Tom Smith

Tom Smith : Preston North End

Thomas McCall Smith was born in Fenwick, Scotland, on 4th October, 1909. He played for Sinclair Celtic and Cumnock Juveniles before joining Kilmarnock in the Scottish League. The league was dominated by Celtic and Glasgow Rangers but he did win a Scottish Cup medal in 1932.

On 14th April, 1934, Smith won his first international cap when he represented Scotland against England. He also played for the Scottish League against the Football League in October, 1936. Smith had an impressive game and soon afterwards he was persuaded to join Preston North End.

Smith initially had to compete for the centre-half position with Bill Tremelling and did not play in the 1937 FA Cup Final when Preston North End lost to Sunderland 3-1.

At the beginning of the next season, Preston made two important signings. In September, 1937, Preston purchased the high scoring George Mutch, from Manchester United for £5,000. The following month, Robert Beattie a skillful inside forward, arrived from Kilmarnock for a fee of £2,500. They joined fellow Scotsmen, Tom Smith, Jimmy Dougal, Andrew Beattie, Jimmy Maxwell, Hugh O'Donnell, Francis O'Donnell, and Bill Shankly in the side.

Tom Smith was in the first-team for most of the 1937-38 season. The Scottish dominated Preston side finished 3rd in the First Division of the Football League with 49 points. Only Arsenal (52) and Wolverhampton Wanderers (51) obtained more points.

Preston had a successful run in the 1937-38 FA Cup. Preston beat West Ham United in the 3rd round with George Mutch scored a hat trick. Mutch also scored goals in the 4th round against Leicester City and in the semi-final when Preston beat Aston Villa 2-1.

In the 1938 FA Cup Final Preston played Huddersfield Town. This was the first time that a whole match was shown live on television. Even so, far more people watched the game in the stadium as only around 10,000 people at the time owned television sets. No goals were scored during the first 90 minutes and so extra-time was played. In the last minute of extra-time, Bill Shankly put George Mutch through on goal. Alf Young, Huddersfield's centre-half, brought him down from behind and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot. Mutch was injured in the tackle but after receiving treatment he got up and scored via the crossbar.

1938 was a good year for Tom Smith. On 9th April, 1938 Smith played for Scotland against England at Wembley. Also in the Scottish team were Preston colleagues, Bill Shankly, George Mutch, Andrew Beattie and Francis O'Donnell. Scotland won 1-0 with Mutch scoring the only goal of the game.

On Friday, 1st September, 1939, Adolf Hitler ordered the invasion of Poland. The football that Saturday went ahead as Neville Chamberlain did not declare war on Germany until Sunday, 3rd September. The government immediately imposed a ban on the assembly of crowds and as a result the Football League competition was brought to an end.

The government gave permission for football clubs to play friendly matches. In the interests of public safety, the number of spectators allowed to see these games was limited to 8,000. These arrangements were later revised, and clubs were allowed gates of 15,000 from tickets purchased on the day of the game through the turnstiles.

Gallimore was a member of the Preston North End team that won the North Regional League title in 1941. It has been argued by Jack Rollin (Soccer at War: 1939-45) that: "The first club to benefit from a youth policy to any marked degree was Preston North End, who owed success in 1940-41 to their exceptional pre-war structure."

Preston North End also took part in the 1941 Football League War Cup. Preston beat Bury, Bolton, Tranmere, Manchester City and Newcastle to reach the final. The Preston team that faced Arsenal at Wembley on 31st May was: Jack Fairbrother, Frank Gallimore, William Scott, Bill Shankly, Tom Smith, Andrew Beattie, Tom Finney, Andrew McLaren, Jimmy Dougal, Robert Beattie and Hugh O'Donnell.

The game took place in front of a 60,000 crowd. Arsenal was awarded a penalty after only three minutes but Leslie Compton hit the foot of the post with the spot kick. Soon afterwards Andrew McLaren scored from a pass from Tom Finney. Preston dominated the rest of the match but Dennis Compton managed to get the equaliser just before the end of full-time.

The replay took place at Ewood Park, the ground of Blackburn Rovers. The first goal was as a result of a move that included Tom Finney and Jimmy Dougal before Robert Beattie put the ball in the net. Frank Gallimore put through his own goal but from the next attack, Beattie scored again. It was the final goal of the game and Preston ended up the winners of the cup.

Smith continued to play for Preston North End during the Second World War. At the end of hostilities he went back to Scotland where he managed Kilmarnock.

Tom Smith died on 21st June 1998.