Former Wigan Athletic winger passes away

Former Wigan Athletic winger Les Campbell has died aged 84.

Tuesday, 12th November 2019, 3:42 pm
Les Campbell, with the boots he wore on his debut with Latics in 1952

Born in Wigan, Campbell played from a young age for the Wigan Boys’ Club.

After a number of league clubs showed interest in signing him, he joined Latics, who were then in the Lancashire Combination.

Playing part-time enabled him to train as an electrician, and he soon moved on to Preston North End.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Campbell made his North End debut in October 1953 against Wolves at Molineux, in place of Sir Tom Finney.

He was understudy to Finney for much of his time at Deepdale, making 64 league appearances for North End, and had been on standby to play in the 1954 FA Cup final.

In an interview with the Lancashire Post - sister paper of the Wigan Post - in 2013, Campbell looked back on the final, which Preston lost 3-2 against West Bromwich Albion.

Campbell said: “A couple of weeks before the final, Scott Symon whispered in my ear. “He said to me: ‘Look after yourself, Tom’s not fit’.

“Tom was having treatment morning, noon and night to get fit, but he couldn’t get fit.

“But when it came to the day of the final, Tom played and I didn’t.”

After leaving PNE to sign for Blackpool, Campbell was a team-mate of another wing wizard, Sir Stanley Matthews.

Campbell went on to play for Tranmere Rovers, before rejoining his hometown club.

During his second stint with Latics, he helped the club win the Cheshire League title in the 1964/65 season.