Jimmy gets a first glimpse of himself

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BLACKPOOL football legend Jimmy Armfield has looked himself in the eye after becoming the first to see the statue which will immortalise him outsideBloomfield Road.

But Pool fans will have to wait for their first peek of the nine-foot creation, as it is staying under wraps.

The Seasiders great had the task of giving his statue the thumbs-up before it headed off to the foundry to be bronzed, ready for the grand unveiling on Sunday, May 1.

And the 75-year-old said it had been “a very strange sensation” to come face-to-face with his younger self.

“I had seen the model before, but when you see the real thing it’s quite a strange sensation,” said Armfield.

“It’s rather tall – about nine feet – but of course it won’t look the same when it’s outside.

“I feel very humble about it to be honest. The Supporters’ Association wanted to do it and it’s a great honour.”

The statue has been created by sculptor Les Johnson at his workshop in Hampshire and is life-size-and-a-half.

It will be placed on a plinth outside the south-west corner of the ground and unveiled at a Tangerine tie Gala Dinner, 40 years to the day of Armfield’s last appearance in a Blackpool shirt. And Armfield wants to keep the full-size version a secret until then.

He added: “Sometimes expectation is better. I think everybody should be happy to see the statue at the time.”

Glenn Bowley, chairman of Blackpool Supporters’ Association, accompanied Armfield to see the statue – and said seeing it was confirmation the hard work of fundraisers had paid off.

“It was very good – everybody is really happy with it and the progress made – it looks absolutely fabulous,” said Mr Bowley.

“I can’t wait for the supporters to see it because they’ve contributed so much to it, they’ve played a massive part in this happening.”

Mr Bowley said: “We’ve raised £50,000 so far and we’ve got three big events left – a nostalgia night at Layton Institute, a charity football match and the gala dinner – so we hope to get the final amount of £75,000.

“The installation and foundation costs are going to be paid for by the football club, who have been very supportive.

“Karl Oyston has been fantastic.”