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SERVICES 
Wednesday, 30 January, 2002, 14:38 GMT
Fond farewell for football hero
Jeff Astle's funeral in Derbyshire
An overflow crowd listened to the service
Hundreds of football fans have attended the funeral of former West Bromwich Albion star Jeff Astle, known as "The King", in Derbyshire on Wednesday.

Mr Astle, 59, who died on 19 January after collapsing at his daughter's home, was best remembered for scoring the winning goal in the 1968 FA Cup Final.

The overflow crowd of friends and supporters listened to the service on loudspeakers outside St Peter's Church in his home village of Netherseal.

After his death earlier this month, his family issued an open invitation to fans to attend the funeral.

Golden chance

Mr Astle, originally from Eastwood in Nottinghamshire, became a star with West Bromwich Albion in the 1960s.

He played in West Bromwich Albion's League Cup winning team in 1966 and scored in the final the following year, when Albion lost 3-2 to Queen's Park Rangers.

Jeff Astle
Jeff starred for West Brom for 10 years

The high point of his career came when he scored the only goal in his club's 1-0 FA Cup victory over Everton in 1968.

In 1969, he won his first England cap and was picked for England's 1970 World Cup squad in Mexico, where he missed a golden chance of an equaliser against Brazil.

He scored 174 goals in 359 appearances for the Baggies from 1964 to 1974.

Mr Astle made his debut at Leicester in September 1964 after signing for the club from Notts County for 25,000.

John Evans, West Brom club secretary, said on Wednesday: "He was a successful and talented footballer and a wonderful man who was full of humour and able to make jokes at his own expense.

"He will be remembered as a great goal scorer and was truly 'The King' for the West Brom supporters," Mr Evans said.

The football star went on to become a cult comedy act on the Fantasy Football TV show.

The show's presenters, Frank Skinner and David Baddiel, as well as former players from West Brom, Notts County and Weymouth, were at the funeral.

The service, taken by the rector of St Peter's, the Reverend David Adams, was being followed by a private cremation.


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