Colin Grainger: Tributes paid to England player known as 'Singing Winger'

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Colin Grainger scored twice on his England debut against Brazil in 1956Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Colin Grainger scored twice on his England debut against Brazil in 1956

Tributes have been paid to ex-England footballer Colin Grainger - nicknamed the Singing Winger - who has died.

As well as a 16-year playing career, Mr Grainger enjoyed a music career, once performing with The Beatles.

Aged 22, while playing for Sheffield United, he earned the first of seven England caps, scoring twice in a 4-2 win against Brazil at Wembley.

Announcing his death aged 89, the Blades said on Monday he was "a truly wonderful, warm and engaging man".

Image source, Kirklees Council
Image caption,
Colin Grainger pictured in 2020

Born in 1933 in Havercroft, a village just outside Wakefield, Mr Grainger started out with Wrexham in 1950.

His football was interrupted, however, by National Service, before Blades manager Reg Freeman secured his signature.

Mr Grainger also played for Leeds United, playing alongside footballing greats Jack Charlton and Billy Bremner, Sunderland, Port Vale, Doncaster Rovers and Macclesfield Town.

In 2007, Mr Grainger welcomed Brazilian legend Pele to Bramall Lane on his visit to celebrate Sheffield FC's 150th anniversary.

Carers surprised

Following a lengthy spell in hospital, he spent the latter years of his life in the care of Kirklees Council. Two years ago, during the height of the Covid pandemic, carers were stunned to discover his illustrious past.

At the time, Mr Grainger said: "I look forward every day to seeing one of the team coming down the drive, they are always so kind, cheerful and encouraging, I really don't know what I would have done without them."

In a message posted to its website, Sheffield United said: "The sincere condolences of all at Sheffield United go out to the Grainger family at this saddest of times."

Leeds United tweeted: "The thoughts of everyone at #LUFC, are with the friends and family of former player Colin Grainger, following his passing."

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