Liverpool, 5.4. 1945
Tommy Smith joined the Anfield ground staff at the age of 15 and was deposited into the club's hands with a request from his mother for Shankly to look after him. Mrs. Smith needn't have worried. For the better part of the next two decades it was her son who would be taking care of those around him in one sense, and those who threatened his team's goal in entirely another.
He was handed his first-team debut when he just was
17. He persisted with the approach to make up for his lack of first hand
knowledge of life in the top league. Tommy knew that his strength was,
quite literally, his strength.
Tommy's positional play enabled him to perform an
impressively lengthy period at the highest level without being
embarrassed by his lack of pace. His good control, sound passing and
measured excursions into enemy territory never went amiss either.
The Anfield Iron never shouted less when he wasn't
captain. With a bark as fierce as his bite, he continued bellowing his
defence into line as the elder statesman of Bob Paisley's first teams.
As 1976-77 season began with Tommy in his 32nd year, Paisley let him
know that he was unlikely to be more than a stand-in and Smithy
announced he would hang up his boots at the campaign's end.
Tommy Smith retired the year after. He had given his
all for Liverpool Football Club.
Thor Zakariassen ©