Former England captain and Blackpool legend turned manager and respected broadcaster Jimmy Armfield has died aged 82 after a lengthy second battle with cancer, his family confirmed on Monday morning (22 January).
Regarded as one of the nicest men in English football, Denton-born right-back and one-club man Armfield made a record 627 appearances during a 17-year stint at Blackpool and earned 43 senior caps for his country, playing in the 1962 World Cup finals in Chile.
He was also part of Sir Alf Ramsey's squad that won the 1966 tournament on home soil. However, he had to wait 43 years before finally receiving a medal from Prime Minister Gordon Brown as he was not one of the 11 players on the pitch at the end of the 4-2 final win over West Germany at Wembley Stadium.
After hanging up his boots in 1971, Armfield went straight into management and took Bolton Wanderers to the old Third Division title in 1972-73.
He rejected Everton before becoming the man tasked with rebuilding Don Revie's Leeds United after the chaotic 44-day reign of Brian Clough, remarkably leading them to the 1974-75 European Cup final in Paris, where they were beaten 2-0 by Bayern Munich.
Armfield later worked as a pundit for BBC Radio 5 Live for more than 30 years and also wrote for the Daily Express. He underwent treatment for non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2007 before revealing in 2016 that he was fighting cancer for the second time.
"After a long and courageous battle, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and father-in-law Jimmy Armfield, has passed away peacefully surrounded by his immediate family," a family statement read. "At this time we are still in shock as we begin the grieving process. We know Jimmy was a public figure, but the family respectfully ask for privacy at this time.
"We have many wonderful messages of love and support, for which we are grateful, and moved by all the kind words. We would also like to thank all the magnificent and dedicated NHS staff who have kept Jimmy, and the family, as well as possible over the ten years of his illness.
"During the last few days Trinity Hospice in Blackpool made a big difference to Jimmy as he slipped away, pain free at last. Jimmy had two great loves, first and foremost was his family, to which he was devoted and loved dearly. The other was football, especially Blackpool, England and his colleagues at the PFA. Once again, the family extends its thanks as we try to come to terms in a world without Jimmy."
In their own statement, Blackpool said: "Blackpool Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of its record appearance holder and vice-president Jimmy Armfield at the age of 82. A one-club man, Jimmy represented Blackpool with immense distinction as a player for 17 years, turning out in tangerine and white on 627 occasions.
"He captained the Seasiders for more than 10 of those years and was also capped 43 times for England, with 15 of those international appearances seeing him lead his country as skipper."
Tributes have quickly poured in for a man who was awarded a CBE in 2010 for his community work in Lancashire and after whom the new South Stand at Blackpool's Bloomfield Road was named that same year. A 9ft statue of Armfield was erected outside the main entrance in 2011.