Jim was something of a “sandwich” goalkeeper; his respectable Gunners career fell in between the legendary reigns of Jack Kelsey and Bob Wilson.
After helping Liverpool to the Second Division title in 1961/62 a broken finger saw him lose his place in the Reds’ starting line-up. Sensing an opportunity, Billy Wright moved for the keeper in November 1963.
The manager was vindicated as Furnell slotted straight in to the Gunners’ first XI, making his debut the day after he signed.
The Lancashire-born stopper was Arsenal’s No 1 for the next five season and got the nod between the sticks for the Gunners’ League Cup Final defeat against Leeds United in 1968.
But in the very next match, an FA Cup tie against Birmingham City, Jim’s mistake led to an unlikely Blues’ equaliser. He was duly dropped and never played for Arsenal’s first team again with young understudy Bob Wilson taking the mantle.
Furnell spent two seasons at Rotherham before signing for Plymouth Argyle in 1970 where he stayed until his retirement in 1976. In a 2007 web poll, Jim was named the Pilgrims’ best goalkeeper of all time.