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Football: Blues hero dies after illness.

KEN Leek, whose place in St Andrew's folklore was guaranteed when he scored twice in the 1963 League Cup final victory over Villa, has died after a short illness aged 72.

Born in Ynys-y-bwl near Pontypridd, the same village as Blues' right-half Don Dearson a generation earlier, Leek went to a rugby school and did not play football until he was 14.

He started to play for the local youth club and was spotted playing for Ynys-y-bwl Boys FC in 1951 by Northampton who signed him as a professional in 1952.

Six years later after 26 goals in 71 league games he moved to Leicester City where he added 34 goals to his tally in 93 league outings.

It was at Filbert Street where he suffered one of the biggest disappointments of his career.

After scoring in every round of the Foxes' run to the FA Cup final in 1961 the utility forward was dropped on the morning of the game and had to watch his side go down 2-0 to double chasing Spurs.

That summer he went to Newcastle United but failed to settle and in November 1961 he was signed by Blues where he reached his playing peak, hitting 30 goals in a season for the only time in his career in 1962-63. Three years later he returned to Northampton, and after a year moved to Bradford City.

Leek, who lived in Northampton, played for Rhyl Town and Ton Pentre before finally hanging up his boots in 1970.

In that time he had earned 13 Welsh caps and an Under-23 cap and could look back on a career record of 147 goals from 397 league appearances, a goal every 2.7 games. He leaves a wife, Janet, two daughters and four grandchildren.

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KEN LEEK.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Nov 20, 2007
Words:298
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