RIP GUY N SMITH (1939-2020)

25/05/2021 13:24

Devsatating news hit our club last Christmas, when the shock and sudden death of founder and legendary horror writer Guy Newman Smith was announced from Shrewsbury hospital. Guy was 81 but from recent annual meetings with Mike Bradbury and several other club members, was in good mental health. He had been hobbling about for over a year in need of a hip replacement and the last time six of us went over to Guy's farm at Club, he was struggling just to play at all. Mike first met Guy in 1970, the day after the cup final, and Guy came over to Mike's at Hednesford from Tamworth where he lived at the time. Modern OO scale teams were just coming out, and everyone was changing to them, Mike included, but when Guy walked all over the rest of us in the league with his old cardboard flat figures as if our block flicks didn't exist, Mike and one or two others switched back to them, especially when later in the 1980s some of us played in the ETSA National League. Guy taught us the merits of good and regular block-flicking, how to use the goalie rod to save or block off shots from the wing, and was the leading influence and yardstick for improvement in Staffordshire. He also organised inter-county matches for Staffordshire, and we met the full Welsh team several times over the years. His wonderfully cool disposition saw him a byeword for gentlemanly conduct on the baize, and he was soon known as "Gentleman Guy". Guy was just happy to keep on playing year on year, as the decades rolled by, and remained unflustered as the standards of consistency of the leading players overlapped him. He won few trophies in his time, save one Mercian Cup (3-2 over Mike in 1978) but when he started up a Border Counties League in Knighton, he once again was the master, and won the league and the Shropshire Cup a few times. In recent years, when the South Staffs Club memberships fell back to just five players, Guy, with six 1-0 wins from six, was the league winner in 2016 and finally won the Staffordshire Cup in 2014 when a rock of a free kick was enough to beat Mike 1-0 in Clun. Guy also helped Tom Taylor to organise the Knighton Open on a few occasions in the 1990s, when thirty odd players would turn out from all over Wales and the Midlands. Below - the irreplaceable Guy Smith (centre) at a club meet in Rushall 1977.