Outstanding servant of football in Harrogate and District.
George Smith who has died aged 91, was a lifelong supporter of Harrogate Town playing an active role for over 75 years at Town as a player, committee member, director and latterly as a Life Member and regular supporter at most home fixtures.
George was born in 1927 and was a pupil at Christ Church School where he first found his love for football representing the school in the late 1930's.
He joined Harrogate Hotspurs in 1943 as a spritely 16 year old and his first stint at the club encompassed the Whitworth Cup Final in 1950 where he played in front of a record crowd at Wetherby Road of 4,280.
Following a short spell at Harrogate Railway he returned to the Town in 1951 and made a further 124 appearances for the Club scoring 46 goals – indeed records show that George scored the very first goal for the Harrogate Hotspurs in a 2-1 victory over Leeds UYMI.
George Edward Smith was born and bred in Harrogate and his family have left an indelible print on HarrogateTown AFC as two of his sons, Alan and Colin, both played for Harrogate Town, and Alan was to go on and manage the 1st team in the late 70s early 80s, whilst George took up the position of Director.
George made a massive contribution to the developments at Town and was honoured with Honorary Life membership at the Club in 1996/97 – he played in an era where in his day players paid 2/6d (12p in new money) for the honour of representing Harrogate Town and this would go towards paying for the laundry!
A family man, loyal to the core, with a great sense of humour, he took immense pleasure in seeing the progress made in recent years at Town both on and off the pitch, and the Club paid a recent home visit to enable him to see the Conference North Play Off Trophy.
George married June Sanpher in February 1950, had 2 sons Alan and Colin, was father in law to Lesley and Sue, had 3 grandchildren Paul, Laura and Ryan, and 2 great grandchildren Oscar and Sebbie – his legacy at Town continues with Ryan now an active member of the coaching team helping to develop young talent at the Player Development Centre.
George Edward Smith born 25th March 1927, died 19th June 2018.
The funeral service will be held at Stonefall Crematorium on Monday 9th July at 1.40pm
“The Smith family have played a massive part in shaping Harrogate Town AFC over the last 60 years and George was central to those developments.
Not only that, he was a great human being – unselfish, loyal, a giver rather than a taker, and a massive force for progress at the club. He will be much missed by all at Town but we hope it will be some consolation that his grandson Ryan is still shaping Town footballers in his role as coach at the PDC.” Simon Weaver – Manager, Harrogate Town AFC
“George often came to the match with his chum and our President George Dunnington. Both rarely stopped smiling, talking and watching the match passionately. Whilst George liked a pot of tea I also enjoyed sipping a single malt with him at half time. The Club has had some true gents involved over the years and George was one of them and I am enriched from having known him - Garry Plant.
“A lovely person who, over many years, gave heart and soul to the club and must have been pretty pleased to see the fruits of all his work grow and flourish in recent years. A true gent and it was a pleasure to be in his company at the CNG. Our condolences to all the Smith family” – Ged Maloney.