Douglas Smith, was the founder and guiding light behind one of the most successful football clubs in the country.

At various times its playing staff has included Sir Alex Ferguson, Archie Gemmill, Asa Hartford, John Wark and a host of other Scottish internationalists. It is even rumoured that, at one stage, Kenny Dalglish was turned down because he

wasn't strong enough.

The football club was Drumchapel Amateurs, which Smith

founded in 1950. He spent the next 50 years nurturing the club and, through it, generations of young players, hundreds of whom went on to

earn a living in the game they all loved.

Besides Queen's Park, the ''Drum'' became the best- known amateur side in the country. The club also built an enviable international reputation accepting invitations to represent Scotland in tournaments all over the continent.

Born in Glasgow, Smith graduated from Cambridge University with honours in engineering before joining the army. He was badly injured during training as an infantry officer and was discharged medically unfit. He joined the family engineering company, Arnott Young, and eventually oversaw its conversion into a highly successful shipbreaking business.

During a successful business career he became a recognised expert on the use of scrap supplies and acted as adviser to the European Community. He acted as chairman and chief executive of the family business until it was taken over by Tarmac in 1977. He has also acted as a consultant on marine salvage to Clyde Port Authority and advised on projects in Greece, Egypt, Malta, India and Nigeria.

Away from business, he served for a number of years as a local councillor representing Cardross and Craigendoran in West Dunbartonshire, and, for 25 years, was the captain of one of Glasgow's largest and most successful Boys' Brigade companies.

But it was football in general and Drumchapel Amateurs in particular that was his passion.

The story began when Smith, his leg still in plaster, returned from the army to what was still the village of Drumchapel on the western outskirts of Glasgow. He was asked to take over the local Boys' Brigade team, which by his own admission was dreadful and had never won a match.

He set about recruiting talented youngsters and the club was soon entering teams in a variety of competitions. This led to a summons from Willie Allan, the formidable secretary of the Scottish Football Association, who told him: ''Mr Smith, you have First Drumchapel BB Company playing in two different leagues under two different associations.You are not allowed to do that. You will have to change the name of one of the teams.'' So Drumchapel Amateurs was born.

At the same time, Smith was instrumental in the establishment of the Caledonian League which became the benchmark for amateur football in the west of Scotland.

Such was Smith's commitment to doing things properly that he invested not only time and effort but a good deal of his own money in the project as well. He recalled: ''We used to do things that were a bit daft in the early days. We wanted this to be a little special. We were a youth team then and a lot of the boys played for their school teams in the morning and for us in the afternoon. We decided to take them to lunch at Reid's tearooms in Glasgow. There they were in the Tudor room in one alcove and in another was the Queen's Park First XI. I think it cost about one shilling and 10 pence but we had about 20 or 30 boys turning up.''

Smith also paid (pounds) 150 a year, a significant sum, to three junior clubs to allow the team to use their grounds when the sides were playing away from home. This ulimately led to the acquisition of Duntocher's Hibs ground as the club's home. Before that, they had played on a black-ash park in Drumchapel which was universally referred to as ''The Dump''.

At one stage, the club, determinedly non-sectarian, almost stumbled into Glasgow's football divide. They were offered the chance to play at Rangers' old Albion training ground, across the road from Ibrox stadium. The club had inherited their strip of green-and-white hoops and it was decided that is might be too hazardous an outfit for youngsters crossing to an from the changing rooms.

The club later changed to a red strip but such is the loyalty and affection that former players have for their time with the Drum that when a veterans team including Sir Alex gathered for a 50th anniversary challenge match they asked to play in their old green-and-white hoops.

In January 2003 Smith finally handed over the reins of the club he had run for more than half a century. Aged 73, he said: ''I feel ony about two or three years older than the boys I work with. That is what working with youngsters does to you. They are my life. I have been a very fortunate man.''

Douglas Smith, born August 1, 1927; died February 25, 2004.