Thursday, 23 September 2010

RIP - Bobby Smith : Spurs & England

I read with interest and admiration the articles praising Bobby Smith after his sad death yesterday.
I watched Bobby on TV during his Spurs and England days but he was in the Spurs team in the away FA Cup game January 961 when we lost 3-2 (I remember it as a thrilling game with my hero Sam Lawrie keeping us in the game just after half time). Unusually, he did not score against us.
His record spoke for itself; 208 goals in 317 games.
Like Puskas, he appeared to be a portly figure, but that was deceptive as he was solid (prob. from his days down the pit) and had a genuine turn of speed. As my knowledge of his play is confined primarily to the TV, I will leave Spurs fans to dissect his career, performances and skills.
He epitomised the old fashioned bustling centre forward: one who knew where the back of the net was (like our own Eddie Firmani, Stuart Leary and Derek ‘Killer’ Hales) the former two of who were around at the same time.
Bobby was the son of a miner and I suspect (but don’t know) he prob. liked a pint, like ‘Killer’ (as it’s rumoured!). Like ‘Killer’ (and perhaps less like Eddie and Stuart), he took little nonsense from defenders and made them pay for any indiscretions. As the Daily Telegraph reports: “Smith recalled a conversation he had had with Spurs manager Bill Nicholson prior to Spurs' 5-1 win in the 1963 European Cup Winners Final against Atletico Madrid: "Bill Nick told me that their centre-half would come up and hit me hard the first time. And he did. The second time he tried it, I elbowed him in the gut. The ref came up to me and said 'Well done!'"
Those were the days: when referees invigilated more in the mould of a rugby official, letting the game proceed without incessant interruptions and treating players as grown men rather than the over protected, overpaid prima donnas of today’s game with their coloured plastic boots.
Thanks Bobby for gracing our game and providing so much entertainment.

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