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Denis Smith
Personal information
Full name Denis Smith
Date of birth 19 November 1947 (1947-11-19) (age 62)
Place of birth    Stoke-on-Trent, England
Playing position Defender (retired)
Senior career1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1966-1982
1982-1983
Stoke City
York City
407 (49)
037 0(5)   
Teams managed
1982-1987
1987-1991
1992-1993
1993-1997
1998-1999
2000
2001-2007
York City
Sunderland
Bristol City
Oxford United
West Bromwich Albion
Oxford United
Wrexham

1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only.
* Appearances (Goals)

Denis Smith (born 19 November 1947 in Stoke-on-Trent) is an English football manager and former player.

Contents

Playing career

Smith began his playing career with Stoke City on leaving school in 1964 and played 493 games for the club until hanging up his boots in 1982 having scored 41 goals. During his time at Stoke he helped them to League Cup victory in 1972. Many Stoke fans consider him to be amongst their true greats, a local legend. Smith has often declined a return to Stoke as a manager.

Management

He moved into management with York City after ending his playing career and in January 1985 guided the Third Division club to a famous victory over Arsenal in the FA Cup Fourth Round. In the next round York drew 1-1 at home with Liverpool, before losing 7-0 away at Anfield. The previous season, under Smith's guidance York became the first English club to reach 100 points when they romped away with the Fourth Division Championship. He remained at Bootham Crescent until the summer of 1987 when he moved to Sunderland who had just been relegated to the Third Division for the first time in their history. This was a surprise choice to many York fans as Smith had been lucky to keep his job that season as York finished one place above relegation.

In his first season at Sunderland he guided them to the Third Division championship and promotion with a record 101 points. They achieved a top-half finish in the 1988–89 Second Division campaign and reaching the playoff final in 1989–90. They lost 1–0 to Swindon Town but were promoted a month later when Swindon were found guilty of financial irregularities and remained in the Second Division. Sunderland struggled throughout 1990–91 and their battle against relegation from the First Division was lost on the last day of the season. Smith's side performed inconsistently on their return to the Second Division and with the team struggling near the foot of the table, he was sacked at the end of December 1991. He was replaced by Malcolm Crosby (initially on a 'caretaker' basis) and Sunderland subsequently reached that season's FA Cup Final where they lost to Liverpool.

Smith was soon back in the game as manager of Bristol City in the new Division One. But the club never looked like gaining promotion to the new FA Premier League and Denis Smith resigned in May 1993. He made a return to management with Oxford United the following October but was unable to save them from relegation to Division Two.

In 1994–95, Oxford United just missed out on the Division Two playoffs but in 1995–96 were promoted back to Division One as runners-up of Division Two. They achieved a mid-table finish in the 1996–97 Division One campaign but Smith resigned the following December with the club £10 million in debt—a financial crisis which lasted until the end of 2000–01, by which time the club had been relegated to Division Three.

Smith was appointed manager of West Bromwich Albion two days before Christmas in 1997. He could only guide Albion to two mid-table finishes in Division One and was sacked in July 1999.

In February 2000, Denis Smith was appointed manager of Oxford United for the second time in seven years. He saved the club from relegation to Division Three but resigned after a terrible start to 2000–01, a season which ended in Oxford getting relegated.[1]

Smith made his return to management in October 2001 with Wrexham, replacing Brian Flynn who had resigned after 12 years in charge. He was unable to save the club from relegation to Division Three and his task for restoring the club's fortunes was made all the harder by the collapse of ITV Digital which left Wrexham with virtually no funds for buying new players with. But he proved all the odds wrong at the end of the 2002–03 season, when Wrexham finished third in Division Three and claimed the last automatic promotion place to Division Two. As credit for his achievements he won the League Managers Association Manager of the Year Award for the second time in his managerial career — he had won it 19 years earlier when guiding York City to the Fourth Division championship in 1984.

The 2004-05 season was extremely difficult for Wrexham, thanks to behind the scenes manoeuverings by club chairman Alex Hamilton who was trying to evict the club from its ground (now owned by another of his companies), and the club was placed in Administration to escape its creditors, becoming the first club to suffer a consequential deduction of ten points, which saw the club relegated at the end of the season. Despite having to operate a hand-to-mouth cash-only existence, Smith still managed to take Wrexham to victory in the LDV Vans Trophy. Wrexham's finances were still causing difficulty in 2005-06, and Smith was unable to guide the club to anything more than a mid table finish. With Wrexham hovering above the relegation zone, Smith and assistant Kevin Russell were sacked in January 2007.[2]

In November 2008 Smith saw his autobiography released entitled "Just One Of Seven".

Managerial stats

Team From To Record
G W L D Win %
York City 15 May 1982 9 June 1987 258 120 79 59 46.51
Sunderland 9 June 1987 30 December 1991 229 87 79 63 37.99
Bristol City 9 March 1992 21 February 1993 48 15 21 12 31.25
Oxford United 10 September 1993 24 December 1997 240 96 85 59 40.00
West Bromwich Albion 1 January 1998 27 July 1999 72 22 31 19 30.55
Oxford United 3 February 2000 2 October 2000 30 8 19 3 26.66
Wrexham 8 October 2001 11 January 2007 278 101 109 68 36.33

References

  1. ^ "Smith quits as Oxford boss". BBC Sport article. 2000-10-02. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/teams/o/oxford_utd/953416.stm. Retrieved 2007-04-27.  
  2. ^ Smith and Russell depart Wrexham

External links

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