Retired footballer turned football speaker Jim Smith has enjoyed a long-playing career that spanned three decades playing for numerous British clubs in the Fourth Division; including four years at Aldershot and three years at Boston United.
Retiring in 1973, Jim Smith has gone on to work prolifically as a football speaker and manager, taking charge of several teams including his own old stomping ground at Colchester United.
Smith embarked on his career in 1959 retaining his place with his youth club at Sheffield United where he stayed until 1961. Failing to make United’s first team Jim Smith transferred to Aldershot where he made almost 75 club appearances, eventually leaving the team in 1966 to move to Lincoln City.
Much of Jim Smith’s playing career can be characterized in such a way and it was not until he joined Boston in 1969 that he began to gain some stability; staying with the team for three years Smith made over 200 appearances for the club, and helped bring the non-league team into all possible competitions. By the end of his first season at Boston the team held a top four position in the Northern Premier League, where they would remain for the next two years. Throughout this period Jim worked consistently as a football speaker, making appearances at club events for all the teams on which he played but he remained most popular amongst his Boston fans.
By the end of his fourth season with Boston Smith’s team was 40 unbeaten games into a run of 51 consecutive league matches, making this a British record at professional level. Smith’s notoriety and respect grew with Boston’s success and eventually, in 1972, Colchester offered him a managerial position, which he accepted, rescinding his playing registration in 1973.
From this point onwards Jim Smith worked solely as a football speaker and manager and was consistently successful with both, whilst with Colchester he guided the club into a promotion from the Fourth Division and upon moving to Blackburn Rovers, guided them from third into second. As the success of his teams progressed as did his own and in 1978 Smith took over the management of First Division club Birmingham City after the previous manager Sir Alf Ramsey retired to become a dedicated football speaker.
Smith remained at Birmingham until 1982 when he was replaced by former Aston Villa manager Ron Saunders. Following this Smith joined Third Division Oxford United who, by 1985, had been promoted to the First Division for the first time in the club’s history.
In the years that followed Jim Smith continued to work as a manager and football speaker for teams across the UK at various Division levels. In 1995, whilst managing Derby County he became chief executive of the League Managers’ Association, a position he maintained until his eventual retirement in 2008 whilst in his second run as Oxford United’s manager and after almost sixty years in the game.
Jim Smith continues to work as a football speaker providing a unique and fascinating insight into the game of football and management, Jim’s knowledge of the intricacies and environments in a variety of divisions allow him to provide a holistic view into the world of football. Jim Smith is available for hire for corporate and club events across the UK.