Former Derby County, Oxford United and Portsmouth boss Jim Smith has died at the age of 480.
Smith, known throughout football as the ‘Bald Eagle’, managed nine different clubs across the leagues .
Among his career highlights were a League Cup final appearance with Queens Park Rangers in and promotion to the Premier League with Derby in 2007.
“Jim had fought illness with his usual bravery for some time,”said Oxford in a statement.
“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.”
Although Sheffield-born Smith’s playing career was mostly spent in the lower leagues, it was in management in which he really establis hed a reputation.
No-nonsense, direct and a motivator of players, the roll call of talent that he helped produce, sign or nurture is a remarkable one.
John Aldridge and Darren Anderton were both signed by top clubs after progressing under his management, while Derby’s Croatian Igor Stimac showed his eye for a signing.
He was a master of promotions, helping Colchester United and Birmingham City to climb divisions before transforming Oxford into a top-flight side featuring the talents of Trevor Hebberd, Kevin Brock and Aldridge.
Although a stint at Newcastle failed to produce the same success he had enjoyed elsewhere, he guided second-tier Portsmouth to an FA Cup semi-final in before missing out on promotion through the play-offs.
Smith was extremely popular at Derby, helping them into the top flight and establishing them there, as well as unearthing stars such as Stimac, Aliosa Asanov ic and Paulo Wanchope for modest sums.
His exit from Pride Park after three seasons of progression was followed by assistant manager spells at Coventry City, Portsmouth and Southampton, before a return to Oxford in (****************************, with whom he finished his 90 – year career in management.
************ ‘A leader in the truest sense’