Blackpool FC Community Trust hosted the first ‘Jimmy Armfield Memorial Trophy’, a football competition for Year 3 and 4 pupils. Held at Armfield Academy on the anniversary of Jimmy Armfields last game for Blackpool FC, 120 pupils attended to compete for the trophy. 14 Blackpool primary schools participated and to commemorate the opponent Jimmy played against in his final game for the club, there was a special invite to the Manchester United Foundation who brought a school team.
Before any football was kicked Duncan Armfield spoke to the pupils in attendance about his father, giving them an insight into Jimmy’s footballing achievements, who he was as a person and the story of how he use to chase donkeys on the beach to keep up his fitness!
The tournament was split into two leagues where each school played each other once. The games were played in a competitive and friendly spirit, with 150 goals being scored throughout the day.
Schools were also given a ‘keepy-uppy’ challenge, where their aim was to collectively do a total of 627 kick-ups, to represent the number of games which Jimmy Armfield played for Blackpool FC. Lachlan from Anchorsholme and Harvey from Revoe scored the highest individual number of consecutive kick-ups, 20, with the collective score being 458.
The winner of each league met each other in the final, with Anchorsholme representing Blackpool as they faced the Manchester United Foundation team. The final was very close and it took just one goal to decide the winners of the first Jimmy Armfield Memorial Trophy. Anchorsholme came out on top with 1-0 victory in front of the spectating crowd of pupils, teachers and parents.
Duncan presented the winners and runners up of the competition with medals and the trophy. He also presented Ellis from Manchester United Foundation the Jimmy Armfield Memorial Trophy Player of the Day. Ellis was picked for playing with a smile on his face throughout the whole day, a value that Jimmy believed everyone young pupil should have whilst playing sport.
The aim of the competition was not only to provide pupils an opportunity to take part in competitive football but to also raise awareness of Jimmy Armfield in the next generation of football fans within the town. Whilst the games were being played, Duncan showed some of the pupils a few of his dad’s trophies such as the Young Player of the Year trophy and his CBE award.
One pupil couldn’t wait to get home and speak about Jimmy Armfield and the day he’d had. Michelle, a parent from Anchorsholme, told us “Lachlan will cherish his medal and was so excited telling his grandad that he’d seen one of Jimmy Armfields England caps”.
“The Jimmy Armfield Memorial competition was a wonderful tribute to my late father. Dad was always a strong supporter of youth football, encouraging team play, fitness and lots of fun. Each school participated and what would have pleased dad more than anything was how much fun the children had. Well done to all taking part, Armfield Academy for hosting and the organisation from Chris and the team at the Community Trust. Look forward to many more to come”.
The competition forms part of the Trust’s Premier League Primary Stars programme, which uses the appeal of football clubs to provide a variety of provision in local primary schools.
Chris Debar, Senior PE Officer for the Community Trust, was happy with how the day went and the impact it had had on the pupils. “The aim of today was to help inspire pupils, give them a chance to play lots of football and leave knowing a little more about Jimmy Armfield and why he’s such a big figure for both the club and the town. I’ve seen lots of pupils with smiles on their faces and one pupil from Anchorsholme told me how he didn’t want to go home because he was enjoying himself so much.
We’d like to thank the school for allowing us to use the facility and Duncan for being in attendance for the day, sharing stories about his father and allowing pupils to hold and see some of Jimmy’s achievements. I’d also like to thank Dave Rohman from Sport Blackpool for supporting the event too, where our partnership work is growing from strength to strength to ensure we put on the best competitions for the young people of Blackpool”.