England captain Harry Kane calls Kirklees’ Colin Grainger for a chat

Kirklees resident, and former England footballer, Colin Grainger was all smiles when national team captain Harry Kane video called him to say hello.

Mr Grainger (86) came into the care of Kirklees Council on 9 March 2020, following a lengthy stay in hospital due to complex health issues.

A surprise past

After speaking with him, care staff were shocked when he revealed he used to be a professional footballer.

He went on to tell them that he played for England and club sides Leeds United and Sheffield United, alongside footballing greats such as Bobby Charlton (England) and Billy Bremner (Leeds United).

In fact, he made his England debut against Brazil at Wembley in 1956, aged 22, and scored twice in a 4-2 win, playing in a team which featured football legend Stanley Mathews.

A call from the skipper

When the English Football Association found out they got national team captain Harry Kane on the phone to have a video chat with Colin.

In safe hands

Colin lives alone after his wife sadly recently passed away and he needs the support of Kirklees Council care workers for everyday tasks usually done by his family – who are unable to visit him during the current lockdown period.

Colin told Kane about the care he’s been receiving from Kirklees Council when the pair chatted on 11 May.

Colin told him: “I’m doing well because I’m being looked after by the care workers really well.

“Without them, I don’t know how I would’ve done but we’re almost there now. The care workers are brilliant.

“But I’m missing the family coming most.”


Kane said: “We have to give huge thanks to your care workers and care works all around the UK at the moment. They’re doing an amazing job.”

The pair, who both scored on their England debuts, were all smiles as they chatted about their footballing achievements.

“I was very lucky, but I do remember the goals,” Colin revealed to Kane.

“The first one was my first kick of the match after four minutes and then the second one was about ten minutes from the end, when I got a header in.

“It was brilliant, good memories. I played with Stanley Matthews, Tom Finney, Duncan Edwards, Jimmy Hagan of Sheffield United and Len Shackleton of Sunderland.

“They were great, great players and I’m proud that I played with those people.

“I’ve got some good memories, my favourite memory is my two goals against Brazil, that’s the one.”


Harry Kane said: “When you make your England debut, it’s pretty special. I know that feeling and it doesn’t get much better than that.”


Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “I was amazed when I heard that Colin was in our care. What he’s achieved in life is incredible.

“Life has been tough for many during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly people like Colin who will be missing their family and friends – and watching football of course.

“I’d like to thank our amazing care staff who have been there for Colin during this period. I know Colin is grateful for the support he’s received at a difficult time.

“This is a heart-warming story and highlights the crucial role care workers are playing in being there for those who need us. You make a huge difference, even to people like Colin who has lived such a remarkable life.

“Colin, it is an absolute honour to provide care for you and everyone else that needs it in Kirklees. I’m delighted that you had such a great time speaking with the England captain and thank you to Harry Kane for such a lovely gesture.”

Colin, was known as the ‘Singing Winger’ in his playing days due to a secondary professional career as a recording artist, which saw him perform on the same bill as the Beatles in 1963.

As a footballer Coin played as an outside left and had a 16-year career in the Football League from 1950 to 1966. Other clubs he played for include Sunderland, Port Vale, Doncaster Rovers and Macclesfield Town.

He won seven caps for England, scoring three goals – with the other coming against West Germany in a famous 1-3 away win for England in Berlin.

Kane was calling Colin as part of our Football’s Staying Home series presented by Deliveroo.

Watch the video chat in full.


  • Great story thankyou Colin Grainger and Harry Kane

  • barbararushforth@btinternet.com

    Colin must be so proud of his footballing career. I hope he continues to improve and sees his family soon.

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