`

Bowyer: Jimmy Armfield will always live on at Blackpool FC

Blackpool players applaud as the the Jimmy Armfield funeral cortege passes inside the Bloomfield Road stadium
Blackpool players applaud as the the Jimmy Armfield funeral cortege passes inside the Bloomfield Road stadium

Gary Bowyer has stressed the importance of his Blackpool players knowing all about the huge contribution Jimmy Armfield made to the football club.

READ MORE: Blackpool's emotional farewell to Jimmy
Blackpool’s record appearance-maker died on January 22 after a long fight against cancer. He was 82.

Bowyer said: “I think it’s important the players understand the contribution the previous players and managers have made to this club, no-one more so than Jimmy.

“He was able to meet several of them last year and that was fantastic.

“But I have to comment on how wonderful our players have been through it all.

“They’re a completely different generation but they understand the huge contribution he has made to this football club.

“The way they have conducted themselves, firstly prior to the Charlton game and at the statue, and how they went about it yesterday is fitting for such a gentleman as Jimmy was.”

Bowyer got to know Armfield well since taking the Blackpool job in June 2016.

“It was a wonderful pleasure to meet him when I became manager here,” he added. “I think it was two days after I got the job that Jimmy came in to see me. He knocked on the door and said, with a big smile on his face, ‘Welcome to Blackpool Football Club’.

“We had a cup of tea and he told me all about the club. He just wished me all the best.

“He said, ‘I hope you can turn it around’ because he had so much passion for this club.

“The desire he had to see the club become successful again was just immense to see.

“I’m disappointed we couldn’t get him to Wembley for the play-off final.

“That would have been great for everybody, especially for Jimmy.

“He came to a couple of games last season and afterwards he would say, ‘What about getting your winger to do that?’ Or ‘Your defender needs to do that’.

“It was just great to have someone passing on that advice in a non-threatening manner and you’d think, ‘I didn’t quite see that at the time but he’s right’. That was massive for me to have.

“When I met him, it hit you straight away that not only did he have such a wealth of knowledge for the game, but it was so current. You had to listen to him.

“He was stimulating and even in the last couple of months he knew about our players.

“He knew all about Kyle Vassell and was asking how he was doing.

“He just had this wonderful appetite for the game and that’s why he was in football for as long as he was.”