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.
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.
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.
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:
RIP Jim. The first manager I remember. Sad news.
— Toon Polls (@ToonPolls) December 10, 2019
R.I.P. Jim you where there when it was dark days at St James Park
— Holystone Mags (@MagsHolystone) December 10, 2019
Rip Jim you and Ron can talk about when football was football
— Melvyn Parker (@melp195809) December 10, 2019
The bald eagle is now up in the sky
— The Missing Link (@beefman_1980) December 10, 2019
The first manager I remember as a kid, he really had it tough in his stint but still gave us the epic Quinn & McGhee forward line
RIP Jim 😢😢😢
— Claret & Blue Pixels (@Dazzla84_SSFC) December 10, 2019
Feel like he could have got the team further if the board backed him. The bloke left with his dignity intact. Top man and a true character of the game
— christopher holmes (@mrcrh11) December 10, 2019
RIP to a canny fella
— Neil (@NeilE123) December 10, 2019
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