Jimmy Armfield CBE

More popular than the Blackpool Tower

Player Biography
Full name: James Cristopher Armfield
Date of birth: September 21st 1935
Clubs played for: Blackpool
Clubs managed: Bolton, Leeds
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Club Career

Probably the most popular footballer in Blackpool's history, Jimmy Armfield spent his entire playing career with the Seasiders. A marauding full-back, he was snapped up by the club in 1954 after impressing in a practice match at Bloomfield Road. He instantly struck up an effective partnership with right winger Stanley Matthews which helped Blackpool to their highest ever league position in 1955–56, when they finished as First Division runners-up.

He was handed the Blackpool captaincy and, although he was part of the team that suffered relegation in 1966–67, he helped them back to the top-flight two years later. He made his last appearance on May 1, 1971 against Manchester United at Bloomfield Road, having made a record 569 league appearances for the Seasiders in 17 years.

Club Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1954-71 Blackpool 569 6

International Career

Armfield made his international debut in May 1959 against Brazil, and three years later he was widely recognised as one of the best full-backs in the world after impressing at the 1962 World Cup finals. He was included in the 1966 World Cup-winning squad but suffered an injury before the start of the tournament and did not feature in any of England's six games. In total, he won 43 caps for England - 15 as captain.

International Career Stats

Years Clubs App Goals
1959-66 England 43 0

Managerial Career

Armfield took up his first managerial position at Bolton in 1971 and enjoyed immediate success, leading them to promotion to the Second Division in the 1972–73 season. He took charge of Leeds in 1974 and led the club to the European Cup final in 1975, where they suffered a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich. He was sacked at the end of the 1977-78 campaign and that proved to be his last job in management.

Key Games

Brazil 2-0 England (International friendly, May 13, 1959)

Armfield was handed a daunting international debut against Brazil in front of more than 120,000 vociferous fans in Rio. England may have lost the game, but Armfield equipped himself well and would go on to establish himself as a first choice for his country. He continued to impress for England over the next few years and appeared at the 1962 World Cup, where he was acclaimed as the best right-back in the world by the Chilean press.

Blackpool 1-1 Manchester United (First Division, May 1, 1971)

Armfield returned from a 10-game injury lay-off to make his 569th and final league appearance for Blackpool. The Seasiders had already been relegated to the Second Division but a crowd of more than 30,000 turned out on the final day of the season to say farewell to their hero. He may never have won a major honour with the club, but Armfield's status as a Bloomfield Road legend was assured.

Leeds 0-2 Bayern Munich (European Cup final, May 28, 1975)

Armfield had steered Leeds to a terrific victory over Barcelona in the semi-final, and now had the chance to become the first English manager to win the European Cup. He would be left disappointed, however, as Leeds succumbed to a contentious defeat in the Parc des Princes in Paris. Armfield's men had dominated proceedings and were denied what looked a stonewall penalty with the match evenly poised at 0-0. Peter Lorimer then had a goal harshly disallowed before Bayern struck two late goals to deny Leeds - and Armfield - an historic triumph.


Club Competition Year
England World Cup 1966
Blackpool (as manager) Third Division Championship 1972-73

Did You Know...?

Armfield's last game against Manchester United on May 1, 1971 was also the last game Blackpool played in England's top division.

During his Blackpool career, Armfield undertook shifts at his local newspaper to train him for a future career in journalism. After leaving his position as manager of Leeds, he did not seek any further managerial positions and instead began a career in the media.

Armfield finally received a World Cup medal in June 2009 - 43 years after England lifted the trophy. Armfield was one of 11 players in the squad who did not appear in the epic 4-2 final win over West Germany at Wembley, but FIFA finally decided to honour Armfield and the other forgotten heroes with winners' medals.

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From the back pages

Selectors Salute The Corporal Published: January 31, 1956

Jimmy Armfield news story

Brazil v England Published: May 12, 1959

International friendly preview

Brazil 2-0 England Published: May 14, 1959

International friendly match report

Brazil 3-1 England Published: June 11, 1962

World Cup quarter-final match report

At The Captain's Table Published: October 5, 1962

Jimmy Armfield news story

Gentleman Jim Plans To Go On Forever Published: August 7, 1970

Jimmy Armfield news story

Moore England Captain Published: April 27, 1964

England news story

Armfield In Hot Seat Published: October 5, 1974

He takes Revie's advice - and the big job at Leeds

Cruyff: It's The Final Published: March 22, 1975

European Cup news story

Fall Out, The Leeds Stars! Published: April 25, 1975

European Cup news story

Leeds 0-2 Bayern Munich Published: May 29, 1975

European Cup final match report

Fans Shame Leeds Published: May 29, 1975

European Cup back page

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