Derby County to pay tribute to old boss and boyhood Sheffield Wednesday fan Jim Smith at Pride Park tonight
Sheffield Wednesday fans will get the opportunity to pay tribute to one of their own at Pride Park tonight.
The legendary coach and manager Jim Smith sadly passed away yesterday, aged 79 and fittingly two teams close to his heart will come together when the Owls take on Derby County.
Smith grew up supporting Wednesday, walking from his home in Shiregreen to Hillsborough as a boy, before his footballing talents took him to Bramall Lane.
He never broke into the first team but went on to have a decent playing career at Aldershot, Halifax, Lincoln City, Boston United and Colchester.
It was in management that Smith really made his name, though with spells at Blackburn, Birmingham, Oxford, QPR, Newcastle and Portsmouth before moving to Derby in 1995.
Smith led the Rams to the Premier League in his first season and eventually left in 2001.
He was regularly linked to the manager’s job at Wednesday, but he admitted him his autobiography that this was merely speculation.
Derby will be holding a minute’s applause before kick-off tonight in tribute to Smith.
Howard Wilkinson said: "Jim and I have known each other since our teenage years, and I have been in his debt since the day he asked me to become player-coach at Boston United where I served my apprenticeship.
"I have so many fond memories of Jim as a football manager but foremost as a friend.
"He was intelligent, passionate, determined, honest and always great fun to be with. Never one to mince his words, he was a leader in the truest sense.”