Former Blackpool boss Ian Holloway says Jimmy Armfield was a ‘pure gentleman’ who he felt ‘privileged’ to have known.
Holloway, who managed the club between 2009 and 2012, built up a strong relationship with Pool’s record appearance holder and shared numerous memories with him along the way.
“Jimmy was just a wonderful, wonderful man,” Holloway told the club’s official website. “There aren’t many people I know who had a statue made of them when they were still alive. How appropriate is that now? No Blackpool or England supporter will ever forget him.
“The relationship he had with his wife, Anne, was remarkable and Kim and I just want to say that we’re so sorry but very proud and privileged to have known him. He was a pure gentleman.
“To have managed Blackpool, had some of the days that we had and to have met Jim are things I will never forget all my life. My dad’s words to me were, ‘I hope you like football because you’ll meet some wonderful people’, and that was absolutely true. Jim was one of the best I’ve ever met.”
It was Holloway who managed Blackpool when the Armfield Stand officially opened at Bloomfield Road, with the first game seeing a certain Seamus Coleman debut in the position Jimmy made famous.
“I think Seamus played the way Jimmy did. Jimmy was one of the first attacking full-backs and it was Seamus who helped get us up. He was like another winger, especially when you think of the game at Scunthorpe away.
“But Jimmy played for one club all his life. Manchester United were rumoured to have wanted him but he stayed loyal, and you don’t really get that nowadays. There was only one Jim and I know Blackpool will be really proud that he was their Jim.”
Such was Jimmy’s expertise that football wasn’t his only skill, given that playing the church organ was another favourable pastime. However, it’s a moment on the microphone that Holloway particularly recalls with fondness.
“I had the pleasure of sitting with him at some events and he had a great sense of humour. When a fella who was singing shoved the mic under his nose, he took it, walked up and sang almost as good as him. Was there anything that Jimmy Armfield actually couldn’t do? I would honestly say, probably not.”