John Smith (football chairman)

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Sir John Smith
Chairman of Liverpool F.C.
In office
Preceded byEric Roberts
Succeeded byNoel White
Personal details
Born(1920-11-06)6 November 1920
Died13 January 1995(1995-01-13) (aged 74)
Gayton, Merseyside, England
Spouse(s)Doris Parfitt (1944–1995; his death)

Sir John Wilson Smith CBE DL (6 November 1920 – 31 January 1995) was the chairman of Liverpool F.C. from 1973 to 1990.[1][2]

Liverpool F.C.[edit]

John Smith was chairman of Liverpool Football Club for 17 years from 1973 and during this period they embarked on their most successful era. By the time he stepped down in 1990, the club had amassed eleven Football League championships, four European Cups, two UEFA Cups and three FA Cups. He first joined the Liverpool board in 1971 as a director and ran the club in tandem with longtime club secretary Peter Robinson. Smith was a stout defender of The Boot Room system of promoting managers from within the club, he appointed assistant manager Bob Paisley to succeed Bill Shankly in 1974 and followed this by appointing Paisley's assistant Joe Fagan to manager in 1983. The appointment of club centre forward Kenny Dalglish to player manager in 1985 broke away from the line of succession but heralded in another period of unbroken success. Dalglish had been signed as a player by Smith in 1977 and was described as "the best we ever had". Smith also played a pivotal role in the acceptance of shirt sponsorship in British football in the early 1980s. As well as overseeing Liverpool's glories of the 1970s and 1980s, he also oversaw the Hillsborough disaster in April 1989, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans at an FA Cup semi-final tie.[3]

Personal life[edit]

John married Doris Mabell Parfitt in 1946, and remained married to her until his death in 1995.

Smith was knighted in 1989 "for services to sport".[4]


  • “We’re a very very modest club. We don’t talk. We don’t boast. But we’re very professional”
  • "There is something they call, The Liverpool Way"
  • "The ground was not good enough for an ordinary match, let alone a final."


  1. ^ Fox, Norman (2 February 1995). "Sir John Smith : OBITUARIES". London: Independent. Retrieved 24 April 2011.
  2. ^ "The battle for Anfield", Director, July–August 2010, archived from the original on 15 December 2010, retrieved 15 May 2011
  3. ^ King, Anthony (2002), The end of the terraces: the transformation of English football in the 1990s, London: Leicester University Press, retrieved 15 May 2011
  4. ^ "(Supplement) no. 51981. p. 2"., London Gazette. 29 December 1989. Retrieved 18 April 2015.