Author Topic: Tommy Smith - Can at least we as Liverpudlians get it right about him  (Read 21921 times)

Offline Redsnappa

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Re: Tommy Smith - Can at least we as Liverpudlians get it right about him
« Reply #80 on: November 25, 2017, 11:22:32 AM »
Nice piece by Mike Nevin's Dad on Tommy and an excellent appraisal of just how good he was in the comments below ...

Offline shaneynwa

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Re: Tommy Smith - Can at least we as Liverpudlians get it right about him
« Reply #81 on: April 12, 2019, 06:36:43 PM »


Online itsalltosh

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Re: Tommy Smith - Can at least we as Liverpudlians get it right about him
« Reply #82 on: April 12, 2019, 07:11:17 PM »
RIP Tommy who gave me great memories as a Red but also playing for Swansea later in his career still intimidating opposition players.

Offline sms1986

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Offline JohnnoWhite

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Re: Tommy Smith - Can at least we as Liverpudlians get it right about him
« Reply #84 on: April 13, 2019, 02:10:02 PM »
Harinder's post about who ranks as Liverpool's finest ever centre back revealed to me just how seemingly unaware the internet fan-base has become about one of Liverpool's finest ever players. I'm sure a corresponding unawareness exists in respect of other stalwarts from yesteryear but nowhere is it exemplified more than in the case of Tommy Smith.

For that reason I'm of the mind that Tommy Smith merits a thread of his own for those who did see him week in week out during his mid '60's halcyon days to reminisce and celebrate the joys of his unique talents, whilst at the same time perhaps at long last going a small way towards correcting the imbalance which seems to colour the perception of Tommy Smith the footballer.

There exists amongst many Liverpudlians - including many who witnessed only his later '70's years in the right back role - let alone amongst the wider footballing fraternity a kind of ultra-convenient one dimensional categorising of Tommy Smith as simply the hard man. Indeed, the absence of wall-to-wall television back then seems to have 'airbrushed' the footballing side of Tommy Smith from even Liverpool footballing history let alone that of English/European football.

Fact was whilst not "quite" possessed of the supercool elegance of Alan Hansen or Franz Beckebauer, Smithy was actually as good as if not a better all round footballer than Jocky and not a million miles off the level of the Kaiser.

The convenient stereotyping dictates will always be Smithy the iron man, the hard man, the bully. There's no doubting he was all that. And more besides. The hardest around. Ron Harris and Norman Hunter really don't come close to Smith's level of on pitch toughness. However, the hard man image doesn't begin to do justice to Smith's all round footballing abilities during that initial 4/5 year mid '60's spell when he wore the number 10 jersey alongside big Rowdy just as we were embarking on our inaugural European adventures.

There are glimpses of the sort of on the ball skills to which I'm referring in the television snatches of the Inter Milan semi final and the '65 FA Cup final. They reveal a beautifully balanced powerful and skilful player driving forward out of defence able to ghost past the opposition and deliver inch perfect weighted passes. These surges invariably followed yet another crunching tackle  or Masherano type interception in which he'd taken the ball [yeah and often the man too].

As one of the privileged ones who watched him week in week out I can vouch Smithy made those sort of surges with a frequency and success rate that Jocky Hansen could only dream of emulating some 15 years or so later.

Allied to these under-appreciated ball playing skills were his unparralled tackling skills, sound ariel ability, innate game reading and organisational ability, peerless leadership, bravery and an inspirational never say die indomitable spirit leaving me with not the slightest hesitation in putting Tommy Smith not only right up at the top of my own list of Liverpool centre backs by some distance but also in the very highest echelon of Liverpool's finest ever players in any position.

A well-presented, shrewd and perfect encapsulation of the merits of the man who was very wrongly branded a "dirty" player. I'm as many here will already know, a United fan who appreciates and has always appreciated master craftsmen about their trade. Tommy Smith was one such and for a lot of Liverpool's glory years. I'd go as far as to say there was a period when no-one could equal him in the middle of the park. So very sad to hear of his untimely leaving but ever ready to mark his massive contribution to the Liverpool cause over all the years of success.
Finally, there may have been other non-football things that could be questionable about his remarks and views off the park but never on it. The fella was imperious.
This little anecdote that did the rounds back in the day perfectly sums up the Anfield Iron.
"Tommy missed the 1978 European Cup Final after tripping over a pickaxe at home and injuring his foot. The pickaxe was a write-off". Rest in peace fella.
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Offline Rick13

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Re: Tommy Smith - Can at least we as Liverpudlians get it right about him
« Reply #85 on: April 17, 2019, 11:30:58 AM »
Well said, Johnno and Timbo.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tommy at the PFA awards dinner in 1997 (I got my ticket from a journalist friend). Thanked Tommy for sending me an autographed photo of himself back in 1970 after I had written to him from Ireland; I was so thrilled to receive it and still have it today. Found him very affable and remember him telling a shocked me about the strained relationship he had with Emlyn Hughes during their playing days. Really down-to-earth guy.

Rest In Peace, Tommy. Thanks for all the wonderful memories you gave me as a teenager.
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