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Leighton James: Former Wales, Burnley, Swansea and Derby winger dies aged 71



Leighton James: Former Wales, Burnley, Swansea and Derby winger dies aged 71
England goalkeeper Peter Shilton dedicated this foul that gave Leighton James the possibility to attain the penalty that gave Wales a 1-0 win towards England at Wembley Stadium in Could, 1977

Leighton James, the previous Wales winger who performed greater than 600 video games within the Soccer League, has died on the age of 71.

Capped 54 instances by Wales, James performed 399 video games for Burnley in three spells and spent two years at Derby County.

James additionally represented Swansea Metropolis, Sunderland, Bury and Newport County in a 19-year taking part in profession earlier than turning to administration with a number of golf equipment.

Burnley and Swansea stated they have been “saddened” at James’ passing.

Clarets chairman Alan Tempo stated: “We’re sorry to listen to the information of Leighton’s passing.

“He left an indelible mark on this soccer membership and tales of his taking part in expertise nonetheless echo round Turf Moor.

“Our ideas are along with his household at this unhappy time.”

Swansea stated James was “widely-regarded as one of many Swans’ most interesting gamers”.

The Welsh membership added James “was a key determine within the aspect that secured a first-ever promotion to the top-flight in 1981, scoring a surprising objective within the victory over Preston North Finish at Deepdale to finish the membership’s rise.

“He went on to star the next marketing campaign as John Toshack’s aspect took the struggle to the elite of English soccer, ultimately ending sixth within the First Division.”

Following the tip of his taking part in profession, James continued to be concerned in soccer as a media pundit and was famend for providing strong opinions.

James was born on 16 February, 1953 in Loughor in Swansea and started his skilled profession with Burnley, making his league debut in November 1970 towards Nottingham Forest.

After 5 years, 180 appearances for the Clarets and 45 targets, First Division champions Derby County paid a membership report payment of £300,000 to take James to the Baseball Floor.

James moved on to Queens Park Rangers earlier than returning to Burnley, however he was compelled to hunt recent pastures once more when the Clarets have been relegated to the third division.

A transfer dwelling appealed and James joined his native membership Swansea Metropolis, serving to them from the third division to the primary in a interval the place James performed a few of his greatest soccer as a part of the meteoric rise beneath supervisor John Toshack.

Swansea swept from the underside division to the highest division in exactly three years and loved landmark wins over Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.

James ended his membership profession with spells at Sunderland, Bury and Newport County earlier than returning in 1986 to Burnley for a 3rd spell, lastly retiring in 1989.

Earlier than Ryan Giggs and Gareth Bale, James was the left winger who would get membership and worldwide followers pulses racing.

Lower than a 12 months after making his Burnley bow and nonetheless a young person, his first senior cap for Wales got here of their 1-0 defeat away to Czechoslovakia.

James by no means performed in a significant match for Wales, however he did play his half in some well-known victories.

His penalty secured a well-known win over England at Wembley within the British House Championships, however arguably his greatest worldwide show got here when he scored and customarily dazzled in Wales’ 4-1 victory over England at Wrexham in 1980.

James scored 10 instances for Wales, making his final look in 1983.

After his taking part in profession James went on to handle various non-league golf equipment in England and Wales, essentially the most high-profile being Accrington Stanley in 1997-1998.

In Wales he has managed Llanelli, Aberaman and Haverfordwest County.

James additionally turned well-known in Wales after his taking part in days for a few of his forthright views expressed as a radio pundit and newspaper columnist.

That was greatest illustrated in 2006 when James had an explosive on-air argument with Robbie Savage over Savage’s choice to retire from worldwide soccer.

James additionally labored as a lollipop man at Penyrheol Major Faculty in Swansea, however suffered a stroke in 2014.

Swansea’s gamers will put on black armbands as they pay respects to James at Huddersfield on Saturday, 20 April, as will their under-21s as they host Bristol Metropolis on the identical day.

Likewise Burnley’s gamers will accomplish that within the Premier League at Sheffield United.

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