Jimmy Armfield has paid a glowing tribute to his friend and former Blackpool team-mate Dave Durie, who has died at the age of 85.
Armfield said of the colleague who served the Seasiders with distinction for more than 300 matches : “Dave was probably the most under-rated player we had in my time at the club.
“But he certainly wasn’t under-rated by the players. He was such a good man to have in the team and a local lad as well.”
“Dave could play in any number of positions – left-wing, inside-left, midfield or even leading the line.
“He was such a great athlete – when he was at Baines School he was a cross country champion, so he could run forever. He had such a long stride, he was good in the air and naturally left-footed.
“He had very long legs. In fact, the crowd used to know him by his nickname ‘Legs’.
“Dave was also a very popular character in the dressing room and he was never booked or sent off in his entire career, which is some record.”
Armfield said that Durie’s talents came to the fore at Bloomfield Road at a time when there were some outstanding internationals – like Jackie Mudie, Ray Charnley, Allan Brown, Ernie Taylor and Bill Perry – all vying for a place in the first team.
“There was great competition for places back then,” he recalls, “and Dave would play anywhere, except if it was Christmas Day or Good Friday.”
League clubs used to have fixtures on Christmas Day in the footballing past , but Durie would not turn out on such occasions on account of his strong religious convictions – he was a devout Methodist.
Armfield said: “I remember in the season when we were going for the league championship, the manager at the time Joe Smith tried to persuade him to play on a holy day but Dave was adamant that he would not.”
Armfield went to see his long-term friend only last week to say his final goodbyes, the former Blackpool skipper adding that he was so appreciative Durie made a special effort to be present.
A funeral service will take place on September 14 at Lindale Methodist Church, at 11.30 am prior to committal at Park Crematorium, Lytham at 12.30pm.
The family have requested no flowers and any donations instead should be made to Alzheimer’s research.