54-cap international footballer dies aged 71

Leighton JamesLeighton James
Leighton James | Getty Images
Former Swansea City and Burnley winger Leighton James has died at the age of 71

Former 54-cap Welsh international footballer and ex-Burnley, Queens Park Rangers and Swansea City star Leighton James has died at the age of 71.

A nomadic winger, James played for no less than seven clubs over the course of his professional career - he also spent three different spells at Burnley, making 399 league appearances for the Clarets. He also turned out for the likes of Newport County, Bury and Sunderland.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Following the end of his playing career, James made several forays into senior team management. He was the head coach of clubs such as Gainsborough Trinity, Accrington Stanley and Llanelli Town - his last job as a manager came at Haverfordwest County in 2011. Additionally, he also worked as a pundit for the BBC and Real Radio.

On the international stage, James was a regular member of the Wales squad during his career. He won 54 caps for the Dragons, scoring 10 goals - he also captained his country on a single occasion.

A statement on Swansea’s official club website following James’ death on Friday, April 19 reads: “Swansea City is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Leighton James at the age of 71.

“The gifted winger, widely regarded as one of the Swans’ finest players, was a key figure in the side that secured a first-ever promotion to the top-flight in 1981, scoring a stunning goal in the victory over Preston North End at Deepdale to complete the club’s rise. The thoughts of everyone at Swansea City are with Leighton’s friends and family at this sad time.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Burnley chairman Alan Pace said: “We are sorry to hear the news of Leighton’s passing. He left an indelible mark on this football club and stories of his playing skills still echo around Turf Moor. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.