Oxford

Jim Smith's funeral: Former football managers pay their respects

Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce, Peter Reid, Trevor Francis
Image caption Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce, Peter Reid, and Trevor Francis attended the service

A host of football managers and players have attended the funeral of former Premier League boss Jim Smith.

Respects were paid to the former Oxford United, Derby County, and Portsmouth manager at a service in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, on Thursday afternoon.

Smith, known in football as the "Bald Eagle", died aged 79 on 10 December after battling an illness.

Mourners included Harry Redknapp, Sam Allardyce, David Pleat, Trevor Francis, Steve McClaren, and Peter Reid.

Smith managed nine different clubs across the English leagues from 1969 to 2007.

His career highlights were a League Cup final appearance with Queens Park Rangers in 1986 and promotion to the Premier League with Derby in 1996.

During the service, former Manchester United and Aston Villa boss Ron Atkinson called Smith a "great bloke".

Former Leeds United manager Howard Wilkinson called him a "true friend" and a "legend never to be forgotten".

Image copyright ALLSPORT/Getty Images
Image caption A mural of Smith was held up in the Oxford home stand at the Kassam Stadium in December

Ex-Tottenham and Portsmouth boss Redknapp told the BBC: "Jim was a special character. He was probably my best ever signing when I brought him in at Portsmouth.

"Everyday we never stopped laughing."

Former England manager McClaren called him a "bundle of fun, and a good old-fashioned manager that brought great things to football".

Songs by Frank Sinatra were played at the service, as well as Simply the Best by Tina Turner.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jim Smith was extremely popular at Derby, helping them into the top flight of English football

Having spent his playing career mostly in the lower leagues, it was in management where the Sheffield-born Smith established a reputation.

He helped Colchester United and Birmingham City climb divisions before transforming Oxford into a top-flight side.

After a stint at Newcastle United which failed to produce the same success, he guided second-tier Portsmouth to an FA Cup semi-final in 1992.

Smith was extremely popular at Derby, helping them into the top flight and establishing them there.

He returned and finished his 38-year management career at Oxford in 2007.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jim Smith ended his managerial career at Oxford United, and lived in Woodstock in Oxfordshire

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