Blackpool FC legend Jimmy Armfield dies after cancer battle

Blackpool Football Club’s most famous son Jimmy Armfield has died at the age of 82 following a long battle with cancer.

READ MORE: Jimmy Armfield - his England career

Blackpool FC legend Jimmy Armfield has died, age 82

Blackpool FC legend Jimmy Armfield has died, age 82

READ MORE: YOUR TRIBUTES To Blackpool legend Jimmy Armfield

His family has confirmed he died at Trinity Hospice - a charity which he represented as its president - early this morning, paying tribute to their beloved family man.

A statement from the 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.

READ MORE: Jimmy Armfield: The manager

Jimmy Armfield got a tremendous reception from his team, Manchester United players and the crowd as he entered the field for his last match for the first team at Bloomfield Road,  Blackpool on May 1, 1971

Jimmy Armfield got a tremendous reception from his team, Manchester United players and the crowd as he entered the field for his last match for the first team at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool on May 1, 1971

READ MORE: Blackpool ex-players’ tributes to Gentleman Jimmy

"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.

READ MORE: Jimmy Armfield: "It's something special to be honoured"

A statue outside Blackpool's Bloomfield Road ground pays tribute to Jimmy Armfield

A statue outside Blackpool's Bloomfield Road ground pays tribute to Jimmy Armfield

"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.

READ MORE: Blackpool FC 'deeply saddened' by death of Jimmy Armfield

"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.

Seated centre front, Jimmy Armfield captains Blackpool Football Club in the 1970 - 1971 season'Back row l-r Steve Harrison, Rob Thomas, Dennis Wann, Bill Bentley, Dave Hatton, Johnny Johnston, Alan Taylor, John Hughes, John McNicholas, Stuart Parker, Sean Suddards, Willie McGrotty.'Second back row l-r Mr Vin Conboy (physiotherapist), Mr Jimmy meadows (assistant trainer), Martin Capes, Peter Suddaby, Glyn James, John Craven, Harry Thompson, Alan Suddick, Graham Rowe , Adam Blacklaw, Terry Alcock, Peter Nicholson, Mr Len Graham (trainer), Clive Nattress, Mr Paddy Sowden (youth coach.'Seated l-r Greg Moore, Fred Pickering, John Murray, Tony Coleman, Jimmy Armfield (captain), Mr Les Shannon (manager), Tony Green, Henry Mowbray, Ronnie Brown, Tommy Hutchison, 'Seated on ground l-r John Curtis, Steve Wojciechowicz, David Allison, Albert Garland, Gregson, Ainscow, Masson, Coogan, Morris  (first names not given for last five)

Seated centre front, Jimmy Armfield captains Blackpool Football Club in the 1970 - 1971 season'Back row l-r Steve Harrison, Rob Thomas, Dennis Wann, Bill Bentley, Dave Hatton, Johnny Johnston, Alan Taylor, John Hughes, John McNicholas, Stuart Parker, Sean Suddards, Willie McGrotty.'Second back row l-r Mr Vin Conboy (physiotherapist), Mr Jimmy meadows (assistant trainer), Martin Capes, Peter Suddaby, Glyn James, John Craven, Harry Thompson, Alan Suddick, Graham Rowe , Adam Blacklaw, Terry Alcock, Peter Nicholson, Mr Len Graham (trainer), Clive Nattress, Mr Paddy Sowden (youth coach.'Seated l-r Greg Moore, Fred Pickering, John Murray, Tony Coleman, Jimmy Armfield (captain), Mr Les Shannon (manager), Tony Green, Henry Mowbray, Ronnie Brown, Tommy Hutchison, 'Seated on ground l-r John Curtis, Steve Wojciechowicz, David Allison, Albert Garland, Gregson, Ainscow, Masson, Coogan, Morris (first names not given for last five)

"Once again, the family extends its thanks as we try to come to terms in a world without Jimmy."

Armfield will forever go down in Blackpool folklore as the club’s most cherished former player.

READ MORE: Jimmy Armfield's health: "Sometimes I feel I’m 18, sometimes I feel I’m 80"

He famously played the whole of his Football League career at Blackpool, usually at right back.

In a playing career that spanned 17 years, he played 627 games in all competitions, scored six goals, and spent a decade as the club's captain.

READ MORE: Jimmy Armfield: The early days

David Houston, chief executive of Trinity Hospice, said: “It is a huge understatement to say that we will miss Jim.

"To Trinity Hospice he was our president, our most loyal supporter and an ambassador across the entire community over many years.

"He leaves an astonishing legacy and I know all the staff, trustees and volunteers here would want me to say that it was an immense privilege to be able to care for him, and his family, over the past few days.”

He also represented the England national team 43 times between 1959 and 1966, and captained them in 15 games.

He was a member of England's 1966 World Cup-winning squad - but only received his medal in 2009, 43 years on from the famous triumph - having been one of 11 reserves that didn’t feature in the final against West Germany.

But it is his time spent wearing the famous tangerine for what he will be most fondly remembered.

On December 27, 1954, Armfield made the first of 627 appearances in a Blackpool shirt away at Portsmouth.

He played his final game for Blackpool on May 1, 1971, in front of a crowd of over 30,000 against Manchester United at Bloomfield Road, in what would be the last game played by Blackpool in the top flight of English football for almost 40 years.

He had been awarded a testimonial match in the previous year on the day of his 35th birthday in a game between Blackpool and an International XI side in front of a crowd of almost 17,000.

Not long after hanging up his boots, Armfield became manager of Bolton Wanderers in 1971 and led them to promotion as Third Division champions.

In 1974, he took the helm at Leeds United replacing Brian Clough, and led them to the European Cup Final in which they lost 2–0 to Bayern Munich.

More recently Armfield would have been best known now for his work for BBC Radio 5 Live, something he carried out for more than 35 years.

When he returned to commentary duties with the BBC in October 2008 after time off battling cancer, he found a note waiting for him at the media reception of Bolton’s Reebok Stadium.

It was from Sir Alex Ferguson and Sir Bobby Charlton, it simply read: “Welcome back, Jimmy. We have missed you”.

And despite having to slow down in recent years, he was back on the airwaves as recently as January 2017 to pay tribute to Graham Taylor.

When you’ve lived the life of Armfield there isn’t much he can look back and say he hasn’t done. But there is one thing missing from his almost perfect footballing career.

“The only regret is I never won a medal with Blackpool,” he told The Gazette in 2015."