RIP Tommy Smith, the Anfield Iron

Maria

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Undoubtedly a great player in Liverpool’s history who contributed heavily in multiple cup and league wins. However, I feel somewhat uneasy in eulogising over a man who was consistently racially abusing a team mate during his time here and continued to hold such views years later.
I didnt know this. I think, we have to take into context in the era he was born in and the mindset of that time as well, where teams were not multicultural like they are in the last 25 years.
 

Red over the water

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It’s not an unfair comment Herb, but my view is he gets the benefit of the doubt, along the lines that that sort of thing was more prevalent in his generation and the world he grew up in. Definitely not right, and thankfully times have moved on - though those Chelsea idiots prove there’s still work to do.

Anyway, your comment is fair, but while Tommy’s body is still warm it seems right to first respect one of our own for his enormous standing and achievement as a true Liverpool man, and then give him the benefit of the doubt over one or two unsavory aspects. That’s my take anyhow.

PS - I liked your comment because you mentioned something that was there, and didn’t overlook it, but you did so fairly and respectfully, while also acknowledging the player’s considerable achievements.
 

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Herb

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Goes without question that he was a product of the environment he grew up in, and views like that were obviously not uncommon in those days. Still, personally I find it hard to excuse when he continued to express such views later in his life after his career had ended at an age and in a time period in which I’d like to think most people had moved beyond holding such vile viewpoints. Pulled the passage below from his Wikipedia page.

In 1988, Smith caused controversy after stating in an interview with the author Dave Hill that Howard Gayle "suffered from a black man's attitude towards the white man. See, everybody thinks whites have an attitude towards blacks. In reality it's blacks who have a problem with the whites... I used to call Howard the 'White Nigger'. Now that is a compliment. It was the only way I could find to describe that I thought he was OK." Smith then went on to comment to Hill that "I'm not prejudiced but if a coon moved in next door, I'd move, like most white people would. If my daughter came home with a nigger, I'd go mad. But I'm only being truthful and normal."

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/oct/03/howard-gayle-being-liverpool-first-black-player-was-difficult Howard Gayle’s interview here as well if anybody wants to read it.

Anyway, just want to reiterate that this is my personal viewpoint and whilst I have no issue with people wanting to pay respects to somebody who did so much for the club, I feel it’s important that people who are so openly racist are not absolved of their bigotry in death.
 
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Maria

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Goes without question that he was a product of the environment he grew up in, and views like that were obviously not uncommon in those days. Still, personally I find it hard to excuse when he continued to express such views later in his life after his career had ended at an age and in a time period in which I’d like to think most people had moved beyond holding such vile viewpoints. Pulled the passage below from his Wikipedia page.

In 1988, Smith caused controversy after stating in an interview with the author Dave Hill that Howard Gayle "suffered from a black man's attitude towards the white man. See, everybody thinks whites have an attitude towards blacks. In reality it's blacks who have a problem with the whites... I used to call Howard the 'White Nigger'. Now that is a compliment. It was the only way I could find to describe that I thought he was OK." Smith then went on to comment to Hill that "I'm not prejudiced but if a coon moved in next door, I'd move, like most white people would. If my daughter came home with a nigger, I'd go mad. But I'm only being truthful and normal."

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/oct/03/howard-gayle-being-liverpool-first-black-player-was-difficult Howard Gayle’s interview here as well if anybody wants to read it.

Anyway, just want to reiterate that this is my personal viewpoint and whilst I have no issue with people wanting to pay respects to somebody who did so much for the club, I feel it’s important that people who are so openly racist are not absolved of their bigotry in death.
Thank you, it was a very informative and eye-opening read. I understand why you posted this. We as a club and fans have to face our own flaws, accept them and strive to be better football club and people in the world community.
Tbh, i am abit shocked really. I don't think Smith ever got over having to give up football and seeing younger players get the better of him, especially from ethnic minorities. It must have been so awful to be in that constricted environment for Howard Gayle and the abuse he had to go through, is frankly speaking disgusting. I have to applaud him for his bravery for speaking out. Despite Souness getting many things wrong in his footballing life and has had his share of criticism, I have to commend him coming out to support Gayle, this is such a noble deed during his time at the club.
 
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Arminius

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Goes without question that he was a product of the environment he grew up in, and views like that were obviously not uncommon in those days. Still, personally I find it hard to excuse when he continued to express such views later in his life after his career had ended at an age and in a time period in which I’d like to think most people had moved beyond holding such vile viewpoints. Pulled the passage below from his Wikipedia page.

In 1988, Smith caused controversy after stating in an interview with the author Dave Hill that Howard Gayle "suffered from a black man's attitude towards the white man. See, everybody thinks whites have an attitude towards blacks. In reality it's blacks who have a problem with the whites... I used to call Howard the 'White Nigger'. Now that is a compliment. It was the only way I could find to describe that I thought he was OK." Smith then went on to comment to Hill that "I'm not prejudiced but if a coon moved in next door, I'd move, like most white people would. If my daughter came home with a nigger, I'd go mad. But I'm only being truthful and normal."

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/oct/03/howard-gayle-being-liverpool-first-black-player-was-difficult Howard Gayle’s interview here as well if anybody wants to read it.

Anyway, just want to reiterate that this is my personal viewpoint and whilst I have no issue with people wanting to pay respects to somebody who did so much for the club, I feel it’s important that people who are so openly racist are not absolved of their bigotry in death.
I had a lot of respect for Souness for proving moral support for Gayle, while still making him earn the respect of the rest of the side. In perfect hindsight, Smith hanging on in an embittering period as a fading player was setting both Smith and Gayle up to fail. They never actually played together, I think separated by several years, and the fact that they training together when both were actually marginal figures inadvertently created a needless conflict. It is perhaps unfortunate that Gayle was not a few years earlier - everything I ever heard about Smith suggests he would take a bullet for a teammate. With a little change in timing, we might now be talking about Smith as something of a hero in this regard, and he might have learned something as a human being. The history is rather more unfortunate.
 

Quicksand

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Sad news indeed.
RIP Tommy

This game that consumes our lives is far worse off since they lost and have actively tried to eradicate players like you from the way the game is played today.
Its easy in the modern game to dismiss him and others as kickers or hackers, but in truth they were much more than that, they were players as well. My hero worship of him was as a player, the kind of guy you needed in your team, because when the Heighways or Evans got kicked, they knew Tomny would put a tackle in to even the score pretty quickly.

As a kid playing schoolyard football in the seventies there was no access to live streams and social media to influence your likes or dislikes. MOTD, the odd live game and the reports on Sundays papers made up your mind.
I said in the Chelsea pre match thread that I yearn for the halcyon days of Dalglish, Smith and Hughes, and want todays reds to mirror them. I didnt know Tomny had died at the time. Part of my childhood, chasing the kid that was Alan Clarke in his admiral top, so that I could be Tommy Smith with a snappy tackle, is now long gone. Oh, I was never going to be Keegan or Heighway, but I did enjoy being Tommy Smith!
 

Sweeting

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Undoubtedly a great player in Liverpool’s history who contributed heavily in multiple cup and league wins. However, I feel somewhat uneasy in eulogising over a man who was consistently racially abusing a team mate during his time here and continued to hold such views years later.
Yep 100% correct. He is absolute legend for what he did on the pitch - off the pitch he is more troubling character with his views and treatment of Howard Gayle, and to a (much) lesser extent Emlyn Hughes.

RIP to a footballing legend and I'll withhold any more comments about him a person in this thread.
 

RedBaron

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It seems there was a lot more to Tommy, than the man I saw sweating blood for the Reds. Some of the comments (However truthful) are making me feel fairly uncomfortable.
They may be more appropriate in another thread, rather in this one which hopefully is to a player who always gave his all on the pitch.
 

RedForever2014

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Came on here to pay my respects to a great servant to LFC, and pretty shocked to read some of the comments.

Everyone has good and bad in them, everyone does right and wrong things in their life.

If he made racist comments, or was racist, that was clearly wrong, but it does not make the man evil or unworthy of respect, gratitude and sadness at his passing.

I remember standing in the Kop as a kid in the 80s and thousands of kopites singing the Munich songs. That didn't make them all evil, most of them did so without even really thinking through what they were actually saying/singing, or would later look back on what they'd done and realise how stupid they'd been.

Let's just remember someone who despite any faults and failings, made a huge contribution to the era that still underpins what LFC is today.

RIP Tommy Smith.
 

Jimmyscase

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He was a player feared and respected by opponents and a force of iron will in our dressing room. No hypocrisy needed please by those ex-players he didn't get on with. Privately too, I hope they could make their peace with him even if they don't lament his passing as much as us fans.
 

theres always tommorrow

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Met Tommy once at a hospitality thing. Friendly but passionate about everything Liverpool. Some great stories about the glory years and that goal in the European cup!
Great ambassador and legend. Will be sadly missed....RIP lad.
 

legalalien

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RIP Tommy Smith a true LFC legend who is part of the DNA of the club.

Having said that, when I was a kid I didn't like the scary looking man very much. One time when I was hanging around the players entrance trying to get autographs he barged into me and almost knocked me over. Don't remember him apologizing, but I do remember him glaring at me. Put the fear of god into me just as he did with opposing forwards. I think I ended up apologizing for getting in his way.
 

indianscouser

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R.I.P Tommy
Seen a few videos of him, all I know is he is one of us and he is part of this clubs glorious history.
You'll never walk alone.
 

brucie bonus

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Very sad news, Tommy Smith has passed away. Condolences to the Smith family
a true legend and loyal servant to the club for 18 years and was one of the most influential midfielders in the club's successful history. His nickname was 'Anfield Iron'.

RIP Tommy, a true legend.

Yes he was a dedicated Liverpool player throughout
 

William Clarke

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Tommy Smith, a hard man who played the game fair and always to win. The 'Anfield Iron' a legend. THANK YOU, Tommy, for all you did for our great club.

REST IN PEACE