Former Newcastle United manager, Jim Smith, has died at the age of 79.

Smith, affectionately known as the Bald Eagle, managed Newcastle between December 1988 and March 1991, and despite having a relegation on his Tyneside record in 1989, he almost saw the club achieve an instant return to the top division.

(Picture Credit: Stephen Munday/Allsport)

It was not to be, however, with the Magpies infamously losing the two-legged Tyne-Wear derby in the play-offs, suffering a 2-0 defeat at home, having drawn the Wearside leg 0-0.

He arrived at Newcastle having left Queens Park Rangers, where he took the London side to the League Cup Final the previous season, which they lost 3-0 to another of his former clubs, Oxford United.

Smith left Newcastle amid boardroom upheaval

He resigned from his role at St James’ Park, with Newcastle out of the promotion race, and the club embroiled in a power struggle at boardroom level.

(Photo by David Ashdown/Getty Images)

After a short time coaching at Middlesbrough following his departure, he took the manager’s job at Portsmouth, where he stayed for four years.

He was sacked from Pompey, and then became boss at Derby, where he spent six seasons.

He was a popular figure with most Geordie fans, and although there were few outstanding achievements during his time at the club, he did make some notable signings.

(Photo by NCJ Archive/Mirrorpix/Getty Images)

Micky Quinn, Pavel Srnicek, Bjorn Kristensen, Kevin Brock and John Burridge, among others, were all signed by Smith.

Newcastle posted their sad thoughts at learning the news on Twitter.

The amiable manager will be a big loss to both the game and many Newcastle fans who remember his time in the St James’ Park dugout.


Fans were quick to respond to the club’s tweet to share their thoughts about their former boss: