James Alexander Arnold
b. Stafford 6 August 1950
Debut 18 August 1979 (29y 12d) Final Game 2 May 1981 (30y 269d)
CAREER:Rising Brook; Stafford Rangers; Sandbach Ramblers ’72 (loan);Blackburn Rovers Jun'79 (£20,000);Everton Aug'81 (£175,000);Preston North End Aug'81 (loan);Port Vale Oct'82 (free);Kidderminster Harriers;Rochester;Workington;Blackburn Rovers Mar'90-May'90;Stoke City (reserves).
HONOURS UEFA Cp win '85 (Everton) (nps).
FL 58 apps
FAC 7 apps
FLC 3 apps
Total 68 apps et 30m
Penalty record F 3 Sc 2 Sv 1
Statistically Arnold's spell at Blackburn is never likely to be exceeded. His concession rate was a goal every 150 minutes, his clean sheet percentage was 57 and he once went 556 minutes without conceding a goal. Defensively the club were impressive but some of the credit for that was due to Arnold. It appeared to be a huge gamble when the new manager, Howard Kendall, paid £20,000 for a man who was nearly 29 and had never played in the Football League. However as coach at Stoke he had observed him playing at nearby Stafford and was confident of his ability. He proved a good judge. Arnold was an immaculate goalkeeper, sure handed, agile and confident of his angles and technique. Perhaps of all Blackburn goalkeepers he was the most error free. Promotion back to the Second Division came in his first season and the following year promotion to the First Division was lost on goal difference. There was to be no third season because Kendall moved to Everton and took Arnold with him. Strangely the player was never the same again and his career faded until he retired to become the recreation officer for Stafford Police. He had a last fleeting contact with the Rovers when he was signed to provide emergency cover in 1990 but he was never called upon. He had commenced his career with a low profile and after signing for Stafford was allowed to go out on loan. However at the end of October 1972 the first team goalkeeper, Milan Aleksic, was injured and Arnold was summoned back to make his first team debut. His performance against Wigan was astonishing and guaranteed that the club progressed him rapidly into a regular first team position.
Edited by OnePhilT