Yorkshire Double-winning footballer

Tom Richmond

MINER’S son Bobby Smith stands second in Tottenham Hotspur’s all-time list of goalscorers, surpassed only by his great friend and teammate Jimmy Greaves.

His tally of 208 goals in 317 matches was amassed during the glory years from 1955 until 1964, leading the side’s goals chart with 33 during the Double-winning campaign of 1960-61 when the club, under the inspirational management of Scarborough-born Bill Nicholson, became the first side for 72 years to win the League and FA Cup in the same season.

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Born at Scarth Street, Lingdale, near Guisborough, on February 22, 1933, Robert Alfred Smith attended Lingdale Council School. On leaving school, he joined his father working in the local ironstone mine.

Bobby originally played as a full back for Redcar Albion and Redcar Boys’ Club before being spotted as a centre forward by Chelsea, signed amateur forms and was placed with their local nursery club, Tudor Rose.

After a year working in the mine, he joined the Chelsea ground staff during 1948. Bobby scored a hat-trick in the 1949-50 London FA Youth Cup Final against Spurs at Stamford Bridge and travelled with the England squad to Vienna for the International Youth Tournament there during May 1950.

Having signed professional forms during May, 1950, Bobby made his Football League debut at Bolton Wanderers on September 4, 1950 and was on the scoresheet on his second senior appearance, a 2-0 home win over Fulham in December.

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By the time he arrived at Tottenham for a 16,000 fee in December 1955, he had scored 30 goals in 86 games for Chelsea, missing out on their 1954-55 League Championship success because he only played four senior games that season.

Bobby made his Spurs debut against Luton Town three days later but had to wait until January 21 to net his first goal in his new side’s colours, at home to Everton.

Handed the captain’s role for the final game of the season, he celebrated with a hat-trick versus Sheffield United on April 28. Two years later he became Tottenham’s regular skipper until Danny Blanchflower succeeded him during March, 1959.

His 36-goal haul during season 1957-58 saw Bobby head the top flight scoring chart and equalled the club record set by Ted Harper back in the 1930-31 Second Division campaign. That record stood until Greaves surpassed them both, scoring 37 during 1962-63. Bobby and Jimmy each scored 32 goals during 1958-59 to share the title as leading First Division goalscorer.

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Bobby became Tottenham’s record aggregate League goalscorer with the second of his three goals in a 3-1 home win over Blackpool on August 31, 1960. George Hunt had held the record of 125 League goals since March 1937. Bobby’s final tally of 176 League goals in 271 appearances remained the club record until Greaves overtook him during March 1968.

Bobby’s 208 goals for Spurs came against 39 different clubs. He scored 17 versus West Bromwich Albion, 12 apiece versus Blackpool and Wolves and 11 versus Aston Villa, Bolton, Everton and Manchester United.

Bobby notched 11 hat-tricks during his time at the White Hart Lane club. Ten came in First Division matches with the exception being his four goal haul against Crewe Alexandra in an FA Cup fourth round replay.

During March and May, 1958, Bobby featured in the inaugural Inter-Cities Fairs Cup Final, playing for London against Barcelona in both legs of the deciding tie.

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Bobby’s England career spanned three years and 43 days, gaining 15 full caps and netting 13 goals. He scored in each of his first five internationals and was on the winning side in his first five and last five games. First selected by England for the 1958 World Cup squad, he took just 16 minutes to score the opening goal on his debut, in a 5-2 win over Northern Ireland at Belfast on October 8, 1960.

He was on target in both of Tottenham’s 1961 and 1962 FA Cup triumphs and was also a member of the European Cup-Winners’ Cup winning side the following year.

After a dispute with the Tottenham management, Bobby joined Brighton & Hove Albion on May 19, 1964 for a 5,000 fee and helped them to the Fourth Division title the following season. His career tally of Football League goals was 218 in 376 appearances, plus a further 41 goals in 61 cup matches.

On leaving Brighton during October 1965, Bobby joined Hastings United. He had a trial spell with Orient during March, 1967 and a stint with Banbury United the following year as his career – beset by injury – began to taper off.

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He turned out regularly in charity games during the 1970s, playing alongside the likes of Rod Stewart, Tommy Steele, Bill Oddie and David Hamilton.

Bobby was the subject of three testimonial events and also the subject of two books; The Bobby Smith Story in Pictures, published by Brighton & Hove Albion during 1965; and My Memories of Spurs, published by Britespot during 2002.

He passed away at an Enfield hospital following a short illness on September 18, aged 77.

Bobby Smith is survived by his two sons from his first marriage, and his second wife Jean.