Shortly after the arrival of Howard Kendall as manager in the summer of 1981 from Blackburn Rovers, Jim Arnold followed his former boss from East Lancashire in a move that surprised many Blues fans.
Having already signed Neville Southall from Bury and with Irish international Jim McDonough in his squad, the addition of a third goalkeeper may have raised some eyebrows. McDonough was sold to Bolton Wanderers shortly after Arnold’s arrival, and the former Blackburn keeper, it became clear, had been brought in to add some experience while Southall honed his rare, raw talent.
A former England amateur international, Arnold was a late arrival in professional football, not making his league debut until his late twenties. A capable goalkeeper and decent shot-stopper, he opened the 1981/82 campaign, losing his place to Southall in the second half of the season, before reclaiming it again the following year. Ultimately the prodigious Welshman’s talent shone through and Arnold was relegated to his understudy. He continued to provide goalkeeping cover until August 1985 when he moved to Port Vale to conclude his league career.