Q & A With Dave Smith - Revisited
A repeated interview with former Plymouth Argyle manager Dave Smith who managed the club to promotion in 1986.
This exclusive interview was first published on the Plymouth Vital website in 2006 but is revisited to coincide with Dave's series of interviews published in the Sunday Independent newspaper today.
Dave was manager at Argyle from 1984 to 1988, leading the club to automatic promotion from the old 3rd Division, sealing promotion by beating Bristol City 4-0 on a memorable night in front of a sell out crowd.
Many fans believe the return of striker Tommy Tynan on loan from Rotherham United was a masterstroke by Dave, with Tynan's 10 goals proving crucial in the promotion run-in.
Dave followed up this feat by achieving a very credible position of 7th in the old 2nd Division, now called The Championship.
Argyle fans still fondly remember Dave Smith's time at Home Park, from his nickname 'Ciderman' to his philosophy for sending out direct and attacking teams.
A recent Plymouth Vital poll asked Argyle fans 'Who is Argyle's greatest ever manager', with Dave being voted into a very respectable third place amongst some stiff competition.
The Scotsman left Plymouth in 1988 to briefly manage Dundee in Scotland before returning to the Westcountry to take charge of Torquay United. Dave has also achieved promotion with Southend United ( twice ) and Mansfield Town.
Dave still lives in the Plymouth area and runs his popular Soccer Schools for local children.
Q: You are affectionately known to Argyle fans as 'Ciderman', how did that nickname come about?
DS: I am not sure how the 'Ciderman' nickname came about ...I have an idea that when we went down to Padstow for the monthly draw with the Bill Pearce, I was having a drink of cider with the 'locals' of the pub and perhaps the name stuck...maybe started using it myself as a form of identity, would you believe?
Just perhaps someone else might have the real answer?
Q: You live in the Plymouth area and run your soccer schools, do you ever go to Home Park now and watch a game and if so, what do you think of the present team?
DS: To think that come the 5th May I will have been resident for exactly 21 years and living in lovely Wembury.
I love doing the soccer schools and working and having the challenge of five and six year olds is a privilege and I feel very lucky still to be able to do it...'one little lad said to me ''my father says that you are 73 years of age, that's very, very, very, very old isn't it?''
I feel that the present Chairman and Manager are on the right tracks and with them we have the best chance of succeeding to the Premiership. Next season
just might be the year with celebration far exceeding Reading!
Q: You were the last manager to take Argyle to their highest league position in quite some time when Argyle finished 7th in the old Division Two in 1987, what would be your most memorable moment from that season?
DS: We always remember the 'highs' in our life and I think the whole of that season (1987) and battling the 'big name' clubs was very memorable.
To think that Manchester City, Portsmouth, Wolves, yes, and even Blackburn with their stars didn't worry me one little bit. Who are they anyway? Even the great Leeds United were afraid to come to Home Park. Remember a 6/3 scoreline down here in our favour?
But it will come again, nothing surer!
Q: Argyle fans still talk about the Bristol City game at Home Park in 1986 that clinched promotion, that was truly one of the best nights at the stadium, do you still remember it well?
DS: Bristol City?? Wow, that was some evening, never to be forgotten, we just knew that we would do it, the buzz was there amongst the players and with Gordon Nisbet standing on his toes in the dressing room counting the spectators (for his crowd bonus!)
It is always written in the heavens, that season, that night was written in the stars!
Q: You pulled off a masterstroke by signing Tommy Tynan on loan from Rotherham United for the promotion run in, was there ever an agreement with Rotherham not to play Tynan in the game against Rotherham in which Tynan scored twice?
DS: The Tommy Tynan episode was a bad piece of management by Norman Hunter...he allowed his relationship with a player to be personal. I actually dealt with the assistant manager and distinctly asked him about playing Tommy that particular game and his reply was very flippant and 'that they couldn't care less' or some such remark. Yes, there was an altercation before the game and afterwards in the boardroom after we had beaten them and with Tommy scoring as well.
Norman Hunter was only too pleased to 'get rid' of our Tommy, silly lad to carry on like that!
Q: What are your thoughts on modern day football?
DS: Modern day football? Your present manager epitomises how football should be played with the conduct of players on and off the field of the highest order.
Don't know whether I should say this or not but a club should be run 'from top to bottom' by the Chairman and his standards and if I were Chairman my manager would stand accounted for the actions of his players and that they fully understood the 'Laws of the Game' in its entirety.
Football is a truly great sport and is being dragged to a level by the Mavericks and the Mercenaries, that is not acceptable at all.
My best manager, Alan Brown, would not have allowed us back in the dressing room if our behaviour was that of the top Premiership clubs, 'short and curlies' does not come into it!
Q: What would be the highlight of your managerial career?
DS: Highlights of my managerial career has to be the first Championship win at Mansfield Town (their first one as well). Upset my directors 'somewhere along the line' and to this day did not know the reason for my sacking the following year after an undefeated 19 game run! Somebody said it was because I was Scottish or something?
But when you think about it had I not been sacked I may not have been down here?
What a life/who'd be a soccer manager?
Q: You were well known for wearing a flat cap and at one particular game you threw it into the crowd, did you ever get it back?
DS: Finally I got the flat cap back. What a life!
Many thanks to Dave for agreeing to the question and answer session.