Tribute to a legend

Last updated : 24 January 2002 By Gary Broughton
Astle's goal sealed 1968 Cup triumph
The £25,000 which the Baggies forked out for him back in 1964 proved to be one of the shrewdest pieces of business ever conducted by the club, as he provided ten years of fantastic and fruitful service.

He arrived from Notts. County, and was to score 174 goals during his 361 first team appearances for the club, an excellent strike rate over such a prolonged period.

His finest hour on the pitch inevitably came in the 1968 Cup Final. It was extra-time at Wembley against Everton with the game still scoreless and delicately poised. Astle smashed a brilliant 20-yard left foot shot past the Toffees keeper and won the cup for the underdogs.

That season's cup also set a first for Astle, as he became the first player from a Midlands based team to have scored in every round of the F.A. Cup during one season's campaign.

His finest hour off the pitch of course, was his re-emergence to a new set of fans of the football show 'Fantasy Football League'. Astle had always been the hero of main presenter Frank Skinner - a lifelong Baggies fan of course - and appeared at the end of each show in a variety of costumes, singing a song as badly as possible as the end titles rolled.

Astle won five caps for England during his career, though he was unable to find the net for them. He was part of the 1970 World Cup squad - considered by many pundits to be better than the 1966 winners.

It was around this time though that injury problems took hold, and he began to have persistent problems with his knees, which ultimately led to him leaving his beloved Baggies four years later.

It is indeed a great loss for all Baggies fans, and football fans the world over, to have lost such a footballing great at such a young and ridiculous age. All at WBA MAD and indeed the FootyMAD community pass on their deepest sympathies to Astle's family and all at The Hawthorns.