Emotional return for Pool legend

Seasiders' legend Jimmy Armfield paid a heartfelt tribute to fans as he made his first appearance at Bloomfield Road since undergoing life saving treatment for cancer.

The Pool icon was given a standing ovation as he addressed the crowd at half-time during Blackpool's Championship clash with Colchester United.

Jimmy, who is suffering from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, said it was the first time he had been out in public since March.

He added: "I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the Blackpool supporters who sent me e-mails, cards and letters of support.

"In those dark days, while Blackpool were at Wembley, and I was having treatment, they did help me to get through.

"I'm now back on my feet, a stone and a half lighter – and my hair is coming back!"

The Bloomfield Road hero has undergone courses of chemotherapy and radiotherapy in his fight with a disease which affects his throat and neck.

After his diagnosis he reduced his public appearances and gave up his place behind the microphone with the BBC for who he is a popular football pundit.

He also was forced to miss Blackpool's promotion run last season.

Jimmy was clearly moved by an emotional first return to his beloved Bloomfield Road on Saturday as he was cheered by almost 8,000 fans.

Pool boss Simon Grayson said: "It was great to have Jimmy at the stadium and we all wish him continuing best wishes in his fight against illness.

"He's an inspiration to everyone."

Glenn Bowley, of Blackpool Supporters' Association, added: "It was brilliant to see him back at Bloomfield Road.

"All the fans were pleased to see him.

"We've all been behind him during this and it is great to see him back.

"He's missed so much, with the good run, the playoffs and promotion.

"But to have him here watching Championship football is great.

"We didn't get the win, but I'm sure he's happy with the start they have made."