Trevor Smith (footballer)

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Trevor Smith
Personal information
Full name Trevor Smith
Date of birth (1936-04-13)13 April 1936
Place of birth Brierley Hill, England
Date of death 9 August 2003(2003-08-09) (aged 67)
Place of death Essex, England
Playing position Centre half
Youth career
1951–1953 Birmingham City
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1953–1964 Birmingham City 365 (3)
1964–1966 Walsall 12 (0)
Total 377 (3)
National team
1955–1959 England U23 15 (0)
1955–1957 England B 2 (0)
1959 England 2 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Trevor Smith (13 April 1936 – 9 August 2003) was an English footballer who played as a centre half for Birmingham City, Walsall, and the England national football team.

Biography[edit]

Smith was born in Brierley Hill, then in Staffordshire, and attended Quarry Bank Secondary Modern School. In 1951 he captained the local schools' representative side, Brierley Hill, Sedgley and District, to their first final of the English Schools' F.A. Trophy, in which they lost to Liverpool Schools 5–3 on aggregate. A feature of the first leg, according to the Brierley Hill local newspaper, was the "solid play of the two centre-halves, Parkes for Liverpool and Smith for the home team",[1] while the match programme from the second leg described him thus:

In Trevor Smith, a tall and weighty boy (nearly twelve stones) who captains the side and plays at centre half, Brierley Hill have a sheet anchor. Few centre forwards have been happy against him this season and, in addition to his stopper role, he finds time to distribute the ball effectively to his forwards.[2]

When he left school he signed for Birmingham City as an amateur, and played for the team that won the European Youth Cup[3] (now called Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup)[4] the following year. He turned professional on reaching his 17th birthday in April 1953, and made his first-team debut for Birmingham, then in the Second Division, six months later, scoring an own goal in a 4–2 win at Derby County.[5] Apart from interruptions due to injury or to National Service obligations, he was a regular choice for the first team from then on.

Smith's career at Birmingham coincided with probably the best period in the club's history. Under the management of Arthur Turner, they won promotion to the First Division in 1954–55, reached the FA Cup Final and achieved their highest ever finishing position (sixth place) the following season, and then the FA Cup semifinal in 1957, only to lose to Manchester United's "Busby Babes". They went on to play on the losing side in two successive Inter-Cities Fairs Cup finals,[6][7] under Smith's captaincy. The club's success during this period was built on a solid defence, comprising a first-choice selection of international players Gil Merrick, Jeff Hall, Ken Green and Smith himself, together with wing-halves Len Boyd and hard-man Roy Warhurst.

Smith represented his country at schoolboy[citation needed] and youth levels, and won no fewer than 15 caps at under-23 level.[8] He was selected to represent England B against their West German counterparts when still only 18.[9] He had all the attributes necessary for a top-class centre-half. Tall and powerfully built, he was good in the air and in the tackle and read the game well,[10] combining an uncompromising physical game with good technique.[3] When the great Billy Wright retired from international football, the 23-year-old Smith was chosen to take his place, making his England debut against Wales at Ninian Park on 17 October 1959. A calf injury sustained early on which hampered his movement meant he failed to do himself justice,[11] but he kept his place for the next match, against Sweden later that month. England performed poorly overall against the Swedes, Smith and his defence failed to cope with Swedish forward Agne Simonsson,[3] and he was not chosen for his country again; Brian Clough's England career was also restricted to these same two games.[11]

By the early 1960s, Birmingham were past their best. The Cup Final team had dispersed, league form was poor, but the new League Cup competition provided some relief. In 1963 they reached the final against local rivals Aston Villa, who were hot favourites having won the league meeting two months earlier by four clear goals. However, under the captaincy of the inspirational Smith,[3] Birmingham won the home leg by a comfortable 3–1 margin, and a goalless draw in the away leg gave them their first major trophy.

At the start of the 1964–65 season, Smith lost his place through injury, and when he recovered he moved to Walsall of the Third Division for a fee of £18,000. He was able to make only 13 appearances for the club before arthritis forced his retirement in 1966 at the age of 29. Walsall were critical of Birmingham, believing they had knowingly sold them an unfit player.[5]

After leaving the game Smith went into the licensed trade, first with a pub in Tamworth, then as manager of off-licences in Birmingham and later in Dagenham. He retired to Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex and died 18 months later of lung cancer on 9 August 2003 at the age of 67.[12]

Honours[edit]

with Birmingham City

References[edit]

  1. ^ County Advertiser and Herald. 12 May 1951.  Missing or empty |title= (help), cited in Kerrigan, Colm (2004). A history of the English Schools' Football Association 1904–2004. Yore Publications. ISBN 1-874427-94-1. 
  2. ^ Match programme, E.S.F.A. Trophy Final second leg, 23 May 1951, section quoted in "The year Brierley Hill Boys just missed out on football glory". Black Country Bugle. 28 October 2004. Retrieved 3 October 2008. 
  3. ^ a b c d Ponting, Ivan (15 September 2003). "Obituary: Trevor Smith – Tough and fearless footballer for the most successful side in Birmingham City history" (REPRINT HOSTED AT NEWSBANK). The Independent (London). Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  4. ^ "Siegerliste ab 1939 (List of winners from 1939)". Blue Stars/FIFA Youth Cup official site (in German). Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  5. ^ a b Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 125. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9. 
  6. ^ Zea, Antonio & Haisma, Marcel (27 June 2007). "Fairs' Cup 1958–60". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation (RSSSF). Retrieved 11 July 2007. 
  7. ^ Zea, Antonio & Haisma, Marcel (27 June 2007). "Fairs' Cup 1960–61". RSSSF. Retrieved 11 July 2007. 
  8. ^ Courtney, Barrie (27 March 2004). "England – U-23 International Results– Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 11 July 2007. 
  9. ^ Courtney, Barrie (21 March 2004). "England – International Results B-Team – Details". RSSSF. Retrieved 11 July 2007. 
  10. ^ "Trevor Smith – Obituary" (REPRINT HOSTED AT NEWSBANK). The Times (London). 20 August 2003. Retrieved 14 June 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Giller, Norman. "England Postwar Lineups and Match Highlights Part 3: 1955–56 to 1959–60". England Football Online. Retrieved 9 July 2007. 
  12. ^ "Death from smoking – one family's story". Tendring Primary Care Trust. 1 March 2004. Archived from the original (WORD DOCUMENT) on 28 September 2007. 

External links[edit]