Jim Arnold (footballer)

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Jim Arnold
Personal information
Full name James Alexander Arnold
Date of birth (1950-08-06) 6 August 1950 (age 63)
Place of birth Stafford, England
Playing position Goalkeeper
Youth career
Rising Brook
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
Stafford Rangers
→ Sandbach Ramblers (loan)
1979–1981 Blackburn Rovers 58 (0)
1981–1985 Everton 48 (0)
1982–1983 Preston North End (loan) 6 (0)
1985–1986 Port Vale 53 (0)
Kidderminster Harriers
Rocester 1 (0)
Workington
Total 166 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only. † Appearances (Goals).

James Alexander "Jim" Arnold (born 6 August 1950) is an English former football goalkeeper, noted for his highly intelligent positional ability. He made 165 league appearances in a seventeen-year career in the Football League.

He arrived in the professional game in 1979, at the late age of 29, when he signed with Blackburn Rovers. Two years, one promotion out of the Third Division, and 58 league appearances later, he moved on to Everton. He spent four years as Everton's back-up keeper, as the club won the First Division title and the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. He was loaned out to Preston North End during the 1982–83 campaign, and signed with Port Vale in August 1985. Voted the club's Player of the Year in 1985–86, he announced his retirement from full-time football in November 1986. He did though later turn out for non-league sides Kidderminster Harriers, Rocester and Workington.

Playing career[edit]

After leaving Rising Brook, Arnold played for non-league Stafford Rangers, and also appeared on loan for the Sandbach Ramblers. He was signed by Blackburn Rovers manager Howard Kendall in 1979. Arnold kept a club record nineteen clean sheets in 1979–80,[1] as Rovers won promotion out of the Third Division as runners-up, with only the top two clubs in the Football League, Liverpool and Manchester United, conceding fewer than 36 league goals. Just 29 league goals were conceded in 1980–81, a record only beaten by Lincoln City, as Rovers missed out on promotion from the Second Division by just three points.

Howard Kendall was appointed manager at First Division Everton in August 1981, and he quickly signed Arnold and Neville Southall. Southall soon proved to be superior goalkeeper as the "Toffees" finished eighth in 1981–82, and seventh in 1982–83 and 1983–84. Arnold spent some of the 1983–84 campaign on loan at Alan Kelly's Preston North End, and played six games for the Third Division club. Everton went on to win the league title in 1984–85 by a massive thirteen points margin. However Arnold was not the first choice keeper, and made only 48 league appearances for the club in his four years at Goodison Park. One of his final actions for the club was to sit on the bench for the 1985 European Cup Winners' Cup Final win against SK Rapid Wien.[2]

Arnold signed for John Rudge's Port Vale in August 1985. He played 52 games in 1985–86, as the "Valiants" won promotion out of the Fourth Division. For his performances he was awarded the club's Player of the Year award.[3] However he went into retirement in the summer, joining Staffordshire Police as a recreation officer. He did though return to Vale Park on a non-contract basis in September 1986 after a goalkeeping crisis at the club; this crisis was resolved in November 1986, when Vale signed Alex Williams, and so Arnold stepped down once more, having played fifteen games of the 1986–87 campaign. Arnold also went on to play for local non-league sides Kidderminster Harriers, Rocester and Workington.[4] While with Kidderminster, Arnold featured in the 1987 FA Trophy final versus Burton Albion. After a 0–0 draw at Wembley, Arnold saved a penalty in the replay at The Hawthorns, which Harriers won 2–1.

Honours[edit]

Individual
with Blackburn Rovers
with Everton
with Port Vale
with Kidderminster Harriers

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Blackburn Rovers Club Records". 
  2. ^ "A Foot in Both Camps". evertonfc.com. 23 April 2004. 
  3. ^ Kent, Jeff (1990). The Valiants' Years: The Story Of Port Vale. Witan Books. p. 305. ISBN 0-9508981-4-7. 
  4. ^ Kent, Jeff (1996). Port Vale Personalities. Witan Books. p. 9. ISBN 0-9529152-0-0.