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Soccer greats set to pay tribute to Tom Finney

Action: Tom Finneys iconic splash

Action: Tom Finneys iconic splash

Two of British football’s greats will pay a moving tribute to Sir Tom Finney at his funeral tomorrow.

Former England captain Jimmy Armfield is due to give an address at Preston Minster during the service.

And Sir Tom’s former team mate Tommy Docherty will give a eulogy in the church.

Armfield, who played for Preston North End’s rivals Blackpool, was a close friend of Sir Tom.

And Docherty, who played in the same Preston side as the North End legend, went on to manage the club, briefly, in the 1980s.

Speaking ahead of the funeral, Armfield said: “He, in my opinion, is one of the really great footballers that this country has produced.

“Even going back to his early days, the Italians tried to snatch him away from England - but he wouldn’t leave Preston. He was a loyalist as well.

“As much as anything else, and it’s hard to explain to many people today, but it was the way he played and the way he carried himself - his whole demeanour of life.”

And Docherty described Sir Tom as “the Lionel Messi of his day”.

He said: “I think he’s the best ever. He was Preston North End. He was such a lovely man and I never heard anyone say a disrespectful word about him.”

The funeral is due to begin at 1pm tomorrow, and will be shown on a big screen at Deepdale. With the Minster set to be full, North End have agreed to open the stadium to well-wishers, who will be able to watch the service live.

While the screening will be free, it will be ticket only. Officials said 3,500 tickets had been allocated by 5pm yesterday for those planning to pay their respects from Deepdale.

The cortege is due to pass Deepdale at about 12.15, and is expected to reach the Minster by 12.50.

Church Street is due to be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from 8am, and the junction of Church Street and Lancaster Road will be closed from about 10.30am.

There will also be a rolling road block in operation.

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