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Sunday, 20 January, 2002, 13:32 GMT
Baggies mourn The King
From left to right: Francis Lee, Jeff Astle and Sir Alf Ramsey at an England training camp in 1969
Astle (centre) featured in the 1970 World Cup squad
BBC Sport Online's Neil Hall reviews the career of former West Brom and England striker Jeff Astle, who has died aged 59.

It is one of football's sad ironies that Jeff Astle, widely regarded as a natural goalscorer, may end up being best remembered for a chance he missed.

With England trailing 1-0 against Brazil at the 1970 World Cup, Astle missed his country's best chance for an equaliser as they slipped to defeat.

But this miss was nothing if not uncharacteristic.

For his club side West Bromwich Albion, Astle will be remembered as "The King" due to his formidable goalscoring record.

Astle joined the Baggies from Notts County in 1964 for just 25,000.

He went on to score 174 goals in 361 senior appearances for the club.

Astle in action in the 1968 FA Cup final
Astle was the hero in the 1968 FA Cup final
The most memorable of which came in Albion's 1968 FA Cup final win over Everton.

With the game in extra-time, Astle unleashed a ferocious left foot shot from 20-yards to hand the underdogs a 1-0 victory.

The goal not only secured his status as a West Brom great, but also guaranteed him a place in FA Cup folklore as he became the first player to have scored in every round of the competition in one season.

Two years later, the striker bagged himself another milestone when he became the first player to have scored in both League and FA Cup finals.

Although this time the Baggies were defeated by Manchester City.

There was more to his game than just goalscoring though, as Astle is ranked as one of the greatest header's of a ball there has ever been.

The year 1970 was probably the pinnacle of his career, and it was a significant achievement to be in England's squad for the World Cup that year.

Although England were not able to retain their title, the squad for that tournament is considered by many pundits to be better than that which emerged victorious in 1966.

In total, Astle played five times for England without scoring a goal.

Comedian Frank Skinner kneels to kiss the feet of West Brom great Jeff Astle
Frank Skinner shows his reverence for Astle
Unfortunately, after 1970 Astle's career was dogged by injury and problems with his knees meant he was forced to end his stint at the Hawthorns in 1974.

Coming from an era when a footballer's yearly income would not match the weekly wage of today's stars, Astle was forced to pursue an alternative career.

He successfully ran a window cleaning business, before coming back into the public eye in the 1990's with a tongue-in-cheek singing slot on the Fantasy Football television programme.

And just to set the record straight on that 1970 World Cup miss, it was to prove meaningless.

England went out in the quarter-finals after losing 3-2 to West Germany, while Brazil went on to win the title for a record third time.

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 ON THIS STORY
West Bromwich Albion chief executive John Wile
"Jeff Astle is a West Brom legend"
West Brom supporter Frank Skinner
"He was a proper old fashioned showman"
See also:

20 Jan 02 |  Football
Former England star Astle dies
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