Paying respects to Boro legend Colin Appleton

Scarborough Athletic fans can pay their respects to legend Colin Appleton ahead of his funeral on Wednesday.

The hearse will leave Colin's home at Vicarage Close in Seamer at 11am on Wednesday. It will travel down Pasture Lane and then along Seamer's Main Street.

The family are happy for well wishers to gather on Main Street to pay their respects, close to the Copper Horse.

Please maintain Covid-19 social distancing measures.

Read Steve Adamson's tribute ...

Scarborough is mourning the loss of one of the town’s greatest sporting icons following the death, at the age of 85 of former Boro player and manager Colin Appleton on Monday 31 May.


Colin was born on 7 March 1936, the second of three children to Harry and Edith Appleton, who lived in Newlands Park Cresecent. He attended Gladstone Road and Scalby Secondary Modern Schools, where his skill as a footballer saw him selected for the Scarborough Schools and North Riding County Boys teams. He played in several positions, including as a forward on occasions, but always preferred the left half role, and his ‘football brain’, quick thinking and calm attitude quickly brought him to the attention of local teams.


Aged just 14 he played in the Scarborough & District League for both Old Scarborians and St James, and was then invited to training sessions at Scarborough Football Club by coach Les Heelbeck. Colin turned out for the ‘A’ team in the District League, then quickly progressed to the reserve team in the Yorkshire League, and made his first team debut for Boro as a 15-year old in January 1952. He was also a talented cricketer, and played for the junior team at Scarborough Cricket Club, and in later life turned out for local charity team Leggs XI.


After leaving school he began an apprenticeship as a joiner at Plaxtons Builders, whilst turning out for Boro in the Midland League, but manager Reg Halton recognised that Colin was an outstanding talent, and recommended him to his old club Leicester City. There was also interest from other clubs, but Colin went for trials at Leicester, and eventually signed a professional contract with the Second Division club in March 1954. 


He went to play for Leicester City in the First Division for twelve seasons, captaining the team  for several years, making a total of 333 senior first team appearances, including two FA Cup Finals and two League Cup Finals. He was also selected for the Football League XI and FA XI, and was one of the top players in English football in the early 1960’s, only the remarkable consistency of Ron Flowers, followed by the emergence of Bobby Moore, who both played in the left-half position, prevented Colin from winning an England cap, but he did represent the British Army  during his two-years National Service with the Royal Leicestershire Regiment 


He later moved on to Charlton Athletic, where he was club captain, before starting out in management as player-coach at Third Division Barrow FC. Then in June 1969 he returned  to Scarborough when he was appointed player-coach of his home town club. Along with his two life long friends, Geoff Bowman who was trainer, and Ken Boyes, who Colin brought in as his right hand man, he quickly set about transforming Boro into one of the top non league clubs in the country. 


Three magnificent FA Trophy victories at Wembley, along with numerous other trophy successes and FA Cup giant killing acts, brought great glory to Scarborough during Colin’s reign as manager, spread over two spells. He also managed Hull City (winning promotion in his first season), Swansea City, Exeter City and Bridlington Town, was coach at Grimsby Town, and at the latter end of his career, scouted for various clubs, including Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in a truly glittering footballing career than spanned 40 years.


He also enjoyed coaching local youngsters, and was a skilled joiner and carpenter, and loved to stop and chat to people about football, but despite his great achievements Colin was a private, very humble and modest man. He married Scarborough girl Sheila Bourne at St Mary’s Church on 26 August 1957 and they enjoyed a long and very happy marriage. They had two children, daughter Debbie, and son Leigh, and were then blessed with four grandchildren and five great grandchildren. 


Colin and Sheila lived in their bungalow at Vicarage Close, Seamer for more than 50 years, and looking back on their 63 years together Sheila said of Colin,  “We have had a wonderful life together. It has been a very happy marriage, and I am so grateful that I got to spend my life with such a lovely, caring man. I have been overwhelmed by the number of cards and messages of love and affection for Colin that I have received since he passed away, not just from Scarborough, but from all over the country. Thank you to everyone for your kind words, it means so much to me and my family”.

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