Former referee DW Smith dies aged 84

Stroud News and Journal: Referee David Smith, known professionally as DW Smith, holds up a glass which was thrown at him during a match between Leeds and Liverpool at Elland Road, Leeds, on May 4, 1968 Referee David Smith, known professionally as DW Smith, holds up a glass which was thrown at him during a match between Leeds and Liverpool at Elland Road, Leeds, on May 4, 1968

DAVID Smith - better known as Football League and Fifa referee DW Smith - has died at the age of 84.

David, of Melbourne Drive, Stonehouse, will be best remembered as the referee for the centenary 1971-72 FA Cup Final between Leeds United and Arsenal.

Born in Barnet, where he first got the football bug, David served as a football league referee from 1959 to 1974 and as a FIFA referee from 1968 to 1974.

His final match at the very top was the infamous Manchester derby played between Man Utd v Man City on April 27, 1974 , when after Dennis Law had back-heeled the ball into the United net to put City one up and the certainty that United would be relegated, with eight minutes left before the end of the game home fans spilled on to the pitch.

David took all the players off and when he brought them back again a hail of missiles followed and despite Sir Matt Busby’s appeals, the fans came on again.

Back in the dressing room, Smith abandoned the game once he heard that other results meant United would go down anyway, and the result was allowed to stand.

It was a sad end to his long career but he will always be remembered for his no-nonsense style of officiating and being clearly identified at matches with his blonde hair and trademark white handkerchief sticking out of his back pocket.

Calling many a player to him after some indiscretion on the field, they immediately thought that their name was to be taken when David went to his pocket, only for him to pull out the hanky and wipe his nose.

Besides his service to refereeing, not only as an active referee but assessor and mentor, he spent many years in the service of his beloved Gloucestershire FA as an administrator and secretary for the Stroud & District League.

David is survived by his wife Ann – with whom he celebrated his 65th wedding anniversary on November 10 - and his son Terry, Vivienne his daughter in-law and grandchildren Alexander and Rebecca.

His funeral will take place at Standish Parish Church on Friday, December 3 at 11.30am with all invited to join the family at the Woolpack Inn after the service.

David’s service to football will be remembered at Forest Green Rovers’ match against Luton Town on December 4.

Cards or letters for the family should be sent to Davante, 32 Melbourne Drive, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire. GL10 2PJ.

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