Born in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire,  Jeff Astle turned professional with Notts County when he was 17. His style was that of a classic centre-forward; he was a protégé of Tommy Lawton. In 1964 he signed for West Brom for a fee of £25,000. He scored 174 goals in 361 games for the Baggies, including the only goal in the final of the 1967–68 FA Cup, in which he completed the feat of scoring in every round of the competition.

Two years later, Astle scored in Albion's 2–1 defeat by Manchester City in the League Cup final, becoming the first player to score in the finals of both of the major English cup competitions at Wembley. He had already scored in the first leg of the 1966 League Cup Final four years previously, but that was at West Ham United's Upton Park.

At the height of Astle's Albion career, the words "ASTLE IS THE KING" appeared in large white letters on the brickwork of Primrose Bridge, which carries Cradley Road over a canal in Netherton, in the heart of the Black Country. The bridge quickly became known locally as "the Astle Bridge". When the council removed the letters, they re-appeared a few days later.

In 1969–1970 Astle was the leading scorer in Division One with 25 goals.[2] In 1970, he was called up to the England squad for the World Cup finals tournament in Mexico. He won the fourth of his five caps, as a substitute, when England were a goal down against eventual champions Brazil.

In subsequent years his fitness deteriorated through repeated injuries, and in 1974 he left Albion to join the South African club Hellenic. His final bow came with a brief spell at the English non-league side Dunstable Town, where he teamed up with former Manchester United star George Best.

On 19 January 2002, Astle choked to death at his daughter's home aged 59. The cause of death was a degenerative brain disease that had first become apparent as much as five years earlier. He had been described as an exceptional header of the ball, and the coroner found that the repeated minor traumas had been the cause of his death, as the leather footballs used in Astle's playing days were considerably heavier than the plastic ones used later, especially when wet.

The King

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  • Handmade artwork printed in high resolution on premium white art paper. Prints are unframed.
    All prints come numbered and signed by the artist, Bernard Kelly.

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