Jimmy Armfield: "It's something special to be honoured"

Jimmy Armfield at Buckingham Palace in London Wednesday October 18 2000, after he recieved his OBE from the Prince of Wales.
Jimmy Armfield at Buckingham Palace in London Wednesday October 18 2000, after he recieved his OBE from the Prince of Wales.
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Blackpool supporters have long campaigned for Jimmy Armfield to be recognised with a knighthood - only for those calls to be ignored right up until his passing.

Armfield’s services to football and the community of Lancashire saw him receive an OBE in 2000 and a CBE in, but the title of “Sir” has always alluded him.

Jimmy Armfield officially opens the new Blackpool FC Hall of Fame

Jimmy Armfield officially opens the new Blackpool FC Hall of Fame

Petitions and campaigns were set up and brought in signatures and supporters from football fans from right across the country, but still the knighthood wasn’t forthcoming.

He has, however, received plenty of other generous honours and accolades.

In 2003, he was awarded Freedom of the Borough of Blackpool alongside Pleasure Beach chairman Doris Thompson.

Armfield said he was told about the honour in a phone call from Blackpool mayor, Coun Ivan Taylor.

Revoe School old boy Jimmy Armfield opens the library named after him at the school

Revoe School old boy Jimmy Armfield opens the library named after him at the school

He told BBC Radio Lancashire: "If you get a national honour, such as the OBE, it's a fantastic achievement.

"But it's something special to be honoured by the people living around you, because they're the ones that really judge you."

In 2005, he received a civic reception in Blackpool just after his 70th birthday when a tangerine flag was flown from the town hall for the day in his honour.

Armfield was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Bloomfield Road when it was officially opened by him in April 2006.

Having played hundreds of times for the Seasiders, Jimmy was also honoured with the naming of a stand at Bloomfield Road in 2010, with ‘ARMFIELD’ spelled out in white seats amongst the tangerine majority.

In 2008, Armfield was awarded the Outstanding Contribution honour at the Football League Awards ceremony in London.

Later that year, he was also awarded a place in the football Hall of Fame at the National Football Museum in Preston, joining fellow former Seasiders Stanley Matthews and Stan Mortensen in the list of Blackpool players selected.

The panel which consisted of Bobby Charlton, Tom Finney and Mark Lawrenson, opted to induct Armfield.

He was presented with the honour by former England teammate Jimmy Greaves.

Armfield was awarded the PFA Merit Award at the 35th Annual Awards Dinner at London’s Grosvenor Hotel. He received three standing ovations when he got up to accept the award.

In July 2009, he was honoured by Tameside Council in Denton, where he was born, and the Denton and Audenshaw District Assembly presented him with a lifetime-achievement award.

In 2009, Blackpool FC announced that a statue of Armfield was being commissioned by the Blackpool Supporters' Association.

The statue, nine-feet in height, would cost £100,000, with the money to be raised by a series of fundraising events.

The aim was to unveil the statue, which is located outside the main entrance, behind the West Stand facing Seasiders Way, on his 75th birthday in September 2010.

However, the statue was not unveiled until May 1, 2011, with Sir Trevor Brooking attending the unveiling.

Talking about the commissioning of the statue in 2009, Armfield said: "I feel quite humble about it and I must be honest I will be very proud to see it as I am with the stand, as Blackpool is my team and my town.

“It is nice to think that anything I have done has been appreciated, all people like to think that."

Jimmy also spoke of his pride when, in 2017, a new secondary school in Blackpool announced it would be named in his honour.

Bosses at the academy, which will cater for 1,180 youngsters aged two to 16, said 86 per cent of people responding to an online questionnaire backed the name.

Jimmy, having been a pupil and governor of 34 years at the old Lytham Road school in South Shore, said: “I have always been interested in children’s education in this area – it is such a critical period in life.

“It is an honour to have your name perpetuated in this way.”