Football fans pay respect to former England captain Jimmy Armfield
Armfield, who spent his entire playing career with Blackpool and won 43 caps for his country, died last month at the age of 82.
Football fans and well-wishers lined the streets of Blackpool on Thursday to pay their last respects to former England captain Jimmy Armfield.
Supporters also stood in tribute and applauded at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road stadium as the funeral cortege of one of the club’s favourite sons passed alongside the pitch.
Jimmy Armfield's funeral cortege passes through Bloomfield Road pic.twitter.com/oFio8Fp6Kd— Andy Hampson (@andyhampson) February 8, 2018
Armfield, who spent his entire playing career with the Tangerines and won 43 caps for his country, died last month at the age of 82 after a battle with cancer.
His final journey took in parts of the town before entering Bloomfield Road at one end, travelling down one of the touchlines and pausing in front of the Armfield Stand.
Fans had been invited to congregate in the stand bearing his name and they stood in silent tribute before breaking into applause as the procession moved on. Those present included the current Blackpool squad, who formed a guard of honour.
A private service attended by around 200 family and friends was then held at Armfield’s own St Peter’s Church in the South Shore area. Armfield served as a warden and played the organ at the church for many years. Guests included former England team-mates Sir Bobby Charlton, Jack Charlton and Norman Hunter.
Supporters remaining at Bloomfield Road, many of whom had arrived early to lay tributes at Armfield’s statue outside the ground, were able to listen to a live audio broadcast of the service.
They heard moving tributes from Armfield’s sons John and Duncan, as well as a eulogy from Professional Footballers’ Association chief executive Gordon Taylor.
Taylor, who worked alongside Armfield at the PFA, spoke of his dear friend’s “marvellous life” and “great qualities”.
“His was a life well lived but he truly was a man well loved,” he added.
Hymns included ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’, ‘Jerusalem’ and ‘Abide with Me’ while the service ended with ‘I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside’ and the theme to ‘Match of the Day’.
Armfield was born in Denton, Manchester, in 1935 but moved to Blackpool as a child during the Second World War. He called the Fylde coast home for the rest of his life and was a beloved figure at the heart of the local community.
He made a record 627 appearances for Blackpool, predominantly as a right-back. He represented England at the 1962 World Cup but lost his place in the team immediately prior to the 1966 tournament due to injury. He remained a member of squad but did not feature as England won the tournament on home soil.
He later managed Bolton and Leeds, leading the latter to a European Cup final, before taking up roles with the Football Association and PFA. He also enjoyed a successful media career for more than 35 years.