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Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 11:48 GMT
Former England star Astle dies
Jeff Astle (left) lifts the FA Cup with team-mate Bobby Hope
Astle scored 16 goals in the 1968 FA Cup competition
Former West Bromwich Albion and England striker Jeff Astle has died aged 59.

He was taken to the Queen's Hospital, Burton-on-Trent, after collapsing suddenly at his daughter's home on Saturday.

The cause of death is not yet known but there are no suspicious circumstances, said a Staffordshire Police spokeswoman.

Astle joined Albion from Notts County in 1964.

I don't think it is cheap to say he was a legend at West Brom
West Brom chief executive John Wile

He soon became one of the club's greatest players during his career at The Hawthorns, scoring 137 goals in 292 league appearances.

Astle scored a goal in every Cup game during Albion's FA Cup-winning season of 1968.

And he netted the only goal of the game in extra time to defeat Everton in the final of the competition.

England career

Astle won his first England international call-up in 1969 and was picked for the 1970 World Cup squad in Mexico.

But his name will live on as the striker who missed a chance to equalise against Brazil when he looked odds-on to score. Brazil won 1-0 and went on to lift the World Cup.

He played five times for England in all but did not score.

West Brom chief executive and Astle's former team-mate John Wile described the striker as a West Brom legend.

"I have never seen anyone head the ball like it. He was magnificent," said Wile.

"He was a master of his art. He was also pretty useful on the ground and had a superb strike rate.

"I don't think it is cheap to say he was a legend at West Brom. He was a fantastic player and a great guy. He will be sorely missed. Obviously our thoughts are with his family."

Jeff Astle
Astle won five England caps
Wile also reflected on Astle's up-beat personality.

"Jeff was a very funny bloke," Wile told Radio Five Live. "It was a laugh a minute in the dressing room and he was good for the dressing room in that respect.

"The nice thing about Jeff was that he was a very humble fellow. After he finished playing, he didn't think football owed him a living. He got on with his life and made a new life."

BBC Radio Five Live presenter Adrian Chiles, a lifelong West Bromwich Albion fan, was shocked at the news.

He told the station: "He was what they call a natural goalscorer.

"In front of goal, he was one of those players who, nine times out of 10, it would be in the back of the net.

"For every West Bromwich Albion supporter in the world, the world stands still the moment we hear he's gone.

Astle will also be remembered for his guest appearances on Frank Skinner and David Baddiel's Fantasy Football League TV programme.

At the end of each show Astle, dressed in various guises, would sing as the credits rolled.

West Bromwich Albion chief executive John Wile
"Jeff Astle is a West Brom legend"

Send your tributes to WBA legend Jeff Astle Super striker
Your tributes to West Brom legend Jeff Astle

BBC Sport Online profiles the career of former West Brom and England striker Jeff Astle, who has died aged 59
Baggies hail The King

See also:

20 Jan 02 |  Football
Baggies mourn The King
20 Jan 02 |  Leeds United
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20 Jan 02 |  Man Utd
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