Former Liverpool captain Tommy Smith dies at 74
LIVERPOOL, England (AP) — Tommy Smith, a tough-tackling former Liverpool captain whose goal helped his hometown club win the European Cup for the first time, has died. He was 74.
Liverpool announced the death of Smith on Friday. In a statement on its website, Smith’s daughter, Janette, said her father “died very peacefully in his sleep” in his nursing home.
Nicknamed the “Anfield Iron” and described as a “club legend” by Liverpool, the defender made 638 appearances for the team from 1960-1978 and won nine major trophies — four English league titles, two FA Cups, a European Cup and two UEFA Cups.
In the 1977 European Cup final against Borussia Moenchengladbach, Smith scored the goal that put Liverpool ahead for the second time. Liverpool won the game 3-1 in Rome.
In an age of uncompromising tackling, he was one of the toughest of them all, though he only got sent off once — and that was for swearing at a referee.
One of his managers, Bill Shankly, once said Smith “wasn’t born, he was quarried.”
Smith took over the lease of Liverpool’s famous music venue, The Cavern Club, after retirement. But, perhaps due to his playing style on the field, he struggled to walk unaided. He suffered a heart attack in 2007 before being diagnosed with Alzheimers and dementia in 2014.
In 2016, former Liverpool teammate Howard Gayle said that Smith had made racist comments to him in training during their careers, and described him as a “disappointment” and a “complete let-down.”