R.I.P. Jimmy Armfield

Mr. Blackpool.

Sad news that the only decent football pundit on the BBC, one of England’s great footballers Jimmy Armfield has died.

With the explosion of football broadcasting around the world there’s been an explosion of really poor footballers stealing a living commentating on the game.

If you’re reduced to listening to football on the radio it’s a horrible experience, as a commentator and a third division player blather on about anything but the game they are supposed to be telling you about. Jimmy Armfield made it bearable. Jimmy for one wasn’t a third rate player.

A quality player, who represented England 43 times and probably would have led the team out at Wembley for the World Cup final of 1966 but for injury. It could have been him being held aloft instead of Bobby Moore. Armfield was probably the best right-back, the first overlapping fullback, about – considered one of the best defenders of the previous tournament – but he couldn’t get back into the side after Cohen had got the nod from Ramsay.

He then went into management he had success with Bolton and then took over Leeds United after Brian Clough’s disastrous 44 days. Revitalising the Revie players that Clough wanted rid of and taking them to the European Cup final, losing to Beckenbauer’s Bayern Munich in one of the most shocking officiating displays. It was really shonky… well Leeds were robbed.

Then into media interspersed with being sounded out for his thoughts on who should be England manager, picking Venables and Hoddle. Which were not bad choices.

On radio Armfield was by far the best pundit. Just common sense, no need to create controversy, not trying to be the centre of attention like Savage and his ilk, less of the banal chatter, more talk about what was actually happening on the pitch, with a knowledge and gravitas that made you listen, made you want more, unlike the rest who make you consider switching off.

In a world of Robbie Savages, Stan Collymores, Chris Suttons, etc, we won’t see the likes of Jimmy Armfield again.

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