Jimmy Armfield: Tributes to Blackpool legend planned

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Jimmy Armfield Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jimmy Armfield captained England 15 times

Many Blackpool fans are expected to put politics to one side later as they join match day tributes to former England captain Jimmy Armfield.

Armfield, who made a club record 627 appearances for the Tangerines, died of cancer aged 82 on Monday.

Sections of Blackpool supporters have recently boycotted home games in protest against the club’s ownership.

But many are expected to attend their League One fixture against Charlton Athletic.

Wreaths will be laid at the club’s Bloomfield Road stadium and proceeds from the match passed to the town’s Trinity Hospice, where Armfield died.

Image copyright PA Photos Image caption Armfield played alongside Stanley Matthews at Blackpool

The club will also hold a minute’s applause, a gesture expected to be observed at other grounds across England.

It is set to mark a temporary cessation of hostilities among some Tangerines supporters, who have been at odds with owners the Oyston family.

Blackpool won promotion to the Premier League in 2010 under them, but dropped back to League Two within five years.

Supporters have staged demonstrations, match boycotts and social media campaigns over the way the family have run the club.

Blackpool manager Gary Bowyer said: “I’m fully aware of everything that goes on at this football club, but for one day only I think it’s right that everybody puts [those issues] aside.”

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Armfield leads England out with Bobby Moore behind him

Regarding fans who may still stay away, he said: “That’s their decision and I respect that decision. But we’re talking about an unbelievable man here. He was Mr Blackpool.

“For one game, people can come and pay their tributes to Jimmy Armfield. They’ll never get another opportunity to do it.”

Christine Seddon, chairman of the Blackpool Supporters Trust, said the group would lay a wreath at Armfield’s statue outside the ground at 14:30 GMT, and observe a minute’s silence.

She said it was “very much up to each individual” to decide if they wanted to then attend the match.

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption Jimmy Armfield, left, often commentated alongside Alan Green

“Jimmy Armfield was very upset by the problems that have gone on, but he understood all sides, I think, and he was a man of principle.

“He would want people to do what they think is right.”

Armfield was capped 43 times by England, 15 of them as captain, and later managed Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United.

He trained as a journalist after his playing career and was a BBC radio commentator for more than 35 years.

Source: BBC News

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