Foxes A to Z, Sep Smith, England international, guest of honour, Filbert Street hero and a very special man

Still many veteran followers notion fo the best all-round Leicester City player ever, Sep was unarguably one of the club’s most loyal servants, ending his magnificent twenty-year playing span with a brief spell as coach. As his name implies, the seventh son of a fanaticial footballing family (of whom five played at League level, with Tom also turning out for Leicester City, Joe moving from Leicester City reserves to Watford, and Jack and Willie both spending the bulk of lenghty careers at Portsmouth), Sep was an England Schoolboys star in 1926 (after playing in the North/South trial at Filbert Street that March) and clearly destined to join the top echelon of creative midfielders.

His early games as a Leicester City teenager were at inside-forward, where in exhibited a fair scoring prowess to supplement his cool distributive skills, but it was a right-half that Sep Smith truly made his mark throughout the club’s turbulent times fo the mid- and late 30s. His repute was national, yet his representative honours tally looks compartievely derisory: only one full cap (against Northern Ireland in 1935) one appearance as a second-half substitute in he 1935 Jubilee international against Scotland, and one game for the Football League, For club honours, too, Sep had to make do with only meagre reward for his inspirational captaincy, by way of Second Division championship medal in 1937.

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He managed a Leicester City appearance record during WW2 that was second only to Billy Frame’s despite sitting out a year’s suspension, and was still holding together Leicester City’s postwar efforts as a veritable veteran of a pivot constantly taking younger players like Don Revie under his tutelary wing, aiding Johnny Duncan’s tactical preperations of City’s 1949 Wembley trip, and finally hanging up his boots after seeing the club’s Second Division future assured in the crucially drawn last match tussle at Cardiff.

Sep Smith did live a long life finally coming to an end in 2006, at the age of 94. A minute silent was held at the game v. Burnley that same year, then the oldest living England international and also holding that record among WW2 footballers.

He was seen as the one club man appearing 350 times for the club in the league, starting with his debut away to Huddersfield Town in 1929 and ending 20 years later in that game described above. Don Revie, England and Leeds manager to be, played alongside Smith at Leicester and got some great advice on the road, capped in four easy rules, “When not in position, get into position; never beat a man by dribbling if you can beat him more easily with a pass; it is not the man on the ball but the one running into position to take the pass who constitutes the danger; and the aim is to have a man spare in a passing move. Then this game would become easy.”

Wise words from a footballing icon at this special football club. Sep Smith might not be a player much noticed by todays younger fans, but still one to remember highly as a masterclass act among all of those great players to wear the shirt in blue.

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FACTFILE:

  • Full Name: Septimus Charles Smith
  • Position: Midfield
  • Date of Birth: 15.03.1912
  • Birthplace: Whitburn
  • Nation: England
  • Caps / Goals: 1 / 0
  • Major League Career:
    • 1929-49, Leicester City (350/35)
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