Warm tributes paid to Brian ‘Smudger Smith’ stalwart of Great Yarmouth Town Football Club

Brian 'Smudger' Smith, stalwart of Great Yarmouth Town FC, who has died aged 75. Picture: supplied b

Brian 'Smudger' Smith, stalwart of Great Yarmouth Town FC, who has died aged 75. Picture: supplied by Barbara Smith - Credit: Barbara Smith

Warm tributes have been paid to a stalwart of Great Yarmouth Town Football Club, who died at the age of 75.

Brian Smith dedicated decades of his life to the Bloaters, serving in a number of roles including more than 30 years as club secretary.

Following in the footsteps of his father Fred Smith, Smudger - as he was known at the club - was a devoted volunteer for the club, gaining an encyclopedic knowledge of the game.

His father was gatesman at the club from many years, and as a child, Mr Smith would go to the Wellesley as a supporter.

Arthur Fisk, club president, has led tributes to Mr Smith, who took on the role of treasurer three years ago.

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He said: 'Smudger was one of the absolute best. He will be sorely missed at the club, there is no doubt about that.

'His death has sent ripples of sadness through the club. He was so experienced in his role and knew it inside out - if every anybody had any problems, he would have the answer.'

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Mr Fisk, who knew Mr Smith ever since they went to school together in Gorleston, added that football was his life.

'He will be a huge loss for Great Yarmouth Football Club,' he added. 'You just cannot replace a person like him easily.

'His efforts and memories will live on for years to come.'

The club observed a minute's silence in his honour ahead of its visit to Walsham le Willows on April 1, then again at the Wellesley when Wivenhoe Town visited on Tuesday.

Having played as a goalkeeper in school, Mr Smith went on to become a referee and helped to establish the Norfolk and Suffolk Youth Leagues in the 1970s.

He died in the James Paget University Hospital on March 30, after a long battle with a muscular condition called Kennedy's disease. He leaves wife Barbara, son Kevin, daughter Samantha and three grandchildren, Danielle, Lewis and Andrew.

Mrs Smith, who he spent more than 30 years with before eventually marrying in 2002 and lived with on Leach Close in Bradwell, said he was 'her rock'.

She added: 'He was a lovely man, with such common sense.'

Alongside his work at the club, he also worked for many years as a heating engineer.

His funeral will be held at 1.30pm on Tuesday, April 18 at Gorleston Crematorium. Family flowers only.

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