Liverpool and England footballer

Born: April 5, 1945;

Died: April 12, 2019

TOMMY Smith, who has died aged 74, was one of the hardest of the hard men of 1960s and 1970s football. Bill Shankly, his legendary Anfield manager, himself a football hard man, famously said of Smith: ''He wasn't born – he was quarried.''

Smith was a true ''Scouser,'' Liverpool born and bred. His father died when he was 14 and in some ways, when he joined Liverpool, the team he supported, as an ''associate schoolboy'' the following year, before turning professional at 17, Shankly became a a surrogate father.

He was originally a centre forward, before moving gradually back through midfield to settle down as a central defender. He made his Liverpool debut in a 5-1 win over Birmingham City in August 1962, but it was not until the 1964-65 season, which ended with the Reds winning the FA Cup, that he became a first-team regular.

The following season he was in the team which, beating Celtic along the way, reached the Hampden final of the European Cup Winners Cup, where they lost to Borussia Dortmund. This was perhaps the last hurrah of Shankly's first great Liverpool team, that built on a Scottish spine of Tommy Lawrence, Ron Yeats and Ian St John. Shankly saw his side fail to win silverware for five years as he rebuilt, with Smith now at the team's heart as captain.

He led them to success in 1972-73, when Liverpool won the league and the UEFA Cup, beating Borussia Monchengladbach in that final, but the following season he had a brief fall-out with Shankly after the manager handed the captaincy to Emlyn Hughes. Smith never forgave Hughes for what he saw as a concerted campaign to win the captaincy. He was also moved from his long-term position in central defence to right-back.

The emergence of Phil Thomson and the purchase of Phil Neal saw Smith become more of a squad player, as Bob Paisley, who had succeeded Shankly as manager, freshened up the squad, but, in 1976-77, a lengthy injury-induced absence for Thomson saw Smith restored to the side, to grab his defining moment in a red shirt, when he scored the go-ahead goal as Liverpool beat old foes Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1, in Rome, to win the European Cup for the first time.

A romantic might have retired after that, but Smith played on, one more season for his beloved club, helping them reach the League Cup final, where they lost to Nottingham Forest. He then spent one final season, helping out old team mate John Toshack at Swansea City, taking them to the Third Division title, before hanging up his boots.

In all, he played 639 games for Liverpool, although his short summer spells in the USA, with Tampa Bay Rowdies and Los Angeles Aztecs, where he briefly combined playing with being head coach, plus his single season with Swansea, meant he played some over 700 games in his 17-year professional career.

Smith won ten Under-23 caps for England, but he only wore the three lions once in a full international, in a dire, dull, midweek home international against Wales in May, 1971; the match finished 0-0.

Known as The Anfield Iron, it was said of Smith: ''mothers in Liverpool hang his picture above the fireplace, to keep kids away from the fire." But, for all his ferocious reputation, he could play. He was voted Liverpool's 25th greatest player by the fans, and was made MBE for his services to football in 1977.

He had a short spell as a youth coach with Liverpool, before concentrating on his business interests, which included a short spell as owner of the legendary Cavern Club in his native city. He maintained his football interest with a long-running, and often controversial weekly column in the Liverpool Echo, which ran for over 35 years, although his later years were bedevilled by illness.

He had replacement hip, knee and elbow operations, and once, was famously docked some of his invalidity benefit after he got out of his wheelchair to take a penalty in a charity pre-match shoot-out, before the 1996 FA Cup Final. He suffered a heart attack in 2007 and also suffered from rheumatoid arthritis. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014.

Smith was pre-deceased by Susanne, whom he married in July, 1964. He is survived by son Darren, daughter Janette and grand-children Matthew, William, Jessica and Imogen.

MATT VALLANCE