Costa Blanca News (North Edition)

Oldest living ex-footballer


Is Arthur Hoyle Smith the oldest living former League footballer?

I think he is, by a long way! Now 104, he was born in the village of Walmersley near Bury on the 8th May 1915 and played for Bury and Leicester City during the 1930s before his career was curtailed by the Second World War.

He first kicked a football in earnest for his local team, Bury Co-op, before signing as an amateur for Bury in November, 1934, making his League debut the following month, aged 19, against Notts County in the Second Division.

Arthur turned profession­al in September 1935 on a wage of £4 per week and played regularly in the reserves over the next two seasons before moving to Leicester on a free transfer in the summer of 1938.

In his first season at Filbert Street, Arthur made eight first team appearance­s and then scored twice against Manchester City at the start of the 1939-40 campaign before League football was cancelled when WW2 broke out.

He played in several wartime matches and remained with Leicester until 1946. Thereafter, he only watched football rather than playing it, although he did enjoy a game of golf.

As time passed by Arthur went on to make his mark in Walmersley, spending 80 years as organist and choirmaste­r at the local church, having been a choirboy himself when he was just seven years of age.

Arthur retired as organist on his 100th birthday and his dedication to the church earned him the British Empire Medal, while he remains a dedicated father-of-two to Roger Smith and Vivien Rigby, as well as being a grandad and great grandad.

Well played Arthur… you are a good ‘un.

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