Oxford United lost a club legend today with the death of former Manager Jim Smith.
Jim, ‘The Bald Eagle’ arrived at the club in 1982 from Birmingham City and masterminded an astonishing rise from the third tier to the top level before leaving for QPR in the summer of 1985.
Along the way he had managed United to two successive titles and countless cup upsets against more famous sides with his team playing superb attacking football and stars such as John Aldridge, Ray Houghton, David Langan and Trevor Hebberd becoming heroes at the club.
Later to manage Portsmouth, Derby County and Newcastle United, Jim returned to the U’s at the end of the 2006 season before retiring from management other than a short spell as caretaker boss once again at the U’s.
Having started his managerial career at Boston United in 1969, where he was player-manager, Jim moved on to Colchester and Blackburn Rovers before managing Birmingham and in total managed in an astonishing 1,475 matches, winning 577 of them.
Jim had fought illness with his usual bravery for some time but sadly passed away earlier today aged 79.
Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this sad time.