Small in stature Jimmy was a real giant on the football field

Lancaster Lads Club Old Boys pictured in season 1959-60, champions of Division I of the North Lancashire & District Football League for the first time in their history.'Back Row: Dick Bradley, Les Sallis, Jimmy Fagan, Bill Aspinall, Peter Bleasdale, Jimmy Downham, Gerry Jones (referee)'Front Row: Bill Leece (committee), Terry Ainsworth, Alan Newton, Dave Bamber, Walter Halbard, Jimmy Woods, Tony Wyeth

Lancaster Lads Club Old Boys pictured in season 1959-60, champions of Division I of the North Lancashire & District Football League for the first time in their history.'Back Row: Dick Bradley, Les Sallis, Jimmy Fagan, Bill Aspinall, Peter Bleasdale, Jimmy Downham, Gerry Jones (referee)'Front Row: Bill Leece (committee), Terry Ainsworth, Alan Newton, Dave Bamber, Walter Halbard, Jimmy Woods, Tony Wyeth

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Jimmy Fagan was born on August 10 1935 in Knotty Ash, Liverpool, and attended St Dominic’s Primary School, Huyton, and then Finch Road Secondary School before leaving education six months after his fourteenth birthday.

Knotty Ash is a small area on the eastern fringe of Liverpool and is near the West Derby, Old Swan, Broadgreen, Dovecot and Huyton districts.

Jimmy Fagan at home in Knotty Ash. Jimmy is pictured in his back garden, standing in front of fencing that was made from an old bomb shelter.

Jimmy Fagan at home in Knotty Ash. Jimmy is pictured in his back garden, standing in front of fencing that was made from an old bomb shelter.

Its name is derived from a gnarled ash tree which formerly stood near the Knotty Ash public house.

Jimmy vividly remembers collecting shrapnel from the many bomb sites around the city when he was a youngster.

His grandmother was blind and she lived in the basement of a four storey terraced house where she plied her trade as a moneylender.

His grandfather’s name, believe it or not, was Johnny Walker and although he was a Scot he wasn’t related to the famous whisky distiller. Jimmy’s Irish descendants came from County Cork in the Republic of Ireland.

His first job after leaving school was on a milk round where he pulled the milk cart round the streets of Liverpool.

From there he went to work down at the docks for a cattle food company and he made sure the bottom of his trousers were always tied up because of the rats that infested the place.

At 18 he joined the army and reported to Bowerham Barracks, Lancaster, for his national service duties, where he played football as a right full back with future England international Jimmy Armfield at centre forward, roles that were soon reversed.

He was later transferred to Fulwood Barracks, Preston, but met his future wife, Helen, at the Floral Hall, Morecambe, and they married in 1956.

He never returned to Liverpool but instead fell in love with Lancaster.

It was during this period that he was invited for a trial with Sheffield United whose manager was Joe Mercer and described by Jimmy as a true gentleman.

In August 1957 along with many other budding players he had a trial for Lancaster City but in season 1958-59 elected to play for the Lancaster Lads Club Old Boys where for many years he was the outstanding centre forward of his generation in the North Lancs League.

In a 2010 football survey Jimmy polled the highest number of points from those who played with him and against him for so many years and was selected as the best centre forward in the North Lancs League in the 25 years after World War II. He was a player of finesse who with deft touches unselfishly brought his colleagues into the play and he scored many goals of exquisite quality.

Lancaster Lads Club’s highly regarded coach, Jimmy Downham, rated Jimmy highly and described his partnership with teenager Terry Ainsworth as the best he had ever seen. Although small in stature he was a giant on the field and his reputation was further enhanced by the plaudits he received from his opponents. Jimmy moved to Newton and played in another highly talented team before finally finishing his playing career at the Royal Albert Hospital.