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Famous Like Me > Footballer > S > Lionel Smith

Profile of Lionel Smith on Famous Like Me

Name: Lionel Smith  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 23rd August 1920
Place of Birth: Mexborough, Yorkshire
Profession: Footballer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

Lionel Smith (August 23, 1920 – November 1980) was an English footballer.

Born in Mexborough, Yorkshire, Smith played for local non-league sides before signing as an amateur with London club Arsenal in April 1939. He turned professional that summer, only for World War II to break out; Smith joined the Royal Engineers and served as a sapper, but also played in some wartime matches for Arsenal (17 in all). An injury incurred in a crane accident threatened to disrupt his career, but when first-class football resumed in 1946, Smith had made a full recovery, and was made captain of the Gunners' reserve side.

Smith primarily played as a full back, but his initial chances were few and far between; Arsenal already had quality full backs in Laurie Scott and Walley Barnes. Smith made his debut at centre half, deputising for Leslie Compton, in an 8-0 victory over Grimsby Town on May 1, 1948, the final match of their 1947-48 First Division-winning season. Smith finally gained a regular place at left back, after Scott suffered a series of injuries and Barnes switched sides to cover for him.

Smith was known for his pace and the quality of his distribution (whenever possible, he eschewed "hoofing" the ball up the pitch), and finally picked up a medal when he played in the Gunners' FA Cup final victory over Liverpool in 1950. Smith got international recognition when he was picked for England for a match against Wales on November 15, 1950 – making his debut at the relatively late age of 30. He went on to win six caps for his country.

Having missed all but one of the Gunners' 1947-48 title win, Smith finally picked up a League winners' medal in 1952-53. However, by now he was 33, and his age was starting to count against him. He only played seven matches in 1953-54, and at the end of that season he left the club on a free transfer. In all he had played 181 games for Arsenal, never scoring a goal.

He spent a single season at Watford, before moving to Gravesend & Northfleet as manager, where he won the 1957-58 Southern League title. Smith stepped down as Gravesend manager in 1960, and retired from football altogether. He died in 1980, aged 60.

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Lionel Smith