irony here is that it was an overlapping auxiliary attacker that Steve had first made his name.

He was in promoted sides at Leicester and Sunderland, and experienced relegation with boht City and Bolton, then, at Barnet, was player/coach in the near-miss attempt to become the first club to gain automatic elevation from the Vauxhall Conference to the Fourth Division.

Steve revealed in an interview with local newspaper Mercury that one of his oddest moments in football appeared in April 1979, when he and his team mate Bob Lee, both Leicester locals and long term players with Leicester City, turned out for Sunderland at Filbert Street, winning, 2-1. Steve had just left Leicester City after 10 years, being named captain of the opposite side, and Lee scoring both goals. It was like coming home and as Steve said, must have been strange for fans to experience that two of their own destroyed the afternoon.

FACTFILE:

  • Full Name: Stephen Whitworth
  • Position: Right-Back
  • Date of Birth: 20.03.1952
  • Birthplace: Coalville, Leicestershire
  • Nation: England
    • Full Caps: 7, Debut: 1975 v. W Germany
    • U.23 Caps: 6, Debut: 1972 v. Switzerland
  • Major League Career:
    • 1969-79, Leicester City (353/0)
    • 1979-81, Sunderland (83/0)
    • 1981-83, Bolton Wanderers (67/0)
    • 1983-85, Mansfield Town (80/20)

Links: Pinterest, Wikipedia

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