Tommy Smith dead: Liverpool legend and former captain dies aged 74

The Anfield Iron won four league titles during an 18-year spell at Anfield

Friday 12 April 2019 20:01
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Tommy Smith has died aged 74
Tommy Smith has died aged 74

Former Liverpool captain Tommy Smith, who led the Merseysiders to domestic and European success and gained a reputation as one of the game's toughest tacklers, has died aged 74, the club said on Friday.

Smith, known by supporters as the 'Anfield Iron', played 638 games for Liverpool, winning four league titles, a European Cup, two FA Cups and two UEFA Cups in his time at the club.

He captained the Reds for three years and scored 48 goals between 1962 and 1978 including one in the 1977 European Cup final, when Liverpool beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1 to lift the trophy for the first time.

Having joined the club as a schoolboy, he was fast-tracked into the first team by former manager Bill Shankly and swiftly gained a reputation as one of football's most fearsome competitors.

Shankly once famously said of Smith -- a true hard man in an era when tough tackling was encouraged and admired -- that he "was not born, he was quarried".

Tommy Smith in action for Liverpool at Anfield (Getty )

Liverpool said in a statement on their website that they were "deeply saddened" by the news.

Smith was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014 after caring for his wife Susanne who died after suffering from the same condition.

And Phil Thompson claims the Reds owe a debt of gratitude to Smith.

"I loved him from the Kop because of his passion, commitment and never-say-die attitude," Thompson told Sky Sports. "And then to go play alongside him, rub shoulders with him, go into battles with him, he was iconic. He wanted and desired the points every week.

"He was an incredible figure who helped me out enormously. To go from being a fan to play with him... he never gave up. Liverpool Football Club owe this guy a debt of gratitude.

"Tommy was the epitome of what Bill Shankly demanded. He drove the team, he was incredible. Who will forget his headed goal that won the 1977 European Cup final? The fella drove us on.

"This is a heartbreaking moment. He wanted success so much it took over his whole life."

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