Footballer Jimmy Armfield was one of a kind.
He devoted his whole career to his beloved Blackpool Football Club and after hanging his boots up, he managed both Bolton Wanderers and Leeds United.
A member of the World Cup winning team of 1966, Jimmy was Mr Football and after management, he had a successful career as a radio pundit.
Established sports journalist Ian Ridley forged a great friendship with Jimmy over the years and was at the forefront of ensuring Jimmy received a World Cup medal, after footballing authorities only presented gongs to the players who starred in the final against Germany.
Ian spent a lot of time with Jimmy and as well as football, the two enjoyed fun organising a pantomime starring sporting legends and hosted by Jimmy.
In honour of his friendship, Ian used his time in lockdown to write the beautifully crafted Pantomime Hero: Jimmy Armfield, as part of a series of football shorts books commissioned by Pitch Publishing in conjunction with Floodlit Dreams.
The book oozes love for the great man, who as well as his accomplished career as a right back for Blackpool, he helped bring Leeds back to life following the departure of the great manager Brian Clough.
It takes the reader through Jimmy’s career in a light and gentle way, from player, manager, broadcaster and consultant to the FA and Professional Footballer’s Association.
But on a real and raw journey, the two bonded through both their fights with cancer, which Jimmy sadly lost in 2018. Ian’s wife Ovrice too succumbed to the disease in 2019.
The book is short, just 157 pages, but it wonderfully packs in Jimmy’s life as a sportsman and outside as a family man, Sheriff of Lancashire, president of the regional Age Concern, member of Blackburn Cathedral Council, and his local church, where he was the organist.
A man who lived a full life and gave so much back and the book is a fitting tribute.
Publication date: 23rd January 2023
UK Price: £9.99
Format: 198 x 129mm, Paperback
Pantomime Hero – Jimmy Armfield – Memories of the Man Who Lifted United After Brian Clough
By Ian Ridley
Published by Pitch Publishing
For information and to order a copy of Pantomime Hero, please visit: www.pitchpublishing.co.uk.
Rebecca Hay is an experienced travel writer and member of The British Guild of Travel Writers. Follow her adventures with her family on Twitter and Instagram @emojiadventurer and on Facebook via EmojiAdventurers2.