July 20, 1977
Tommy Smith will be a Liverpool player for the next two years. Two months of speculation have ended in agreement between the former Liverpool captain, manager Bob Paisley and the directors, with the result that Smith receives a new lease of life when he had been contemplating retirement.
Last season was intended to be Smith’s last in competitive football, and for much of the campaign there was little to suggest that his plans would be interrupted. But then Phil Thompson went down with a cartilage injury and Smith was called in to play in the closing stages. In doing so he went to Wembley for the FA Cup Final against Manchester United, won a League Championship medal, and scored that never-to-be-forgotten headed goal to turn the tide Liverpool’s way in the European Cup Final in Rome.
All of which underlined his value to Mr. Paisley as cover for any of his defenders, and emphasised to Smith just what he would be missing if he hung up his boots as planned. Liverpool offered him a new two-year contract, and after weeks of doubt and negotiation, Smith has decided to accept it.
“Now it is back to business,” he said. “I am delighted that the problems have been resolved.”
Matters were finally settled at a board meeting on Monday night, and at a meeting between Smith, Mr. Paisley and general secretary Peter Robinson yesterday. The big stumbling black was Smith’s desire to remain a member of the first team squad, with the perks that that entails, but it appears he has agreed to settle for the terms of his contract.
“His contract is a very good one, despite his complaint about not being given squad status,” said Mr. Paisley. “There has never been any aggro or militancy about this on anyone’s part. It has simply been a case of negotiating.”
He went on: “Everyone knows Smithy. He will go out and train his heart out and play his heart out. Then he will have a moan or two, but in the end all he wants to do is play.
“I asked for a new contract for Smith following his testimonial because I wanted cover for the first team, cover he gave us so splendidly when it was needed last season. I feel he still has something to offer and it was to our mutual benefit that he should be available.”
Mr. Paisley made it clear that Smith would receive the same consideration for a first team place as anyone else.
(Source: Liverpool Echo: July 20, 1977; via http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) © 2018 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited