Colin Appleton

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Colin Appleton
Personal information
Full nameColin Harry Appleton [1]
Date of birth(1936-03-07)7 March 1936
Place of birth Scarborough, North Riding of Yorkshire, England
Date of death 31 May 2021(2021-05-31) (aged 85)
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Position(s) Wing half, centre half
Youth career
1951–1953 Scarborough
Senior career*
1953–1954 Scarborough
1954–1966 Leicester City 277 (19)
1966–1967 Charlton Athletic 28 (1)
1967–1969 Barrow 43 (1)
1969–1973 Scarborough
Teams managed
1967–1969 Barrow
1969–1973 Scarborough
1975–1981 Scarborough
1982–1984 Hull City
1984 Swansea City
1985–1987 Exeter City
1987–1989 Bridlington Town
1989 Hull City
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Colin Harry Appleton (7 March 1936 – 31 May 2021) was an English footballer and manager. He was captain of the celebrated Leicester side nicknamed the "ice kings" which chased the double in 1962–63 and he also captained the club to their first ever major honour, winning the 1964 League Cup.


He later played for Charlton Athletic and Barrow, before playing for and managing Scarborough. He went on to manage Hull City, Swansea City, Exeter City and Bridlington Town.


Playing career

Leicester City

Appleton began his career as a youngster with his hometown club of Scarborough before joining Leicester City in March 1954, just days after his 18th birthday, after being recommended to manager Norman Bullock by then Scarborough manager and former Leicester player Reg Halton. He made his first team debut just six months later against Manchester City, though he made just five senior appearances over the next two years as he tried to balance his football schedule with his national service.

However, in the 1956–57 season he began to see more first team action, helping Leicester on their to the Second Division title. However, it was not until the appointment of Matt Gillies in November 1958 until Appleton's career at Leicester really began to blossom. Under Gillies, Appleton made the number 6 shirt his own and forged a fearsome half-back line partnership with Frank McLintock and Ian King. [2]

He helped Leicester reach the 1961 FA Cup Final against Tottenham Hotspur, managed by fellow 'Scarborian' Bill Nicholson. The Spurs side also contained Malton-born Terry Dyson. Gillies made him club captain soon after, which saw him captain one of the most celebrated sides in the club's history as Leicester chased the double in 1962–63. Though it would eventually amount to nothing as Leicester eventually collapsed at the end of the league season and ended up finishing in a disappointing 4th position, the club then lost 3–1 to Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

However Appleton did captain Leicester to their first ever major trophy, winning the 1964 League Cup and also scored in the first leg of the 1965 League Cup final, as they reached the competition's final for the second consecutive season, however he could not prevent his team losing to Chelsea, going down 3–2 on aggregate.

He was awarded a testimonial at Leicester in 1964 in recognition of his services to the club and moved on to Charlton Athletic two years later after 12 years with the club. [3]

Post-Leicester City

A season long spell at Charlton, which included a brief reunion with Ian King, was followed by a two-year spell as player-manager of Barrow, before rejoining his hometown team of Scarborough in 1969 as player/manager.

Managerial career

Appleton helped guide the club to victory in the FA Trophy, including scoring the winning goal in the semi-final to see the club reach the final, also being named the club's player of the season in what would turn out to be his final as a player. He was named the club's permanent manager two years later and led them to a further two FA Trophy triumphs. Making his three FA Trophy successes a record at the time.

His success in charge of Scarborough saw Hull City appoint him in 1982 and he led the club to promotion from the Fourth Division in his first season in charge. He then almost guided the club to back-to-back promotions, finishing fourth in the Third Division in his second season in charge, missing out on promotion by a single goal.

Swansea City managed to entice him away from Hull City, though Appleton won just four of his 18 games in charge of the Swans and was sacked after just six months in charge. Appleton then had a two-year spell in charge of Exeter City before a brief and unsuccessful return to Hull City before officially retiring from the game. [2] He had failed to win the respect of his players at Hull, and the 'big characters' at the club joked around at his expense, whilst on the pitch the club slid to bottom of the Second Division. [4]


Appleton died on 31 May 2021, aged 85. [5]


As a player

Leicester City

As a manager


Hull City

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  1. "Colin Appleton". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 26 November 2017.
  2. 1 2 Dave Smith & Paul Taylor (2010). Of Fossils and Foxes. ISBN   978-1-905411-94-8.
  3. Colin Appleton Testimonial Leicester City 1964 Archived 22 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine, retrieved 2 April 2011
  4. Swan, Peter; Collomosse, Andrew (2008), Swanny: Confessions of a Lower-League Legend, John Blake, ISBN   978-1-84454-660-2
  5. Wobschall, Leon (31 May 2021). "Former Hull City manager and Scarborough FC legend Colin Appleton passes away". The Yorkshire Post. Retrieved 2 June 2021.