In Memory of Leighton James

Leighton James was born on the 16th February 1953 in the Llwchwyr (Loughor) area of Swansea.

He began his professional career with Burnley and made his league debut against Nottingham Forest in November 1970.

Leighton soon gained his first full international cap when, aged just 18, he represented Wales against Czechoslovakia.

He moved on to Derby County in 1975 for a fee of £300,000.

Two years later, Leighton arrived at Loftus Road in a deal involving Don Masson and made his league debut at Loftus Road on 29th October against West Brom.

The following month Leighton scored one of the goals in the 2-0 home win over Liverpool.

His final appearance for the R’s came the following season, coincidently against the Baggies, on 22nd August.

After completing 33 appearances, and scoring six goals, Leighton moved back to Burnley in September for a reported fee of £165,000.

He was capped 54 times and scored ten goals for his country.

Leighton went on to play for the likes of Swansea City, Sunderland, Bury and Newport County.

At the end of his playing career, Leighton was appointed the head of the Burnley youth team.

Later, he went on to manage a number of clubs, including; Morecambe, Accrington Stanley, Llanelli and Haverfordwest County.

Leighton became a well-known football pundit, and he was also a rugby commentator for a time.

He suffered a stroke in 2014 and sadly passed away ten years later in Cwmrhydyceirw, Swansea, on 19th April, aged 71.

Rest in Peace.

Steve Russell

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