Huddersfield Town legend and former Halifax Town player and Bradford City coach dies at the age of 77

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN legend Steve Smith has died at the age of 77 following a long battle with dementia.

Smith was a feted player for the Terriers during a golden era for the club in the early Seventies and was a mainstay of the side who were promoted to the old Division One under Ian Greaves in 1969-70.

The Huddersfield-born star made 381 appearances in a 16-year playing career at the club - scoring 33 goals - and was a regular for most of the 1970s.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He had a spell at West Yorkshire neighbours Halifax Town later on in the decade and also had a brief loan stint at Bolton Wanderers in the mid-70s.

Image courtesy of Huddersfield Town AFC.Image courtesy of Huddersfield Town AFC.
Image courtesy of Huddersfield Town AFC.

Smith later managed Town in 1987 and also served as a coach and scout during his long association with his hometown side.

He remains the only Huddersfield-born manager to take permanent charge of the club.

Smith joined Town in 1961 and became a full-time professional two years later, making his debut against Newcastle United at Leeds Road in September 1964.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Rawthorpe-born player made history by becoming the club’s first-ever substitute the following September when he replaced John Coddington against Preston.

Described as a “people’s player” by Greaves, Smith’s whole-hearted performances, 100 per cent commitment, dependability, talent and versatility earned him the respect of the Town faithful for many seasons.

Smith famously scored the goal that clinched promotion to the top-flight after a 14-year absence for Town in a 1-1 draw against Middlesbrough at Ayresome Park in March 1970 - in a 69-70 season which saw the club lift the Division Two title.

He also scored twice in a 3-0 victory over Blackpool in Huddersfield’s return to the big time at Leeds Road on the opening day of the 1970-71 campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Smith missed just three matches across the club’s two seasons in Division One.

He was granted a testimonial against Leeds United in 1974 and by the time he left the club, Smith was the last remaining player from the Division One years.

Smith signed for Halifax shortly before the start of the 1977-78 season and was a regular under Alan Ball Sr, former Terriers teammate Jimmy Lawson and George Kirby and had a spell captaining the Shaymen.

In September 1979, Smith returned to Leeds Road as the club’s chief scout. He also became a regular in the club’s reserve side, playing in the Central League after his arrival.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Along with his scouting duties, Smith would also coach the club's youth players.

His second career at Huddersfield coincided with the club winning the Division Four title in 1979-80 and securing automatic promotion to the second division in 1982-83.

After the dismissal of Mick Buxton at Christmas 1986, Smith was placed in temporary charge of the first team before being appointed full-time manager on January 13, 1987.

He resigned in October of that year, reverting to his previous duties as chief scout and youth coach before joining Bradford City as youth development officer in 1989.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He remained as youth coach at City throughout the 1990s and had a brief spell in charge of the first team in 2001 after the departure of Jim Jeffries.

Following a spell working for the Premier League, Smith made a return to Town in April 2012 when he was appointed as head of academy recruitment. After just over a year in the role, he stepped down in the summer of 2013 and continued in a scouting role.