Young footballers united to remember the late great Jimmy Armfield on the 48th anniversary of his final match for Blackpool.
Held at the South Shore school named after him, the first Jimmy Armfield Memorial Tournament was won by Anchorsholme Academy, with the team presented with their trophy by Jimmy’s
He said: “Dad was always a strong supporter of youth football, encouraging team play, fitness, and lots of fun. What would have pleased dad more than anything was how much fun the children had.”
FINAL WHISTLE: Jimmy Armfield played his last game for Blackpool on May 1, 1971, at Bloomfield Road against Manchester United. It was an occasion tinged with sadness as Jimmy made his 627th and final appearance for Pool in front of a crowd of just under 30,000. It was also Blackpool's final game in the top flight for almost 40 years, after relegation had already been confirmed. The game ended 1-1.
Some 120 Year Three and Four children from 14 resort primary schools, plus Button Lane Primary School in Wythenshaw, which competed following an invite to the Manchester United Foundation, took part on Wednesday.
The youngsters were also challenged to do 627 kick-ups, to mark the number of appearances Jimmy made for the Seasiders.
Harvey Robbins, nine, from Revoe, and Lachlan Moreton-Barraclough, eight, from Anchorsholme scored the highest number of consecutive kick-ups with 20 each.
Graeme Dow, headteacher at Anchorsholme Academy, said: “Our team had never played together before yesterday so their achievement is fantastic.”
The Blackpool FC Community Trust, supported by Sport Blackpool, hosted the tournament.
Senior PE teacher Chris Debar said: “The aim was to help inspire pupils, give them a chance to play lots of football, and leave knowing a little more about Jimmy and why he’s such a big figure for both the club and town.”
Jimmy, who captained England and Blackpool in an illustrious playing career before going on to work in the media, including at The Gazette, died from cancer at the Trinity Hospice, Bispham, in 2018, aged 82.