Campaign launched - and shot down - to name new school after Pool legend

Jimmy Armfield
Jimmy Armfield
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A campaign calling on an academy trust to name its new school after a Blackpool footballing legend has been launched – and promptly shot down.

Fylde Coast Academy Trust (FCAT), which is set to open Avenue Academy in South Shore, has been urged to honour World Cup winner and former Pool captain Jimmy Armfield by naming it The Armfield Academy instead.

Former Blackpool Mayor Robert Wynne described the chosen name as ‘uninspiring’ and said honouring Jimmy, who was recently diagnosed with cancer for a second time, is the right thing to do.

He said: “With Jimmy being back in the news at the moment, and with him being a friend of ours, I thought it would be the perfect name for the school.

“Not only would it show how highly regarded Jimmy is in Blackpool, but it would also be terrific for the school as well. It would give it a real identity and status.”

Mr Wynne, who also owns West Coast Rock Cafe in Abingdon Street, Blackpool town centre, said he was not aware FCAT had asked for suggestions before naming the school, which will be based in Lytham Road, where Arnold School – which Jimmy attended – used to be based.

More than 90 people submitted suggestions as part of a lengthy consultation, with Avenue chosen later.

Mr Wynne offered to pay for signs at the site, recently bought by the Department for Education, to be replaced.

But FCAT’s deputy chief executive officer Tony Nicholson said in a statement yesterday: “While we are mindful and respectful of the heritage of the previous school, and those who attended, we felt a new beginning was needed in line with our key objectives.”

A Facebook post by Mr Wynne had been shared 97 times at the time of going to print yesterday, and had attracted several supporters.

They include Tory councillor Christian Cox, who said: “Fantastic idea. Has my full support. Jimmy is a true Blackpool legend and a gentleman.”

And Anchorsholme councillor Paul Galley added: “I love this idea and if it can get people behind the free school concept as well, all the better.”

Jimmy, 81, is set to complete a course of daily radiotheraphy and remains upbeat about the outcome, after previously receiving successful treatment in 2007.