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Obituary - Gordon Melville Smith

Posted on 7 April 2014  - 12:00

We were sorry to learn of the passing of Gordon Smith who died in Glasgow on April 5, aged 59.

The easy going and likeable full-back joined us from Aston Villa on February 8, 1979, and went on to make 45 senior appearances in our colours, scoring one goal. That came in a 2-4 defeat at West Bromwich Albion on May 2, 1981.

Gordon was in our FA Cup Final squad a week later but was not called upon to play.  It was ironic that his one Spurs goal should be against Albion as his family are all Baggies fans!

Affectionately known by his team mates as Smudger, he made his senior debut for us against Bolton Wanderers on May 8, 1979, and went on to feature in 38 Division One fixtures, six in the Football League Cup and one European match. His final senior outing was in the European Cup-Winners’ Cup at Dundalk on October 21, 1981.

In addition, Gordon featured in 67 Football Combination matches for our reserve team, scoring three goals. His first game as a Spur came two days after signing for a reported £150,000 fee, in a 3-1 home win over Leicester City.

He made 16 appearances the following season as our second string lifted the Combination title with his final game for us being a 2-0 home win over Arsenal reserves on April 15, 1982.

Born at Partick on July 3, 1954, Gordon Melville Smith attended Broadholm Primary and Waverley Secondary School at Drumchapel. His father Neil had played for Scottish junior club Kilsyth Rangers while his grandfather, Willie Salisbury, won the Scottish Cup with Partick Thistle in 1921 and later played for Liverpool and Irish club Bangor.

Spotted playing as a forward for Glasgow Rangers Boys’ Club by St. Johnstone scout Alex McClintock, Gordon joined the Perth club on November 29, 1969. While waiting to sign professional forms on his 17th birthday he was employed as a clerk for Glasgow Corporation in the Office of Public Works.

Having joined the full paid ranks, he made his senior debut in a Scottish League Cup tie at Montrose on August 30, 1972, and stepped up for his Scottish League debut at Hibernian a month later.

He gained 10 Scotland Youth caps before switching to the role of full-back at the start of season 1974-75. Each of his four games for the Scotland Under-23 side came during 1975, facing both Romania and Denmark twice.

Gordon scored eight goals in 112 League games for St. Johnstone and twice in 30 cup games before joining Aston Villa in a club record £80,000 deal on August 4, 1976. His first season there yielded Football League Cup honours, featuring as a substitute in the final, second replay, against Everton at Old Trafford. He made 96 senior appearances for Villa.

On being released by us at the end of June, 1982, Gordon went to South Africa for a three match tour of Cape Town, Soweto and Johannesburg before returning to sign for Wolverhampton Wanderers on August 1.

His two seasons there took his Football League tally to four goals in 155 appearances, his final game being at Stoke on May 12, 1984. He had a spell with Pittsburgh Spirit from January, 1985, in the Major Indoor Soccer League before hanging up his boots.

Gordon later ran his own business and was contracted to sell and install Champions League perimeter advertising at football grounds.  This took him all over Europe and kept him in touch with many of his former colleagues.

Our thoughts are with his former wife Elaine, daughter Sadie and son Cameron and all of his family and friends at this sad time.

BY ANDY PORTER.

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