Obituary: Dave Smith

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The Independent Online
David Smith, footballer and football administrator: born South Shields, Co Durham 12 October 1915; played for Newcastle United 1935-36, Northampton Town 1943-50; secretary of Northampton Town 1951-54, manager 1954-59; secretary and manager/ general manager of Aldershot 1959-71; died Derby 26 November 1997.

Reaching the fourth round of the FA Cup represents an improbable proposition for bosses of lower-division football clubs. Indeed, to the majority the prospect is little more than a fantasy. However, Dave Smith turned it into reality - twice.

By far the most memorable of the two glorious sequences was the first, in 1958, when his lowly Northampton Town side played host to Arsenal in the third round and overturned the mighty Gunners by three goals to one. Boosted by a much-trumpeted concoction of sherry, eggs, glucose and orange juice, Smith's courageous Cobblers performed well above their Third Division (South) station to flummox the illustrious visitors. In the fourth round Northampton were ousted, after a plucky battle, by Liverpool.

Smith's second remarkable FA Cup run occurred in 1961, when he guided Fourth Division Aldershot to the competition's last 32, where Stoke City of the Second defeated them only after two replays.

Those two peaks apart, the diminutive north-easterner's career was of the worthy variety. As a 20-year old right-winger he had once harboured hopes of success with his local club, Newcastle United, but was released to join non-League South Shields after only one senior appearance.

During the Second World War, he guested for Derby County and Glasgow Rangers before joining Northampton, for whom he scored 30 goals in 128 League matches in the five seasons after the war. He coached a little, became club secretary, and then manager. In 1959, he switched to Aldershot as secretary-boss, remaining in charge of team affairs until 1967. He retired from the professional game in 1971.