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Jim Smith
Personal information
Full name James Michael Smith
Date of birth 17 October 1940 (1940-10-17) (age 69)
Place of birth Sheffield, England
Playing position Wing half
Club information
Current club Oxford United (director)
Youth career
1957–1959 Sheffield United
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1959–1961 Sheffield United 000 (0)
1961–1965 Aldershot 074 (1)
1965–1968 Halifax Town 113 (7)
1968–1969 Lincoln City 054 (0)
1969–1972 Boston United 00? (?)
1972–1973 Colchester United 008 (0)
Teams managed
1969–1972 Boston United (player-manager)
1972–1975 Colchester United (player-manager)
1975–1978 Blackburn Rovers
1978–1982 Birmingham City
1982–1985 Oxford United
1985–1988 Queens Park Rangers
1988–1991 Newcastle United
1991–1995 Portsmouth
1995–2001 Derby County
2006–2007 Oxford United
2008 Oxford United (caretaker)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

James Michael "Jim" Smith (born 17 October 1940) is an English former footballer and manager. As a player, he made 249 appearances in the Fourth Division of the Football League, representing Aldershot, Halifax Town, Lincoln City and Colchester United, and played for three-and-a-half years for Boston United of the Northern Premier League. He began a long managerial career with Boston United, and went on to take charge of clubs in all divisions of the Football League and in the Conference National.

Since 2006 he has been a member of the board of directors of Oxford United F.C. His nickname is The Bald Eagle.[1]


Playing career

Smith was born in Sheffield. He grew up a Sheffield Wednesday supporter,[2] but began his playing career in 1957 when he signed for Sheffield United as an amateur, and turned professional with the club two years later. After failing to break into the first team he was transferred to Aldershot for the 1961–62 season.[3]

At the beginning of the 1965–66 season, after scoring one goal in 74 league appearances, Smith left Aldershot to join Halifax Town. He made 113 league starts for Halifax, scoring seven goals, before moving to Lincoln City in 1968. After just over a year at Lincoln in which he made 54 appearances Smith signed for non-league club Boston United as player-manager;[3][4] as player, he went on to make nearly 200 appearances for the club in all competitions.[5]

Management career

A good start to his managerial career at Boston – the club finished in the top four of the Northern Premier League in each of his first three seasons, he led them to the Third Round Proper of the 1972 FA Cup,[6] and in his fourth season, was 40 games into a run of 51 consecutive league games unbeaten,[7] a British record at professional level[8] – led to Colchester United offering Smith the position of manager in October 1972. He retained his playing registration for that season, but in 1973–74 he hung up his boots and guided Colchester to promotion from the Football League Fourth Division.[9] In 1975 he quit the club to join Blackburn Rovers, newly promoted to the Second Division.[10]

He led Blackburn through one season of survival, one of establishment and was well into a promotion push in his third season when he left for First Division Birmingham City in March 1978 after Sir Alf Ramsey's resignation.[10][11] Birmingham were relegated from the First Division in Smith's first full season in charge, but he rebuilt the team, allowing many of the players who had won promotion in 1972 to leave, most notably making Trevor Francis the first £1 million player, a move which the board had not allowed Ramsey to make,[11] and bringing in experienced players and bringing through promising youngsters.[12] Smith guided Birmingham back into the top flight the next season, and maintained them in mid-table in 1981. In early 1982, Ron Saunders walked out on Aston Villa, the club he had led to the League title the previous season; Birmingham promptly sacked Smith and appointed Saunders.[3][13] A few weeks later, Smith joined Oxford United as manager. He led them to the Third Division championship in 1984. The next year they were again promoted, reaching the top flight for the first time in their history, as Oxford won the Second Division championship.[3] Despite this spectacular success, chairman Robert Maxwell failed to improve Smith's contract, which led to his resignation from Oxford to take the job of manager at Queens Park Rangers.[14]

In his first year at QPR, Smith took the club to the League Cup final, where they lost 3–0 to his former club Oxford United. Smith continued to manage QPR until December 1988 when he left to become manager of Newcastle United.[15] Newcastle finished bottom of the First Division in 1989; they came close to making an immediate return, finishing third in the league but losing 2–0 in the playoff semi-final to local rivals Sunderland at St James' Park.[16] With no prospect of promotion by March 1991, Smith resigned amid a boardroom power struggle at the club,[17][18] claiming that Newcastle were "unmanageable".

He had a spell as coach at Middlesbrough under Colin Todd before accepting the appointment as manager of Portsmouth in the summer of 1991.[3] He had a fairly successful reign at Fratton Park for four years, including reaching the FA Cup semi-finals in 1992, losing to Liverpool after extra time and penalties in the replay, and missing out on automatic promotion to the Premier League on goal difference and then losing in the playoffs the following year. Key players including Darren Anderton and Guy Whittingham were sold, and there was no money for replacements. Smith was finally sacked in January 1995 after a decline in form left them struggling at the wrong end of Division One.[19]

Smith became chief executive of the League Managers' Association in 1995, but returned to club management that summer with Derby County.[20] He brought in Steve McClaren as first-team coach, and in their first full season they guided Derby to runners-up spot in Division One and promotion to the Premier League. He oversaw their Premier League survival as they finished 12th in 1996-97, and over the next two seasons they emerged as surprise contenders for a UEFA Cup place, but the Rams just missed out in 1998 as they finished ninth and again in 1999 when they finished eighth. Unfortunately, the Rams began to struggle in 1999-2000, facing the threat of relegation until the beginning of May and managing a 16th place finish. They narrowly avoided relegation again in 2000-01, finishing 17th. [1]

He resigned on 7 October 2001 after rejecting an offer to become the club's director of football. He was succeeded by his assistant Colin Todd, who had joined the club a year earlier.[21]

In January 2002, Smith was appointed assistant manager at Coventry City, working alongside Roland Nilsson.[22] The pair were sacked three months later, after presiding over performances described as "totally unacceptable" and failing to achieve a playoff place.[23] Later that year, Harry Redknapp appointed Smith as his assistant at former club Portsmouth.[24] Smith helped Redknapp win the Division One title at the first attempt in 2002–03,[25] and played his part as the club established itself in the Premier League. In November 2004, both Smith and Redknapp resigned from Portsmouth after the appointment of a Director of Football.[26] Redknapp became the manager of Southampton two weeks later, and after rejecting the position of chief scout, Smith was appointed his assistant.[27] As part of a "cost-cutting exercise" following Southampton's relegation from the Premier League, Smith's initial six-month contract was not extended.[28]

After nearly a year out of football, Smith returned to front-line management in March 2006 as manager of Oxford United for the second time, and was also given a seat on the board of directors.[14][29] He failed to stave off relegation to the Conference National, and they came close to an immediate return to the Football League, losing on penalties in the 2006–07 play-off semi-final.[30] In November 2007, after a poor start to the season, Smith decided it was time to "put the interests of the club before his own and ... step down as manager and concentrate on his director's role full-time".[31] Following the sacking of Darren Patterson in November 2008, Smith took over as caretaker manager; the team remained unbeaten for the few weeks until Chris Wilder's appointment.[32] As of December 2009 he remains a director of the club.[33]

Career statistics


Managerial statistics

Team Nat From To Record
G W L D Win % Notes
Boston United (player-manager)  England 1969 1972 ? ? ? ? ?
Colchester United (player-manager)  England October 1972 20 June 1975 127 49 44 34 38.58
Blackburn Rovers  England 20 June 1975 12 March 1978 114 41 41 32 35.96
Birmingham City  England 12 March 1978 15 February 1982 182 59 73 50 32.41
Oxford United  England 1 March 1982 11 June 1985 167 89 36 42 53.29 [34]
Queens Park Rangers  England 11 June 1985 4 December 1988 167 67 62 38 40.11
Newcastle United  England 4 December 1988 26 March 1991 121 44 39 38 36.36
Portsmouth  England 1 June 1991 1 February 1995 199 81 64 54 40.70
Derby County  England 15 June 1995 7 October 2001 281 99 101 81 35.23
Oxford United  England 22 March 2006 1 November 2007 113 46 35 32 40.70 [34]
Oxford United (caretaker)  England 30 November 2008 21 December 2008 4 2 0 2 50.00
Total 1475 577 495 403 39.12


  1. ^ Hodges, Vicki (4 May 2006). "Jim Smith backs protege McClaren". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  2. ^ "Francis, Smith and Palmer lead Owls job chase". The Guardian. 17 October 2001. Retrieved 12 May 2009.  
  3. ^ a b c d e Matthews, Tony (1995). Birmingham City: A Complete Record. Derby: Breedon Books. p. 64. ISBN 978-1-85983-010-9.  
  4. ^ "Jim Smith". UK A–Z Transfers. Neil Brown. Retrieved 12 May 2009.  
  5. ^ "Season 1969/70 - Statistics". Boston United FC. Ken Fox. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  6. ^ "Pilgrims Progress". Boston United FC. Ken Fox. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  7. ^ "Boston United Roll Call". Boston United FC. Ken Fox. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  8. ^ May, John (29 April 2002). "More than a feeling for Boston". BBC Sport. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  9. ^ "The U's History: The 70s". Colchester United F.C..,,10424~1320500,00.html. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  10. ^ a b "1975 - 1984: The bald eagle has landed". Blackburn Rovers F.C.. 2 July 2007.,,10303~78858,00.html. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  11. ^ a b "Francis issue caused Sir Alf to quit". The Times: p. 14. 9 March 1978. "Sir Alf said he told the board two weeks ago that he intended to quit and sever his links with the club. ... He said at a board meeting on February 20 he recommended both Francis and the defender, Joe Gallagher, should be transfer listed. The board agreed but three days later changed their minds about Francis. Sir Alf said he then decided to opt out because of the board's policy."  
  12. ^ Matthews. Complete Record. pp. 39–41.  
  13. ^ Jones, Stuart (19 February 1982). "Villa's loss becomes Birmingham's gain". The Times: p. 20.  
  14. ^ a b Winter, Henry (24 March 2006). "Bald Eagle back to roost at his favourite manor". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  15. ^ "A potted history of QPR (1882-2009)". Queens Park Rangers F.C.. 9 April 2009.,,10373,00.html. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  16. ^ "Newcastle 1989/1990 results and fixtures". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  17. ^ Taylor, Louise (27 March 1991). "Smith resigns from Newcastle" (reprint). The Times (NewsBank). Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  18. ^ "Jim Smith (1988-91)". Newcastle United F.C..,,10278~1241759,00.html. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  19. ^ "1990s: Flattering to deceive". Portsmouth F.C.. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  20. ^ "Jim Smith factfile". The Guardian. 8 October 2001. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  21. ^ Howland, Andy. "Past Managers". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  22. ^ Pierson, Mark (4 January 2002). "Smith joins Coventry to assist Nilsson". The Independent. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  23. ^ "Coventry sack Nilsson and Smith". BBC Sport. 16 April 2002. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  24. ^ "Redknapp welcomes Smith". BBC Sport. 27 June 2002. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  25. ^ "Redknapp revels in Pompey party". BBC Sport. 15 April 2003. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  26. ^ Sanghera, Mandeep (24 November 2004). "For whom the chimes toll". BBC News. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  27. ^ "Southampton offer Smith assistant role". The Guardian. 17 December 2004. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  28. ^ Szczepanik, Nick (24 May 2005). "Redknapp suffers cruellest cut as Smith is shown the exit". The Times (London). Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  29. ^ Shail, Mark (23 March 2006). "Bald Eagle's back in business at Oxford - and there's a key role at the Kassam for Gemmill too". Professional Footballers' Association. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  30. ^ Crabtree, David; Brunt, Heather Jan and Williams, Chris (5 February 2009). "A history of Oxford United Football Club". Oxford United F.C..,,10342,00.html. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  31. ^ "Jim Smith steps down as manager". Oxford Mail. 9 November 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  32. ^ "Wilder is new Oxford United boss". BBC Sport. 21 December 2008. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  33. ^ "Contact details". Oxford United F.C.. 5 February 2009.,,10342~1045138,00.html. Retrieved 13 May 2009.  
  34. ^ a b "Jim Smith". Rage Online. Retrieved 2008-04-17.  

External links


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