PAUL PLOWMAN dips into the County Ground archives again to bring you a list of Smiths that had varying degrees of success with Swindon Town. One died of pneumonia at 34, another retired after a bus ran over his foot and then there was the Smith who went on to play in the NFL for the New England Patriots...
1. ALEX SMITH (2013-)
The 22 year old former Fulham wing-back - whose season has been blighted by injury - is the third Alex Smith to have made it to Town’s first team. He could have been the fourth, had the club signed the Bolton reserve goalkeeper of the same name when they needed backup for Mike Turner in February 1964. But Smith decided to stay at Burnden Park and Bert Head signed Hartlepool’s Norman Oakley instead.
2. ALEX SMITH (1996-1998)
Signed midway through Town’s Second Division championship season, from Steve McMahon’s former club Everton, this Alex was a 19 year old midfielder. He made just 17 starts for Town in two years before he moved on to Huddersfield.
3. ALEX SMITH (1898-1900)
The first Alex Smith was a Scot, signed from Third Lanark - remember them ? Halfway through his first season at the County Ground he was handed the captaincy when the club was rocked by the tragic death of skipper Jimmy Munro. Alex made almost 70 appearances for Town before returning to his former club. In a sad irony, he was to suffer a similar early fate to his predecessor - succumbing to pneumonia aged just 34.
4. JACK SMITH (2005-2009)
…… And there were three Jack Smiths too. This one took over the number 3 shirt from another Smith - Grant - on the way to making 150 appearances for Town over four seasons, which included promotion from the bottom tier in 2007.
5. JACK SMITH (1961-1964)
A useful striker who had spent most of his career with his home town club Hartlepools, Jack contributed 19 goals to Town’s successful promotion bid in 1963 - five behind Ernie Hunt. In 1976 he returned to the County Ground as youth team coach under Danny Williams.
6. JACK SMITH (1935-1938)
This Jack was actually Arthur John Smith, a Welsh left-back from Merthyr. He cost the club just £100 when signed from Bristol Rovers, but was sold to Chelsea for £4,000! Jack never missed a League game during his near three-year stay with Town. He twice ‘guested’ for Wolves during the War and then joined the coaching staff at Molineux - after his playing days were ended when a bus ran over his foot.
7. JOHN SMITH
The midfield maestro behind Town’s League Cup and promotion double of 1968/69, John had learnt his trade with West Ham and Tottenham. After his performance in Town’s semi-final win at The Hawthorns, John was described as a ‘remarkable all-purpose player - chunky almost to the point of rotundity’. He died following a heart attack early in 1988 at just 49. Another John Smith was also on the club’s books during 1968/69, although he didn’t make the first team. He later played for the New England Patriots in the NFL!
8. JONATHAN SMITH
Paolo di Canio’s first signing for Town, the 6’3” midfielder was involved in all but a handful of the 58 games in the League Two title winning campaign. Jonathan had signed a two-year deal, but he was deemed surplus to requirements after one and returned to his previous club York.
9. PHIL SMITH
The only goalkeeper in the list, Phil spent six seasons at the County Ground. His League debut for Town at Shrewsbury’s Gay Meadow was his first appearance in that competition for more than seven years. He helped Town to promotion that season - 2006/07 - conceding just four goals in the final eight games.
10. CHRIS SMITH
Chris has made more appearances in ‘The List’ than he did for Town! Previously in the ‘one game wonder’ category, that was the sum total of his first team outings during a 15 month stay at the County Ground. He returned to his native Potteries, signing for Kidsgrove.
11. BRYAN SMITH
Another member of the one-game brigade, Bryan recently returned after a near seven-year break from the game following hip surgery. His league career at Town totalled 16 minutes - in the final home game of 1999/2000 against Barnsley.
12. BILLY SMITH
A compatriot of the first Alex Smith - who recommended him to the Town directors. Although earning a top wage of £3 a week when he signed in 1899 Billy, like most footballers, had another trade. But he may have struggled to use those skills to good advantage in Swindon as his occupation was given in the 1901 census as a coal miner! After scoring 20 goals in 75 games, he returned to his native Glasgow where he found work in the shipyards.
13. ANDY SMITH
Another Scot, Andy was a journeyman striker who spent the 1906/07 season at the County Ground, but he achieved little of note in a career that spanned 18 years. With Town he scored just once in his first 14 games but then hit ten in 15 to finish the season as top scorer.
14. ‘DICKY’ SMITH
A local man from Highworth, real name George, Dicky made just one peace-time appearance for Town, in a goalless draw at Merthyr in 1919. His only other competitive football at the County Ground came early in 1916 when he took part in ten of Town’s 11 fixtures in the South West Regional League programme.
15. PAUL SMITH
An experienced, battling midfielder, Paul was brought in by Iffy Onuora in an attempt to lift Town out of the relegation zone. With Paul in the side, five out of nine games were won. In nine games when he was out with an ankle injury, Town won just once - and they went down. Any hopes of a contract for the following season evaporated when Onuora was sacked.
16. GRANT SMITH
A skilful left-sided player brought in by Andy King, Grant sat on the bench for 30 League games in 2003/04 without getting a start until the second leg of the play-off semi! He was better utilised in the following season and responded by grabbing ten goals in a 20-game spell.
17. MICHAEL SMITH
The latest addition to the Smith at Swindon clan. The big Geordie was re-united with former Darlington boss Mark Cooper when he joined Town in January.