Football Manager Jim Smith Dies at 79
Howard Wilkinson and Harry Redknapp have led tributes to Jim Smith, the former Birmingham, Oxford, QPR, Newcastle, Portsmouth and Derby manager, who has died at the age of 79. Smith, who was affectionately known as “The Bald Eagle”, started his managerial career at Boston United in 1969 and went on to take charge of a number of clubs, including leading QPR to the League Cup final in 1986. QPR tweeted “All at QPR are deeply saddened to have learned of the passing of former QPR’s manager Jim Smith. Our thoughts are with Jim’s family at this upsetting time.”
Hall of Fame
After a long playing career, Smith made his mark as a manager including leading Birmingham into the First Division and taking Oxford into the top flight. He also served as League Managers Association (LMA) chief executive before returning to management and leading Derby to the Premier League. Smith was also inducted into the LMA Hall of Fame – 1,000 club. LMA chairman Howard Wilkinson paid tribute to Smith, saying: “Jim and I have known each other since our teenage years, and I have been in his debt since the day he asked me to become player-coach at Boston United where I served my apprenticeship. “I have so many fond memories of Jim as a football manager but foremost as a friend. He was intelligent, passionate, determined, honest and always great fun to be with. Never one to mince his words, he was a leader in the truest sense”.
Footballer and Manager
James Michael Smith was an English footballer and manager. As a player, he made 249 appearances in the Fourth Division of The Football League, representing Aldershot, Halifax Town, Lincoln City and Colchester United, and played for three-and-a-half years for Boston United of the Northern Premier “He was liked and admired by everyone around him, truly an authentic, down-to-earth gentleman”. MA chief executive Richard Bevan added: “Jim was a true friend to the LMA and will be very sorely missed by his colleagues and friends. “He was an inspiration to so many people throughout his career and a highly valued member of the LMA Hall of Fame – 1,000 Club in recognition of his contribution, achievement and legacy to the game. When Jim was approached by the LMA to become the association’s chief executive in 1995, he gladly accepted the responsibility, only relinquishing the position to return to management with Derby County”.
“Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with his wife Yvonne and all his family and friends. “Another of Smith’s former clubs, Newcastle, wrote on Twitter: “Newcastle United are sad to learn of the passing of Jim Smith, who was the Magpies’ manager between 1988 and 1991″. He was 79.