Liverpool mourn legend Tommy Smith

Tommy Smith, who made 638 appearances for Liverpool over a 15-year period and scored a vital goal to help the club win the European Cup final in 1977, has died at the age of 74.

Tommy Smith (left) celebrates with Kevin Keegan after Liverpool's 1974 FA Cup final win over Newcastle United
Tommy Smith (left) celebrates with Kevin Keegan after Liverpool's 1974 FA Cup final win over Newcastle United ©Getty Images

Liverpool have lost one of their finest servants with the passing of former captain Tommy Smith at the age of 74.

Nicknamed the 'Anfield Iron', Smith made 638 appearances for his home-town club between 1963 and 1978, helping them become established as the foremost team in English football during a period when they accumulated four league titles, two FA Cups and their first three European trophies.

Bill Shankly, his first manager at Anfield, once quipped that the powerful Smith "wasn't born, he was quarried". He could play in central defence or midfield, and in a tough-tackling era, his hard-man reputation had an inspiring effect on team-mates, according to Bob Paisley, Shankly's successor, who once said of Smith: "It was a little bit like having a big brother around to sort out any trouble you got into."

Smith made his Liverpool debut in a home fixture against Birmingham City in May 1963, and ended the 1964/65 season as a Wembley winner after the Reds' first ever FA Cup final success, a 2-1 victory against Leeds United. Twelve months later, he collected his first English league championship winners' medal.

Capped once by England, in 1971, Smith was a central figure in the Reds' first European triumphs as that decade unfolded. In 1973, he was skipper as they overcame Borussia Mönchengladbach in what proved the first of two UEFA Cup final wins in four years. Then, in 1976/77 – a season earmarked as his last – he headed the vital second goal in Liverpool's 3-1 final victory against Gladbach in Rome, as Paisley's team won their first European Champion Clubs' Cup.

Smith ultimately decided to stay on for another season before moving to Swansea City, where he helped the Welsh club gain promotion to the English second division in his final campaign as a professional.

Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish, a team-mate of Smith's in that 1977 European Cup final, said: "He was a fantastic servant. He was a great advert for Liverpool Football Club. It's very sad to see him go, but his memories will be there forever."