Promotion Personalities – Ron Smith

1989/90 Programme

The following article was published during the 1989-90 season in the match day programme and is reproduced here in full. 

Today’s personality from the 1966-67 promotion winning side is Garston born Ron Smith. Ron worked on the railway after leaving school and turned out for a local railway team in the Shipping League where he did sufficiently well to be offered a trial with Aberdeen ( which he didn’t accept ) and to play with Stokes City’s “A” team whilst on a trial at the Victoria Ground. He served with the King’s Regiment during National Service and then joined Liverpool as a teenager, turning professional in December 1957, it was not until Ron moved to Bournemouth for the 1959-60 season that he made his Football League debut. He was signed for Bournemouth by Don Welsh who had also signed him as an amateur at Liverpool. In his first season with the Cherries, Smith scored 3 goals in 9 games and in his second and last season with the Hampshire club he again netted 3 goals, this time in 27 games.

Ron was transferred to Crewe Alexandra for the 1961-62 season making 39 appearances and scoring 6 goals. The following season he played in another 39 League games, scoring 5 goals, helping Crewe gain promotion for the first time in their history. Ron’s bold raiding often caused Southport problems when he played for the Railwaymen.

In the 1963-64 campaign Ron played in 9 League games for Crewe before being transferred to Port Vale for whom he turned out 34 times, scoring 5 goals and in the following season he netted just once in 25 appearances for Vale. He was a playing colleague of Billy Bingham who was appointed Trainer-Coach of Southport during the summer of 1965 and shortly afterwards Ron joined him at Haig Avenue.

Ron soon became a firm favourite with the Southport fans. He possessed good ball control and had the beating of most Fourth Division backs. During the 1965-66 season Ron was an ever-present in the League scoring 8 goals, his best ever season’s aggregate total. He also scored 3 goals in 7 F.A. Cup ties netting twice in the thrilling 3-3 draw against Stockport County at Haig Avenue in the Second Round and heading Southport’s second goal in the 2-0 win over Second Division Cardiff City in Round Four. In 1966-67 Ron missed the first four League matches through injury and scored on his return to the side against York City on 10th September 1966. He was a regular member of the team until Stuart Shaw signed from Crystal Palace and with Billy Bingham only operating one winger, he dropped out of the side in the promotion run-in, making his last appearance on 1st April at Halifax Town. During the season he made 31 appearances ( plus 2 as substitute ) scoring 6 goals including the freak winner against Chester City, when he floated across a corner which deceived Denis Reeves and drifted inside the near post to give Southport a 4-3 win.

Ron made 259 Football League appearances scoring 37 goals and then spent three seasons with Altrincham followed by spells with Netherfield and Formby. Around this time Ron worked on the docks and ran a team in the Zingari Alliance . He later played in the Business House League when working for Bibbys.

In 1975-76 Ron rejoined Formby, running the Reserves and Under 12’s team. In the late 1970’s he turned out as full-back for Fleetwood Hesketh in the same team as Arthur Peat and the Chief Coach Keith Pring, another ex-Sandgrounder. More recently Ron has had a third spell with Formby this time as manager and had the satisfaction of seeing his son play for the Squirrels.

Mike Braham