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Thread: George Smith

  1. #1
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    George Smith

    Very sad to hear today about the passing of former referee George Smith after an illness.

    George stayed up near Crewe Toll for many years and was a mate of my old man's and I have good memories of him being a kind and friendly face growing up - his refereeing persona was a little different and he took no sh*t from anyone!

    He famously refereed the 1980 Scottish Cup final that ended in a riot (not just exuberance) and was also the ref that famously sent off Torto just a few minutes into Gordon Rae's testimonial against Manchester United in 1988.

    RIP George.


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  3. #2
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    TORTOmanu.jpg

    Report of Joe T's tackle... and George Smith's reaction!

  4. #3
    Sorry to hear that Col. Did he not also referee the 2-1 win over Hearts at ER in '87, our first victory over them since they came back up in '83? Might be wrong; no idea why that would stick in my mind as there was no refereeing controversy in the match.

  5. #4
    @hibs.net private member tamig's Avatar
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    I remember George Smith well and canít really recall anything contentious in his performances involving us. And that was in an era where there were a few clowns of refs about. None more so than Alan Ferguson. Sad to hear this news. RIP George.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tamig View Post
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    I remember George Smith well and canít really recall anything contentious in his performances involving us. And that was in an era where there were a few clowns of refs about. None more so than Alan Ferguson. Sad to hear this news. RIP George.
    Alan Ferguson! He was a shocker - I remember one game at home to Aberdeen in particular in the 80s where it was 5-0 or thereabouts and should have been 1-1 if the correct rules had been applied.

    I forgot that George Smith also refereed at Italia 90.

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    As good as Rae was, how did Hibs manage to persuade Man U to come to Easter Road?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SideBurns View Post
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    Sorry to hear that Col. Did he not also referee the 2-1 win over Hearts at ER in '87, our first victory over them since they came back up in '83? Might be wrong; no idea why that would stick in my mind as there was no refereeing controversy in the match.
    You're right Burnsy!

    Just checked the Fitba Stats site and George Smith was the man in charge that day

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by pollution View Post
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    As good as Rae was, how did Hibs manage to persuade Man U to come to Easter Road?
    Sir Alex was manager at utd and his brother Martin was a coach at Hibs at the time, possibly this..

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    Sorry to hear of George’s passing.

    I worked beside George for a while in the Civil Service at Chesser House in the very late 60’s and we often had conversations about Hibs.

    He also refereed me a few times in the Civil Service League, and last time I saw him before emigrating would have been when playing for the Hibs Supporters Association against Longstone Hearts in what was I think the inaugural Scottish Supporters Cup in 1974....whom we beat over two legs.

    Incidentally, although I had emigrated just before the final the Hibs team, including former Hibscub noteworthies Ronnie Ferguson and Ronnie Williamson were in that team, and won the final.

    In conversation George confirmed that he grew up supporting Hibs.

    George was a good bloke, and my condolences to family and friends.
    Last edited by Forza Fred; 15-05-2019 at 12:50 PM.

  11. #10
    @hibs.net private member MartinfaePorty's Avatar
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    Reffed many a derby; in the days when it was always officiated by someone from the Edinburgh area. Everyone knew he was a Hibs fan (similar to Bill Crombie, another ref of the time, who was a Hearts fan) and I remember even seeing him at St Mary's Cathedral as an elder (or whatever the Catholic equivalent is). Imagine that happening in this day and age?! Sometimes used to wonder if he erred on the opponent's side sometimes, to compensate for his loyalties (1989 Scottish Cup semi-final being one example), but maybe just me, and predominantly came over as a decent ref who loved the game. RIP

  12. #11
    Coaching Staff Smartie's Avatar
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    I'm very sorry to hear this as I know George's son well.

    When I went into the lecture theatre on the first day proper of Uni (some folk went straight in, some of us did an access course) there was a guy sitting in a Liverpool top with Bjornebye on the back. I got speaking to him and said that that was a slightly unusual name to get on the back of a Liverpool top and asked if he was a Liverpool fan. He said that no he wasn't, he was a Hibby and the reason he was wearing the top was because it was Stig Inge Bjornbye's top in Liverpool's Champions League game a few days previously, his dad had been a UEFA delegate at the match and the shirt was gifted to him.

    I was impressed, mainly by the fact that for the next 5 years I'd have another Hibby in my class for company at Dundee Uni.

    It's funny because we often get ourselves into a lather about referee's allegiances and bias in Scotland. George certainly had fondness for our club but was able to put it to one side when he was refereeing - if anything he admitted that on occasion he may have been slightly harsh on us in order to stave off allegations of bias. I think we do referees a disservice by slating their personal and professional integrity due to having once supported a particular team, any particular team. If you love the game, if you take your role seriously and understand the role that a good, impartial referee has in ensuring a good, well-fought game of football then past (or present) allegiances don't count.

    When you look at the statistics, you realise how unusual it is for an Edinburgh man to have the type of life in football that George had so his achievements in football are very impressive.

    And whilst we slate referees week in week out, we'd do well to remember that without them there is no game.

    RIP George.

  13. #12
    Yes
    RIP George

  14. #13
    I am also fortunate to know Georgeís son and, having seen George in action on the football pitch many times, was lucky enough to meet him personally on a few occasions. A throughly decent, modest man who did not flaunt his status as a top referee but who put his family above everything. A loss to the football and Hibs community but an even greater loss to his family. They are in my thoughts and prayers. RIP.
    Last edited by Big_G; 15-05-2019 at 05:48 PM.

  15. #14
    @hibs.net private member Hiber-nation's Avatar
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    A really nice guy. His wife (Pamela I think) was also lovely.

    RIP George.

  16. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Col L View Post
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    Very sad to hear today about the passing of former referee George Smith after an illness.

    George stayed up near Crewe Toll for many years and was a mate of my old man's and I have good memories of him being a kind and friendly face growing up - his refereeing persona was a little different and he took no sh*t from anyone!

    He famously refereed the 1980 Scottish Cup final that ended in a riot (not just exuberance) and was also the ref that famously sent off Torto just a few minutes into Gordon Rae's testimonial against Manchester United in 1988.

    RIP George.
    Itís nice to see some of the comments on here about George Smith, I was lucky enough to know him for nearly 40 years and he was an absolute gentleman and one of the best referees this country has ever produced. Utterly unflappable and a referee who could not be intimidated, indeed if truth be told it was the other way around, many players were terrified of George because they knew his reputation as an absolute stickler for the rules but he was respected because everyone knew exactly where they stood with him. Our game would be in a far better place if we had even one referee today who even came close to being a referee of the stature of George B. Smith, RIP.
    Last edited by delbert; 16-05-2019 at 07:17 AM.

  17. #16
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    Mr Smith was due to referee the Dundee v Hearts match at the end of 86í. He was then selected for something to with FIFA (if not a match, then a fitness test).

    Due to this he had to be replaced, step in Mr Crombie who was a known Hearts fan who failed to give his team a stone wall penalty!!

    oh how things couldíve been slightly different.

    Well done Mr Smith

    RIP

  18. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Forza Fred View Post
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    Sorry to hear of Georgeís passing.

    I worked beside George for a while in the Civil Service at Chesser House in the very late 60ís and we often had conversations about Hibs.

    He also refereed me a few times in the Civil Service League, and last time I saw him before emigrating would have been when playing for the Hibs Supporters Association against Longstone Hearts in what was I think the inaugural Scottish Supporters Cup in 1974....whom we beat over two legs.

    Incidentally, although I had emigrated just before the final the Hibs team, including former Hibscub noteworthies Ronnie Ferguson and Ronnie Williamson were in that team, and won the final.

    In conversation George confirmed that he grew up supporting Hibs.

    George was a good bloke, and my condolences to family and friends.

    Sad to hear.

    Yes, I already knew him as a regular referee watching Hibs as a boy in the early 70ís and when I joined the Civil Service in 1976, there he was as our trainer for a week.

    Good guy.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Col L View Post
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    Alan Ferguson! He was a shocker - I remember one game at home to Aberdeen in particular in the 80s where it was 5-0 or thereabouts and should have been 1-1 if the correct rules had been applied.

    I forgot that George Smith also refereed at Italia 90.
    Remember this game, easily the worst refereeing display I've ever seen. Thought he was going to get lynched that day.

  20. #19
    First Team Regular Lester B's Avatar
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    Very sorry to read this. I worked with George in the civil service. A very smart man and a real gentleman. Had loads of great stories. He spoke well of Jock Stein and had no time for Willie Miller and had a run in with Martin O'Neill when he was reporting on referees once he stopped being on the park himself.

    He was always happy to talk Hibs and was certainly open about the fact he was raised a Hibby. The two guys he managed when I knew him were fanatical Jambos both and his P*** taking of them was a joy to hear and very funny.

    Thoughts go to his nearest and dearest. RIP to one of the good guys

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