Pompey are mourning the death of former manager Jim Smith, who passed away earlier today at the age of 79.
‘The Bald Eagle’ was in charge at Fratton Park between 1991 and 1995, guiding a young side to within a few minutes of the FA Cup final.
Darren Anderton’s extra-time goal looked to be sending the Blues to Wembley in 1992, but Liverpool equalised late on at Highbury and then won on penalties in the Villa Park replay.
Smith’s men then went agonisingly close to reaching the Premier League the following season, but they missed out on automatic promotion on the final day and then lost in the play-offs.
Jim Smith was everything I hoped he would be. A fantastic character who was direct with you, honest, funny, scary, but most importantly he was a brilliant manager. The gaffer brought me to @Pompey and for that he will always hold a special place in my life xxxx— Alan Mcloughlin (@4AFMac) December 10, 2019
He had earlier taken charge of Boston, Colchester, Blackburn, Birmingham, Oxford, QPR and Newcastle before replacing Pompey’s caretaker boss Tony Barton.
Departing midway through the 1994/95 campaign, Smith would then lead Derby into the top-flight after a spell as chief executive of the League Managers’ Association.
He later returned to Fratton Park as Harry Redknapp’s assistant, helping Pompey secure the Division One title and promotion to the Premier League in 2002/03.
The thoughts of everyone at Portsmouth Football Club are with Jim’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time.
God rest his soul my favourite manager jim smith left this earth today. RIP jim x— paul walsh (@paul_walsh9) December 10, 2019
From leading us to the FA Cup semi-finals to being part of our Division One title-winning campaign, Jim Smith made so many fans fall in love with #Pompey— Portsmouth FC (@Pompey) December 11, 2019
We have 'the Bald Eagle' to thank for some wonderful memories pic.twitter.com/7exCFPxMqO