Harold Smith (football)

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For other people named Harold Smith, see Harold Smith (disambiguation).

Harold Smith (1916 – 9 August 2006) was a director and vice president of Ipswich Town Football Club.

Biography[edit]

Born at 43 Anglesea Road, Ipswich in 1916, Smith attended his first football match at Portman Road as a seven-year-old boy in 1924 when he saw Ipswich Town play the "Aquaries", a club representing the Metropolitan Water Board in the Southern Amateur Football League. He became a season ticket holder later that year. His family moved round the corner to Warrington Road and he attended the nearby Ipswich School, which was a boys grammar school at the time. He joined the Royal Air Force at the outbreak of World War II and served for the duration of the war before returning to Ipswich to establish a car showroom and workshops on Felixstowe Road. The business flourished and Smith's gregarious nature and commitment to customer care also served him well as chairman of Ipswich Chamber of Trade and as a member of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. He drew wry amusement when strangers mistook him for the London motor dealer Harold Smith who lost an oft-cited court case in 1965 for misrepresenting the mileage on a car (Bentley (Dick) Productions Ltd v Harold Smith (Motors) Ltd [1965] 2 All ER 65).

Smith was a passionate supporter of ITFC, attending almost every game including home reserve team and youth fixtures for over eighty years. In 1964 he accepted an invitation from John Cobbold to become a director of Ipswich Town Football Club, a position he held for 31 years until he became the Club's Vice President in 1995. He served as Suffolk's representative on the Football Association Council and was chairman of the FA's Disciplinary Committee for over a decade. Smith's wife Edna shared his enthusiasm for football in general, and ITFC in particular, but she rarely travlled with him to matches.

With ITFC's entry into the UEFA Cup in the early 1970s Smith began travelling to continental Europe with his fellow directors and other supporters. The bonhomie of the club won it many friends and Smith was proud to have been involved in the recruitment of Dutch stars Frans Thijssen and Arnold Mühren, whom he considered to be among the most entertaining players he ever saw.

Smith's last visit to Portman Road was at the season opener just a few days before his death. He enjoyed a conversation with his old friend Bobby Robson, recently appointed Club President, before the game.

Legacy[edit]

On 15 January 2007 Ipswich Town Football Club announced that they had named a new trophy in Smith's honour. The Harold Smith Trophy for Most Promising Academy Player is awarded each season to the youngster showing greatest promise in the club's youth organisation. The club also gave two complimentary season tickets in Smith's name to the Park House Hotel, Sandringham, Norfolk—a hotel that provides disabled guests and care givers with holiday accommodation.

References[edit]

  • 'Blues King Harold', Ipswich World 19 August 2006 p. 43
  • 'Tributes to Town stalwart at funeral', Evening Star, August 23, 2006 p. 4