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Ex-England, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Bournemouth player dies age 67

Ex-England, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Bournemouth player David Armstrong dies age 67, confirmed by his former clubs on Sunday.

Boro, where he spent a decade of his career from 1971 to 1981, issued a statement announcing his death on their club website.

Armstrong played most of his career for Middlesbrough (from 1972 to 1981), before moving to Southampton in August 1981, where he played for a further six seasons. He finished his league career with AFC Bournemouth in 1987–88.

He was part of the Middlesbrough side of the 1970s which was then managed by Jack Charlton, winning the Second Division title and was a consistent Division One team for most of the decade. Towards the end of his time at Middlesbrough, he gained his first England cap.

At Ayresome Park, Armstrong was noted for his remarkable durability – for many years he was ever-present in the number 11 shirt, and as a testament to this was given a testimonial whilst aged only 25. He holds the Boro’ record for most consecutive appearances with 305 consecutive league games and 358 consecutive games in all competitions between March 1972 and August 1980.

He signed for Southampton in August 1981 and netted 15 league goals in his first season alongside Kevin Keegan, as the Saints led the table for most of the first three months of 1982 before finishing 7th. He nearly earned another league title medal again in 1984, as the Saints finished runners-up to Liverpool in the league and were also semi-finalists in the FA Cup. He scored 15 league goals again. And in 1984–85, he scored 10 times in the league and the Saints finished fifth. He helped Southampton reach another FA Cup semi-final in 1985–86, and again totalled 10 goals in the league.

However, he was dropped from the team during the 1986–87 season, scoring just once in 22 league games. At the end of that season, he dropped down a division to sign for AFC Bournemouth, where he spent one season before retiring as a player. At Southampton, he had scored 59 league goals in six seasons.

He was Southampton FC’s Player of the Season in 1983–1984, and he also made three appearances for the England international team between 1980 and 1984.


The club is saddened to learn of the passing of the legendary David “Spike” Armstrong.

Durham-born David is eighth in the list of all-time leading appearance makers for the club having pulled on a Boro shirt 431 times.

He joined the club in 1971 and made his debut against Blackpool in April 1972. He went on to be an ever-present in Jack Charlton’s promotion winning side of 1973/74 and also went on to play for England.

David holds the club record for the most consecutive league appearances, having made 305 between March 1973 and August 1980. In total, he made 358 consecutive appearances for Boro during that time.

He also scored 77 goals for the club before he joined Southampton in 1981. He made a further 271 appearances for the Saints before joining Bournemouth in 1987 for one final season.

David was 67. The thoughts of everyone connected with MFC are with his family and friends at this time.


Southampton Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of its former player, David Armstrong, aged 67.

One of the finest midfielders ever to feature for the club, Armstrong made 272 appearances for Saints from 1981 to 1987, scoring 71 goals in that time.

He was a key part of the team that finished second in the First Division in the 1983/84 campaign, narrowly being pipped to the title by Liverpool, and it was testament to his influence that he was voted Player of the Season that year.

Durham-born Armstrong, who earned three England caps during his career, had joined Saints for a fee of £600,000 from Middlesbrough, where he had achieved legendary status, playing an incredible 431 times for the club.

He would become equally indispensable on the south coast, establishing himself as a firm fan favourite at The Dell, as he helped the club enjoy one of the greatest eras in its history.

After leaving Southampton, Armstrong concluded his playing career with a short spell at AFC Bournemouth, but he remained well connected to the club, including a spell working as a summariser on local radio for Saints games.

Everyone at Southampton wishes to extend their condolences to David’s loved ones, who our thoughts are very much with at this time.

Twitter users reacted as ex-England, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Bournemouth player dies age 67…

@SpikeArmstrong: The club needs to do something for him.. he was an unbelievable servant the this club..

@dan_stubbings: Gutted is an understatement. Can’t believe this news. My dad is heartbroken.

@Gibson_Is_King: Very sad news this. RIP Spike

@Tony_H58: A star of the side I remember so well. Condolences to family and friends. RIP Spike 😪

@martyd1969: Great player for Saints, remember his last minute winner against Man U in a 3-2 win

@Stephen76003248: Oh, I am so devastated at this news, he along with David Mills were my heroes as I started watching @Boro. This is a sad day. A true Boro great.

@jefferies918: David “Spike” Armstrong an absolute legend for Boro. RIP.

@LeonKing2929: Legend for Boro and Saints 😇 Wonderful player with an amazing left foot and happy knack of scoring important goals. Absolute gentleman too RIP 🙁

@scraggytees: First real Boro hero for me, quality midfielder with a great left foot, RIP #Spike

@Foggs101: Sad news, the original Boro no. 11 for me. Always there for us in the Big Jack team, 100 % pro….. squeeze into the Bob end, sat on the concrete barrier with my dad watching us win the league by a mile in 73/74. RIP David, Boro legend and gentleman #UTB

@BigWraca: I Grew up watching this left footed maestro’s pin point passing, a king pin in big Jacks legendary Promotion team, a ever present stalwart for Boro. I honestly can’t remember leaving the ground complaining about his effort or performance RIP Spike

@archie0778: Very sad news indeed, great player and club legend 😢 #onceasaintalwaysasaint

@daneharper: No way. No way. So sad. One of the heroes of a great team. Underrated outside of his clubs….should have had a ton of England caps. Tonights and love to those he leaves behind. Another boyhood hero gone. gutted.

@NoSauceAtAll: A great player in a great Southampton team. Loved watching them when I was growing up. Very sad news x

@RedAlert1963: Thoughts with David’s family, friends and former team mates & supporters of all the Clubs he played for with distinction. YNWA David may you RIP. Thanks for the memories

@mawnansmith: I was introduced to David when he visited the Hampshire Chronicle and I thoroughly enjoyed a long conversation with him, a great man and a great servant to the Saints and Boro. RIP David and thanks for the memories 💔

@skate_hater: RIP David. One of my favourite memories was always slapping him on the back every time he took a corner at the Milton end as a lad.

@loulou14880990: The lad from Durham that made it as a pro ( I was gutted as a kid you never played for the toon wasn’t meant to be) my dad Joe was proud of what you achieved, be at peace uncle David ❤️❤️

@MarkBKyle1: Can we have a minutes applause on Saturday please?

@cg9841: So sad one of my all time favourite saints player. 💔

@Saintwalker1: I will alway remember my first game at the dell. Dave running down the left wing and crossing in for a goal. Don’t know opposition/score but I was then hooked. Thank you David Armstrong, your family are in my thoughts #onceasaintalwaysasaint

@Stuart_Duncan71: What a player. Box to box and always looking to make a positive pass. Instrumental to the success of the early 80s team. Thanks for the memories Dave. 🔴⚪️⚫️

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