Former Blackpool star Crainey so proud to lead Fleetwood Town Armfield tribute

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Ex-Blackpool star Stephen Crainey says it was an honour to lay a wreath in memory of club legend Jimmy Armfield.

Crainey, now Under-18 coach at Fleetwood Town, played in the Premier League during his six years with the Seasiders and got to know Armfield, who died on Monday aged 82.

It means the 36-year-old was a natural choice to lead the tributes from Pool’s League One neighbours.

Crainey joined Town chief executive Steve Curwood in laying a red and white wreath at Armfield’s statue outside Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road.

Scarves from other clubs could be seen among all the tangerine memorabilia and flowers at the base of the statue.

Other clubs represented included Leeds United, where Armfield was manager in the 1970s, and Pool’s arch-rivals Preston North End, who sent a wreath.

Crainey said it is at times like this that rivalries are put aside. And he admitted it was moving to represent Fleetwood, given his associations with Blackpool.

He said: “It was a touching moment because of my affiliation with Blackpool as well.

“I’m working at Fleetwood in a coaching capacity now, so to represent both clubs was an honour.

“I just have a tremendous respect for Jimmy and it was good to see (the tributes) because there was Blackpool stuff, Fleetwood stuff, Leeds stuff ... loads there. And I’m sure there will be more to come in the coming days.

“That was nice to see because at times like this in the football community rivalries are put aside.”

Crainey says Armfield’s death has not just impacted the Fylde coast but around the wider world.

And the Scot paid tribute to a man who was always on hand to help anyone, with Armfield’s legacy set to live on in everyone’s fond memories.

He added: “I was shocked. I knew he had not been well for a number of years but to hear that news was tragic.

“I’m sure it will be felt all around the Fylde coast and beyond because he was a former England captain and he was respected across the world, not just locally.

“Obviously I was at Blackpool for six years during my playing career and he spent a lot of time at the ground and the training ground.

“He used to just come in and give you advice and tell us stories. He genuinely was a really nice man.

“Everyone is in mourning and his loss has been felt around the area. It is just a sad time but hopefully we can all just hold on to the good memories with Jimmy.

“He was always there to lean on, always in the manager’s office, always talking and it was nice to see him around because he was a man you used to look up to and respect because of what he had achieved in his career.”