I’m so, so sorry. We’ve been a bit busy at DDP Towers recently, and as a result are so late on Tommy Smith’s obituary that the newspapers have already moved on from paying tribute to the legendary Liverpool defender and are now reminding everyone that he was a big old racist. A racist Liverpool legend, who’d have thought it…
When he wasn’t busy hating black people, Smith was one of the hardest defenders this country has ever produced. Tales of “The Anfield Iron” intimidating opponents are manyfold – he handed Jimmy Greaves the hospital food menu from Liverpool Infirmary as they were walking down the tunnel before one match.
Between 1962 and 1978, as a key marshal of both the Shankly and Paisley years, Smith won four league titles, two UEFA Cups and the European Cup – scoring the winner against Borussia Mönchengladbach in 1977. However, his large frame and habit for leaving “mementos” on opponents’ shins and ankles meant he only ever received a single England cap.
After retirement he briefly ran Beatles breeding ground The Cavern Club before settling into a more familiar path of newspaper columns and after-dinner speaking. He suffered a heart attack in 2007 and his health never really recovered, with a 2014 announcement revealing he was one of many 60s-era pros who were now suffering with dementia. Still, he probably remembered he hated black people until his dying day.