Liverpool legend Tommy Smith dies at 74

Tommy Smith
, one of the key figures in the club ’ s first golden era, died on Friday at the age of 74.

Smith’ s no- nonsense performances at the heart of Liverpool ’ s defence saw him nicknamed the ‘ Anfield Iron ’ during his 18- year spell on Merseyside .

Making 638 appearances for the Reds between 1960 and 1978 , Smith won a host of medals as the club rose to prominence both domestically and in Europe .

Under the management of the great Bill Shankly , Smith helped Liverpool dominate for two decades.

Reflecting his tough style of play , Shankly once said of one of his favourite players , “ Tommy Smith wasn’ t born, he was quarried ” .

Smith, who captained the club for three years, was one of the most influential members of the Liverpool team that won the FA Cup for the first time in 1965 .

Twelve years later , with Bob Paisley at the helm, he would head a crucial goal as Liverpool won their maiden European Cup by defeating Borussia Moenchengladbach in the 1977 final in Rome .

In total, Liverpool – born Smith , who grew up in the shadow of Anfield before joining the club he supported as a boy, won the English title four times, the FA Cup twice , the European Cup once and the UEFA Cup twice .

Speaking to Liverpool ’ s official website , Smith’ s daughter Janette Simpson said , “ Dad died very peacefully in his sleep shortly after 4 . 30pm today .

“ He had been growing increasingly frail and suffering from a variety of ailments over the last three months especially .

We are obviously all devastated . ”
Smith left Liverpool for Swansea, managed by his old Reds team – mate John Toshack , in 1978 , and helped them to promotion from the old Third Division .

He received the MBE for services to football and retired from playing in 1979 .

A brief return to Anfield as youth coach preceded a career as an after- dinner speaker and newspaper columnist .

Smith suffered a heart attack in 2007 before being diagnosed with Alzheimers and dementia in 2014.

Smith’ s former Liverpool team -mate Phil Thompson told Sky Sports that his fellow defender was an ‘ icon ’ .

“ I loved him from the Kop , because of his passion, commitment and never – say- die attitude, ” he said .

“ He was an incredible figure who helped me out enormously .

LiverpoolFootball Club owe this guy a debt of gratitude .

“ To go on and play with him , rub shoulders with him , go into battles with him , he was iconic .

He wanted and desired the points every week .

“ Tommy was the epitome of what Bill Shankly demanded. He drove the team , he was incredible. ”

Former Liverpool player and manager Kenny Dalglish added : “ He was a great advert for Liverpool Football Club, the way he conducted himself .

His memories will be there forever . ”
Ray Clemence was one of the Liverpool goalkeepers who benefitted from Smith’ s defensive excellence .

“ So desperately sorry to hear of the passing of Tommy Smith a real legend of the club .

Honoured to play with him . Great captain and leader of men thoughts are with family and friends, ” Clemence said .

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