Sheffield-born former Newcastle United and Derby County manager Jim Smith dies

Sheffield-born former football manager Jim Smith has died at the age of 79.

Wednesday, 11th December 2019, 3:22 pm
Sheffield-born Jim Smith has died at the age of 79:  Mike Finn-Kelcey/ALLSPORT
Sheffield-born Jim Smith has died at the age of 79: Mike Finn-Kelcey/ALLSPORT

Smith – affectionately known as the Bald Eagle – supported Wednesday as a youngster and began his playing career at Sheffield United in the late 50s.

However, after failing to break into the first team at Bramall Lane he was transferred to Aldershot in 1961.

But it was as a manager that Smith will be best remembered by football supporters.

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He had three spells in charge of Oxford United where he is regarded as a club legend for guiding the club from Division Three to Division One with back-to-back league titles in the 80s before returning in 2006.

Smith – who died in hospital on Tuesday afternoon – is also highly regarded by fans of Derby County, where he spent six years at the helm and guided the Rams into the Premier League in 1996.

He also had managerial spells at Newcastle United, Queens Park Rangers and Birmingham City.

Smith returned to Pompey as assistant to Harry Redknapp in 2002 and also teamed up with him along the south coast at Southampton.

Former club Derby paid their respects on social media, tweeting: "It is with deep regret that Derby County Football Club has this evening learnt of the passing of its former manager, Jim Smith.

“The thoughts of everyone associated with Derby County go out to Jim’s family at this difficult time.”

Derby are expected to hold a minute’s silence before their game with Wednesday tomorrow evening.