Jim Smith funeral: Harry Redknapp among mourners as respects are paid to former Portsmouth manager

Jim Smith, left, with Harry Redknapp in 2006  Picture: Phil Cole/Getty ImagesJim Smith, left, with Harry Redknapp in 2006  Picture: Phil Cole/Getty Images
Jim Smith, left, with Harry Redknapp in 2006 Picture: Phil Cole/Getty Images
Harry Redknapp was among the mourners who gathered for the funeral of Jim Smith.

Affectionately known as the ‘Bald Eagle’, former Pompey manager Smith died aged 79 on December 10 after battling an illness.

A service was held at St Mary Magdalene Church in Woodstock, Oxfordshire, on Thursday, with his wife, Yvonne – and their three daughters Alison, Suzanne and Fiona – accompanied by some of the biggest names in English football.

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Ex-Blues boss Redknapp, who was assisted by Smith at Fratton Park between 2002-04, was in attendance.

Also there to pay their respects were former England managers Howard Wilkinson, Sam Allardyce and Steve McClaren, David Pleat, Trevor Francis, Ron Atkinson and Peter Reid.

Fondly recollecting a meeting with Smith in 1959 during a trial with Sheffield United, ex-Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday manager Wilkinson told the congregation: ‘As a nervous 16-year-old I was shown into the dressing room - I feared the worst.

‘Jim walked over with a huge grin on his face, shook my hand and wished me luck.’

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Wilkinson added Smith was a 'true friend’ and a ‘legend never to be forgotten’.

Also speaking during the service, former Manchester United and Aston Villa boss Ron Atkinson called Smith a 'great bloke’.

Songs by Frank Sinatra were played at the service, as well as Simply the Best by Tina Turner.

Smith took charge of Pompey from June 1991 until February 1995, famously leading the Blues to the 1992 FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.

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The following campaign, his side missed out on promotion to the Premier League courtesy of goals scored – and were then beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Leicester City.

Smith would later spend time at Fratton Park as Redknapp’s assistant, helping Pompey reach the top flight after winning the Division One title in 2002-03.

He also managed Birmingham, Oxford, QPR and Derby.

A minute’s applause was held for Smith, John Jenkins and Ron Saunders – also recently deceased – ahead of Pompey’s home game against Ipswich on December 21.

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