Former Wales winger Leighton James dies aged 71

  • Watch the moment Leighton James helped Wales secure their first away victory over England in 42 years.

Former Wales winger Leighton James has died at the age of 71.

James won 54 caps for Wales and scored 10 goals, including a penalty to secure victory over England at Wembley in 1977.

The winger started his career at Burnley and would also turn out for Derby County and Sunderland.

Originally from the Gorseinon area of Swansea, James was born in 1953. He would go on to represent his hometown club, the Swans, on 98 occasions, with 27 goals under his belt.

He went on to play with Bury, Newport County, and Burnley again before hanging up his boots professionally and moving into management roles.

He also took on pundit work for the BBC and was a columnist.

The Football Association of Wales said on X, formerly Twitter: "It is with great sadness that we share the news that Cymru international Leighton James has sadly passed away. "James was capped 54 times and scored 10 goals for Cymru. Amongst his most famous moments with the dragon on his shirt was scoring a penalty in a famous win over England at Wembley in 1977.""He was a star of the only Cymru team to top a qualifying group before going on to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 1976...

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time."Swansea City said they were "deeply saddened" by the news of James' passing in a statement.

"The thoughts of everyone at Swansea City are with Leighton’s friends and family at this sad time," the statement read.

"Swansea City will wear black armbands in Saturday’s Championship fixture against Huddersfield Town as a mark of respect.

"Swansea City Under-21s will also wear black armbands in their home match against Bristol City on Saturday."

The rugby club in his hometown, Gorseinon RFC, described him on X, formerly Twitter, as "a top quality sportsman", while adding that "Leighton was a true friend of the club and will be sadly missed by our members past and present.

"Our thoughts are with his family at this time."

James also played for Newport County, but made his name at Burnley. In total he played over 600 games in the English Football League.

He also managed several teams in Wales, including Llanelli and Garden Village.

Another of his former clubs, Newport County, said the club's thoughts are with his family.

On Friday evening after the news was announced, Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth described him as "One of the very best. A true star and servant of Cymru football".

Former Wales and Celtic player John Hartson said: "RIP Leighton James... what a player, remember watching him at the Vetch Field in that great Swansea team under Tosh... Thoughts are with the James family at this sad time."

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