Blackpool Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of its record appearance holder and Vice-President Jimmy Armfield at the age of 82.
A one-club man, Jimmy represented Blackpool with immense distinction as a player for 17 years, turning out in tangerine and white on 627 occasions.
He captained The Seasiders for more than 10 of those years and was also capped 43 times for England, with 15 of those international appearances seeing him lead his country as skipper.
Born in Denton, Jimmy moved to Blackpool with his family at an early age and was spotted playing in a practice match by then-manager Joe Smith. He impressed on the left wing and scored all the goals in a 4-1 victory.
Despite that, it was as a right-back where he made his name. Widely regarded as the first overlapping full-back, he made his Blackpool debut against Portsmouth in 1954 and spent many years playing behind another club legend and England great, Sir Stanley Matthews.
Voted Young Player of the Year in 1959, Jimmy was heralded as the best right-back in the world following the 1962 World Cup in Chile, and narrowly missed out on the FWA Player of the Year Award to his good friend and England team-mate Sir Bobby Charlton in 1966.
That same year, he was one of two Blackpool players - Alan Ball being the other - to be named in England’s 1966 World Cup winning squad, yet missed out on an appearance at the tournament due to injury. He received a winners’ medal from FIFA 43 years later.
A year after leading Blackpool back to Division One, his final game for the club came against Manchester United in 1971, and was followed by stints in management with Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United.
While in charge of Bolton, he steered the club to the old Second Division as Third Division champions, prior to replacing Brian Clough at Elland Road and taking Leeds to the European Cup final in 1975.
Jimmy was made a freeman of Blackpool in 2003 and later awarded an Outstanding Contribution honour at The Football League Awards in 2008, as well as a PFA Merit Award. He was also named a CBE on the New Year’s Honours List in December 2009 for his services to the Lancashire community.
Inducted into Blackpool’s Hall of Fame in 2006, the new South Stand constructed at Bloomfield Road was named in his honour in 2010, with a statue commissioned by the Blackpool Supporters’ Association erected a year later.
A popular voice and personality, as well as footballer, Jimmy also took to the airwaves for BBC Radio 5 Live and worked for the BBC for more than 30 years, providing expert analysis and insight as a summariser.
Our heartfelt condolences go out to Jimmy’s wife Anne, his two sons, Duncan and John, and the rest of the Armfield family at this time.
The club will make further announcements in the coming days of how it plans to pay tribute to Jimmy.