Jimmy Armfield was one of England’s finest ever defenders, and in the early 1960s was recognised as one of the best full backs in the world. Loyal to Blackpool throughout his career, he captained his country for two years before moving on to further success in management and in broadcasting.
Armfield joined Blackpool in 1954 at the age of 18, where he became a team mate of legendary winger Stanley Matthews. He would go on to spend his entire playing career at the club, a total of sixteen season before he retired in 1970. Although he did not win any major trophies during his time at the club, Armfield helped sustain Blackpool as one of the top clubs in England through the late 1950s and early 1960s, including their best ever league finish of second in 1956.
In 1959 he made his international debut for England in Brazil, and went on to become an established member of the squad. Armfield played all four matches for England in the 1962 World Cup in Chile, as they reached the quarter-finals, and following the tournament took over from Johnny Haynes as team captain. He would captain England a dozen times over the next two years before being replaced by Bobby Moore.
Armfield remained a regular in the side, however, until an injury in a pre-World Cup warm-up match in 1966 saw him left to watch England’s victory from the sidelines as a non-playing member of the squad. He did not play for England again.
Four years later, Armfield retired from playing having made more than 550 league appearances for Blackpool, a club record that stands to this day. Moving into management in 1971, he spent three years with Bolton Wanderers before moving to then reigning league champions Leeds United in 1974.
Despite leading the club to the European Cup Final in his first season in charge, where they lost 2-1 to Bayern Munich, he was unable to win a major trophy with the club. Leaving Leeds in 1978, Armfield called an end to his managerial career and moved into broadcasting, where he became a widely respected radio commentator.