Smith - Stanton
Known as ‘the grand old man’, Bert Smith entered the record books as the scorer of Botwell Mission’s first-ever goal in the FA Cup in September 1919. He scored that goal from centre-half, although he usually played at outside-left. He played the Mission’s first three seasons of senior amateur football, from 1919 to 1922, although he sustained an injury which led to him dropping out of football until the club needed him and, like the big-hearted sportsman that he was, he came back. In the three seasons he made 45 appearances and scored eight goals. A contemporary pen picture described him as: “on the small side, he is not noticed until he has the ball, then that perfect artistry and trickiness becomes obvious at once”.
Bill Smith was an outside-right or inside-forward, who came to Hayes from Wealdstone in 1963. He had previously played for Hendon. By profession an electrician, he was fast and forceful, but it took him some time to settle into the first team. In March 1966 he was selected for London FA in its annual match against Birmingham FA. He left in the summer of 1966, having trials with Chesham United and then joining Wembley. For Hayes he made 97 appearances and scored 26 goals.
During the 1999-2000 season Terry Brown took several players on loan as a way of getting over the combination of budgetary constraints and injuries to key players. One of the most impressive players to come on loan was a young centre-half from Reading, Chris Smith. What was so impressive was that, whereas the regular defenders had developed a habit of simply booting the ball upfield, whence it promptly came back, Chris played his way out of trouble using passes to a colleague's feet. He made only 5+2 appearances, and many supporters wished that he could have made many more.
Denis Smith was a forward, who came to Hayes from Oxford City via Uxbridge in 1955. He stayed for two seasons, filling every forward position in a total of only 11 appearances, in which he scored two goals. He then had two spells with Southall, either side of a season with Uxbridge again, but was advised to give up because of asthma. A Dennis Smith was reserve team manager of Chesham United in 1978-9.
One of the features of clubs in the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s was that players were not expected to make a rapid ascent to the first team, but could bide their time in the reserves, bringing along other players. One such mainly reserve-team player was Eric Smith, who filled any of the defensive positions. He first played for Hayes in 1952-3 and made only 20 appearances over five seasons until 1957-8, with an interruption of one season at Uxbridge in 1956-7; in these games he scored just one goal. And yet he was good enough to play for Chelsea reserves.
It can be difficult to make a positive identification of a player 50 years after he played, when he has a similar name to other players of the same period - especially when the name is Smith. EWA Smith was a winger, who could play on either wing, in the seasons immediately after World War II. He certainly made nine appearances and scored two goals for Hayes in two stints - 1945-6 and 1947-8. In the Hayes News in November 1948 he is described as having played for Hayes in the early days of the war - but the only player of that name was G Smith, who played once in 1939-40, and that was at right-half. He may well have been the same as EW 'Ginger' Smith, who played at centre-forward for Wealdstone for two seasons (1948-50), making 69 appearances and scoring a staggering 48 goals, including a hat-trick against Hayes in 1948-9.
We are on firmer ground when we deal with Gary Smith. A 6ft 3ins centre-half, and cousin of Derek Doyle, he was a pupil at Barnhill and represented Hillingdon Schools. He joined Watford on leaving school and then went to Brentford full-time. After two seasons at Griffin Park without breaking into the first team, he went to Wimbledon, then in the Southern League, and then to Southall for three seasons, from where he joined Hayes for a small fee in 1980. He boasted of having had 20 jobs since leaving school, but had finally settled as an insurance salesman. He went to live in the United States in 1981, where he was involved in running soccer schools. During his season with Hayes he made 55+1 appearances and scored one goal.
It's not often that a player can make 35 appearances over three seasons, score seven goals and yet have little of substance written about him. But such is the fate of Jock Smith. He was a member of the reserve team at the start of 1929-30 and was selected for the Spartan League against the Isthmian League (Reserve Section) in October of that year. Next month, when Petty Officer Billy Webb was selected for an international trial match, Jock took his place at wing-half and played so well that the correspondent in the Middlesex Advertiser commented that Webb would not be guaranteed to get his place back. He didn't, and left. Jock played most of his games in the first team in 1929-30, but was mostly a reserve for the next two seasons.
One of the greatest players to play for Hayes, and the first to win a full international cap, Leslie Smith, was born in 1918 at Ealing. He came to Hayes in 1935 at the age of 16, having already played in an Amateur Cup final for Wimbledon. From 1933 he had worked as an office boy at Griffin Park, under the watchful eye of Harry Curtis, who loaned him to Wimbledon to gain experience in fulfilment of a promise made to Mortimer Miller, when he was an officer of that club. But now that Miller was at Hayes, he kept a close eye on Smith and persuaded Curtis to let Smith join Hayes. Equally at home on either wing, Smith terrorised defences with his youthful exuberance, bordering on cockiness. When Hayes met Southall in February 1936, that exuberance led to him being sent off along with Jack Poxon, later a Hayes player himself. Smith’s stay at Hayes lasted only until March 1936 – as soon as he reached his 17th birthday he signed professional terms with Brentford, then in the first division. He had made 22 appearances and scored eight goals; he had also been selected to represent the Athenian League against the Corinthians and the RAF, where he came across Jack Poxon again. Smith won his only international cap against Romania in 1939 in England’s last pre-war international, but would surely have won many more, had war not intervened. As it was, he added a further 10 war-time ‘caps’. He scored both goals when Brentford defeated Portsmouth to win the London War Cup at Wembley in 1942. Unable to afford housing in the London area, he was transferred to Aston Villa in 1945 for £6,500. Without him, Brentford sank to Division One, but when he returned in 1952 for £3,000 he was clearly past his best, and went to manage Kidderminster in 1953. In 1955 he was appointed scout by Wolverhampton Wanderers. He died in 1995.
One figure bestrides the 1960s in a Hayes shirt. Trevor Smith was the son of a Fulham and Crystal Palace player and later secretary of Wingate of the same name. When his family moved from South London to Bracknell, he joined Wokingham Town as an inside-forward and made his debut at the age of 16. He joined Hayes in 1960 at the age of 18 and was converted to wing-half. He remained a regular until the last year of the decade. In the process he played 383 times, putting him 8th in the list of all-time Hayes appearances. He scored eight goals. He was offered professional terms by Leyton Orient and Reading, but preferred to play amateur football, while working in insurance at Victoria. He won many representative honours, for the Athenian League, Berks & Bucks, Middlesex and London FAs, FA XIs, and Middlesex Wanderers in Japan and South Korea. He was invited to take part in Olympic trials, and was chosen as Athenian League Player of the Year in 1967. But an international cap evaded him. He was appointed club captain in 1966 after being tempted to join Kingstonian in the Isthmian League, where he stood a better chance of recognition. Another factor may well have been that he often found himself barracked by the Hayes crowd. Finally he left early in the 1969-70 season and joined Woking, where he achieved his ambition of playing both nearer home and in the Isthmian League, but too late for international recognition. He was appointed manager of the Cards in 1972 and stayed until sacked in November 1975.
Before the start of the 1939-40 season, team manager Tom Holding would have thought that he had acquired a good replacement for the departed Joe Friday in the form of AH Snazell, a 6ft centre-forward with a good shot, from Enfield and Leyton before that. And so it looked after the opening league matches against Redhill, when he had scored two goals in as many games. But then war arrived and he did not play again for Hayes, but played for Southall in the Middlesex & Herts League for the duration of the war. He was playing in Uxbridge colours against Hayes in December 1945.
Brought into the side from QPR at the start of the 2001-2 season by Terry Brown, Akpo Sodje looked a useful acquisition. A strong forward, brother of Nigerian international Efetebor, he made six appearances and scored two goals before departing to Margate and then into the Football League where he has played for Huddersfield, Darlington and Port Vale (2006).
In the early 1950s when Hayes had one of its strongest all-round line-ups, it was difficult to break into the team, doubly so for players who arrived with little established reputation. Fred South came from unfashionable Harefield United. He had started playing for them at the age of 14 and was in the first team at 16. He started his National Service in 1948 and when he completed it in 1950 he returned to Harefield. He then stepped up to Hayes the following year and established his place at wing-half. He stayed for three seasons, making 55 appearances, before moving to Yiewsley in the Corinthian League. When that club turned professional in the Southern League in 1958 Fred remained as an amateur among professionals. In 1961 he went to Uxbridge and then returned to Harefield finally in 1962. He was still able enough to make the Middlesex team which won the Southern Counties championship. In 1964 he became club treasurer as well as captain, until he retired in 1966 to become manager. He continued in this capacity until June 1970, when he resigned in order to devote time to his family business.
JG Spalton was an inside-forward, who joined Hayes in 1934 at the age of 24 from Golders Green (now Hendon). He was well known to Hayes supporters as he had previously played for Southall. He played the first half of the 1934-5 season at inside-right, making 20 appearances and scoring three goals. But he dropped into the reserves, together with Les Groves, at the start of the new year in order to find his form and he did not play for Hayes again. He joined Sutton United next season and was back at Hayes as a second-half substitute in their pre-season trial match in August 1936, but clearly did not impress.
Two members of Hayes’ Conference team, whose careers overlapped, now follow. Chris Sparks had started at Brentford and joined Hayes from Chertsey Town for £6,000 at the start of the 1997-8 season. He had a lazy style, which belied his speed, and good ball-control for a centre-half. He formed an effective back line with Jason Goodliffe and Nathan Bunce in the most successful season of 1998-9. He missed the start of the next season through injury and was thought to have his difficulties with manager Terry Brown. So it came as no surprise that he was sold to Yeovil Town for £10,000. However, when Yeovil announced that they were turning full-time professional, he made it known that he did not want to do so and left. He joined a succession of lesser clubs, including Yeading, Hendon, Hemel Hempstead Town and Brook House. During his time at Hayes he made 78+5 appearances and scored six goals.
Although he did not play for Botwell Mission until 1919-20, Jack Springle had long been known in Hayes footballing circles. In 1908 he was a member of the Hayes Council School team which won the Daily Telegraph Cup, scoring the winning goal, alongside Jack Brooks, George Leather, Harry Deamer and Reg Knight. It seems surprising that he took so long to line up with his former friends, although E Draper, who had also been a member of the Council School team did not play for the Mission until 1919-20, and only once at that. Playing at outside- or inside-right, Jack made five appearances and scored two goals.
We should briefly record the presence of Phil Stant towards the end of Hayes’ time in the Conference. He was one of a clutch of four "has-beens", who were brought in by Terry Brown as part of his last-ditch gamble to rescue Hayes from their plight in the same way as the short-term acquisition of Jimmy Quinn and the return of Nathan Bunce and Rocky Baptiste, alongside Jason Goodliffe, had succeeded in the previous season. But history did not repeat itself. Stant had previously played for a galaxy of middling Football League clubs, but made only 1+2 appearances for Hayes, before Willy Wordsworth got rid of the mercenaries in his first act as Brown’s replacement.
Another all-time Hayes great who did not achieve international recognition was Phil Stanton (pictured with the ball). Of the three times that he was selected for an international trial, once as captain, he either forwent the opportunity to help his club in the FA Cup, or received a bad injury which put him out of action for some time. He came from Chiswick, where he went from Hogarth School to Hammersmith College to qualify as an architect. He was sought by Fulham, Leyton Orient and Brentford before being invited to Hayes by coach Jim Clarkson in 1958. He immediately made the number six shirt his own at Church Road. He was soon being described in the Middlesex Advertiser as ‘one of the finest half-backs ever to wear the Hayes colours’ and ‘one of the hardest tackling and most intelligent half-backs in the county’. He was selected to attend an FA course for potential members of the British Olympic team in 1959. During the same year he turned down an invitation to trials with Portsmouth, preferring to concentrate on his profession with football as a pastime. He was selected for Middlesex and London FAs, the Athenian League and FA XIs. He captained Hayes from 1961 until 1966, when he left to join Wembley. He had made 279 appearances and scored 20 goals. He stayed at Wembley until 1969, when he announced his retirement. Although he then signed for Uxbridge, he obviously had second thoughts and concentrated on his career as an architect. He had been appointed Senior Assistant Architect to Hayes & Harlington Council in 1964, and was now working in a private practice. There could have been no finer accolade than the description of him in the Middlesex Advertiser in 1963: ‘intelligent, fast-moving, hard-tackling, bundle of energy, his sportsmanship on the field of play was an example to any young player’. The amazing thing is that we have only recently received a photograph of him (2006) courtesy of former Manager Roy Ruffell – the 1960s, like the 1930s, were a period when photographs do not seem to have been taken very often.
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