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Sixties legend Napier passes away

We were deeply saddened to hear that sixties star, Kit Napier, passed away recently at the age of 75.

Kit is pictured with Reds (front row, centre) in 1964.

Born in Dunblane, the Scot started his career with Blackpool but joined Reds from the Tangerines’ Lancashire neighbours, Preston North End. He signed for Workington in July 1964 making his bow, and scoring, in the pre-season friendlies the following month.

He made his competitive debut on the opening day of the 1964-65 season, scoring in our 4-1 Third Division victory over Port Vale.

Kit, christened Christopher Robin Anthony, would emerge top scorer in his first season with 18 goals including League Cup strikes against Chelsea and Blackburn Rovers and a league hat-trick at Mansfield Town in a 5-3 win.

The following season his form was exceptional and it wasn’t long before the scouts were watching Workington, and Napier in particular, on a regular basis. He scored a hat-trick in Reds’ 6-1 away win over Swansea Town and then, in October 1965, netted four goals on the Monday evening followed by three on the Saturday as Workington crushed Swansea Town (7-0), again, and Exeter City (6-1).

He only missed two games during his time at Borough Park, eventually clocking-up 72 appearances and scoring 31goals in the process.

The inevitable happened in November 1965 when he was transferred to Newcastle United for a fee in the region of £18k.

Kit never made his mark at St. James’ Park and after only eight appearances (no goals) he was transferred to Brighton & Hove Albion where, between 1966 and 1972, he scored 99 goals in 291 appearances becoming one of Albion’s all time greats.

The Napier ‘banner’ at Brighton & Hove Albion’s stadium.

He later signed for Ken Furphy for a second time when he joined Blackburn Rovers, spending two years at Ewood Park before moving to South Africa and finishing his playing career with Durban United.

Our condolences go to Kit’s family and friends at this sad time.

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