LONDON - The World Cup winner, ex-England captain and Blackpool great Jimmy Armfield has died at the age of 82.
Armfield, who played 627 matches in 17 years for his only club and was part of Sir Alf Ramsey’s victorious squad in 1966, was diagnosed with cancer for a second time last year.
“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,” said a statement from the club.
“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.”
Armfield made his England debut against Brazil in the Maracaña in May 1959 and went on to win 43 caps. He captained the side on 15 occasions, played in all four of England’s games and the 1962 World Cup in Chile and might have been part of the first-choice XI at the 1966 tournament but for injury.
He had stints in management with Bolton and Leeds, taking the latter to the European Cup final in 1974-75, before moving into broadcasting where he spent more than 30 years working for the BBC.
Armfield, who was awarded a CBE in 2009 for services to the Lancashire community, was inducted into Blackpool’s Hall of Fame in 2006 and Bloomfield Road’s newly-constructed South Stand was named in his honour in 2010 with a statue commissioned by the Blackpool Supporters’ Association erected outside the ground the following year.
In a statement to the Blackpool Gazette Armfield’s family said: “After a long and courageous battle, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and father-in-law Jimmy Armfield, has passed away peacefully surrounded by his immediate family.
“At this time we are still in shock as we begin the grieving process. We know Jimmy was a public figure, but the family respectfully ask for privacy at this time.
“We have many wonderful messages of love and support, for which we are grateful, and moved by all the kind words.
“We would also like to thank all the magnificent and dedicated NHS staff who have kept Jimmy, and the family, as well as possible over the ten years of his illness.
“During the last few days Trinity Hospice in Blackpool made a big difference to Jimmy as he slipped away, pain free at last.
“Jimmy had two great loves, first and foremost was his family, to which he was devoted and loved dearly. The other was football, especially Blackpool, England and his colleagues at the PFA.
“Once again, the family extends its thanks as we try to come to terms in a world without Jimmy.”