Dave Smith (footballer, born 1933)

David Bowman Smith (born 22 September 1933) is a Scottish former football player and manager.

Dave Smith
Personal information
Full name David Bowman Smith
Date of birth (1933-09-22) 22 September 1933 (age 87)
Place of birth Dundee, Scotland
Position(s) Full back
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1950–1961 Burnley 99 (1)
1961–1962 Brighton & Hove Albion 15 (0)
1962 Bristol City 3 (0)
Teams managed
1974–1976 Mansfield Town
1976–1983 Southend United
1984–1988 Plymouth Argyle
1988–1989 Dundee
1989–1991 Torquay United
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Playing career

Smith was born in Dundee, Scotland. He started his career as a 16-year-old at First Division Burnley. After 11 years at Burnley, he had short spells at Brighton and Bristol City before retiring to take up coaching at Sheffield Wednesday. Further coaching stints followed at Newcastle United and Arsenal.

Managerial career

Smith helped Newcastle United win the Fairs Cup in 1968–69 as a coach.

His first management job was at Fourth Division Mansfield Town in 1974 where re-election was just avoided. The following season was a triumph, Mansfield taking the title by six points without losing a game at home. The following season saw Mansfield struggle, and it looked as though they would make an immediate return to the Fourth Division, but a run of nineteen games unbeaten saw Mansfield comfortably survive in 11th place. However, Smith resigned shortly after the end of the season following a dispute with the club's directors.

His next job was at Southend United where in his second season promotion from the Fourth Division was achieved again, this time as runners up to Watford in 1978. Two seasons of struggle followed resulting in relegation. Again, promotion was achieved at the first attempt, this time as champions, with nine club records broken in the process. Third Division safety was then achieved and Smith's job was assured until a takeover left him out.

Sixteen months followed out of football selling insurance and applying for every vacant manager's position. Smith then took over at Third Division Plymouth Argyle in December 1984 from Johnny Hore and fifteenth position was achieved in his first part-season. The following year promotion was achieved to the Second Division as runners up to Reading. In 1987 Smith took Plymouth to 7th position in the second tier of English football, narrowly missing out on the end of season play-offs. This was one of the club's highest ever finishing positions and was achieved on a modest playing budget.

Smith's legendary status amongst Argyle fans was helped by his colourful personality, which included using poetry to describe his team's performance and wearing his tartan cap for good luck.

The summer of 1988 resulted in another move, back to Scotland and his home town club Dundee. His spell at Dundee was not to be a happy one, however, and he was sacked after only six months, with the club deep in relegation trouble.

In 1989, Smith returned to the West Country enjoying a successful spell as manager of Torquay United before resigning on 2 April 1991 and retiring from management. Smith was reportedly approached by Plymouth Argyle in 1997 to return to the club as manager, but could not be tempted out of retirement.

However, he remained involved in football and ran highly popular soccer schools in the Plymouth area. Smith is featured on one of the many murals within Plymouth Argyle's Home Park stadium, reflecting his status as one of the club's most popular and successful managers.


Mansfield Town

Southend United

Plymouth Argyle



  • Dave Smith's Promotion Diary 1985-1986, Harley Lawer, Green Books, Plymouth
  • Plymouth Argyle: A Complete Record 1903-1989 ISBN 0-907969-40-2