SEP
10
2013
Exclusive Interview With Everton Legend David Smallman
4 comments
Bookmark and Share

Blue Echo interviews Dave Smallman

David Smallman known as "Smokie" was signed by Billy Bingham in March 1975 from the giant killing club from North Wales, Wrexham. Unfortunately, Dave's career was hampered by injuries which denied him the chance to fulfil his potential in the top flight.

Dave was quite happy to give me some of his time and reminisce about his playing days.

Q1/ YOU STARTED YOUR CAREER AT WREXHAM. HOW DID YOU JOIN THEM?

A1/ I played for a team at the age of 15 called Shotton Westminster. John Neale then the manager of Wrexham came to watch another lad playing.  He (John Neale) wasn't impressed with the player he came to watch who had scored 60 goals in a season but decided I was the one who had a chance of becoming a good player.

John Neale came around to my house and asked me did I want to become an apprentice footballer.

Q2/ WREXHAM HAVE ALWAYS HAD A REPUTATION FOR THEIR GIANT KILLING ACTS. WERE YOU INVOLVED IN ANY OF THEM DURING YOUR TIME AT THE RACECOURSE?

A2/  Plenty. FA Cup run in 1973/74. We beat Malcolm Allison's Crystal Palace 2-0 away at Selhurst Park, I scored one there.

We knocked out Middlesbrough at home managed by Jack Charlton who at that time had not lost a league game who were then in the old second division. We beat them 1-0, I scored  the goal.

We then beat Southampton away at the Dell who then a first division side 1-0, I scored again. They had Mick Channon and Terry Paine playing for them then.

Unfortunately we lost to Burnley in the quarter finals at Turf Moor.

Q3/ WHEN DID YOU BECOME AWARE OF EVERTON'S INTEREST IN YOU?

A3/ Everton tried to sign me 3 years before I did sign when Harry Catterick was the manager. Harry Cooke came to see me and told me that I would probably be in the reserves for 2 years.

John Neale had to go to the Gabowen hospital to see Dave Gaskell and told me not to do anything until he came back.

When John returned I told him what had been said. He asked me did I want to sign and I said "No". I was only 18 years of age at the time.

Q4/ WAS JOHN NEALE IN FAVOUR OF YOUR MOVE TO EVERTON?

A4/ I think for financial reasons for Wrexham but deep down he didn't want me to go. John was like a step father to me. The deal was good for Wrexham as the bank were foreclosing a loan.

Q5/ THERE WAS ALSO INTEREST FROM MANCHESTER CITY BUT WHAT CONVINCED YOU TO SIGN FOR EVERTON?

A5/ The Manchester City one was a loan deal. As a youngster I liked Tottenham and Everton so when the chance to join Everton the second time around there was no way I could turn it down.

Q6/ WHAT WERE YOUR FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF EVERTON WHEN YOU JOINED?

A6/ A totally different world (repeating). When I joined in the March I scored a goal in my first reserve game. The stadium was something else. There used to be a commissionaire on the door in uniform and a hat. The first game I turned up for, he wouldn't let me in as he didn't know who I was.

I had to get Mick Lyons and a few of the others to convince him that I was an Everton player to gain entry. Comparing Wrexham to it was like a completely different world.

Q7/ WHAT DO YOU REMEMBER ABOUT YOUR EVERTON DEBUT?

A7/ Luton Town away I think, we battered them. When I joined Everton we were top of the league. We went one nil up at Luton, Bob Latchford scoring the goal and should have had 6. They (Luton) scored twice in the second half to beat us 2-1.

I was happy with my debut but distraught we lost the game because the games we lost at the back end of the season cost us the league.  I played four games towards the end of the season scoring once.

Q8/ HOW DID IT FEEL TO BE PLAYING ALONGSIDE BOB LATCHFORD AFTER MAKING YOUR MOVE TO EVERTON?

A8/ I had played 7 International games for Wales and had the pleasure to play with John Toshack. Obviously it's a nerve wracking experience to go and play in the first division or the Premiership as it's known now.

Believe it or not but there was no difference playing in the top flight compared to the third division where I had come from only in the lower leagues you got kicked more where the first division you played football. I thought I had the ability and coped quite well.

Q9/ BILLY BINGHAM ONCE REMARKED THAT YOU WERE THE BEST YOUNG STRIKER AROUND APART FROM CHRIS GARLAND (CHELSEA). DO YOU THINK THAT WAS A GOOD COMPLIMENT TO YOU?

A9/ It's an amazing compliment. I remember him well but I was better than him (laughing)

Q10/ WERE YOU AWARE THAT HARRY CATTERICK TRIED TO SIGN YOU 3 YERAS EARLIER?

A10/ I was indeed but as I explained earlier, I was quite happy to stay at Wrexham and play first team football and not play in the reserves.

Q11/ A COLLECTION OF INJURIES ENDED YOUR CAREER AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE. THAT MUST HAVE BEEN SAD FOR YOU?

A11/ Yes it was. Football is your life and it's very difficult and frustrating to miss games through injury but to finish altogether is heartbreaking.

Q12/ WAS IT DIFFICULT TO ADAPT TO LIFE AFTER RETIRING FROM FOOTBALL?

A12/ Totally. It's the end of your life as football was all that I knew. Nothing can compare to be playing professional football especially for a team like Everton.

One think I look back on is after leaving Everton, it was a bit of a traumatic time really. I went to Australia and my 2 children were born out there. So if I never would have got injured, I would never have gone to Australia, I now have a granddaughter of 20 months.

So in one respect it could have been the best thing that could have happened to me as I have two children and a granddaughter and football can't compare with that.

Q13/ WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE STADIUM?

A13/ Probably Goodison Park. I loved running onto the pitch with Z cars blaring out of the loudspeakers.

Q14/ WHO WAS YOUR TOUGHEST OPPONENT DURING YOUR CAREER?

A14/ I played against Leeds United when we lost 2-0 at Goodison. I was up against Paul Reaney the full back that day. My job was to defend against him not to score goals and I never had a kick. He probably had 100 kicks. There was no way I could defend against his type.

Every first division centre half was difficult to play against, it was a hard game.

Q15/ WHO WAS THE BEST PLAYER YOU EVER PLAYED WITH?

A15/ I had a really strong partnership with Billy Ashcroft at Wrexham. We have known each other since we were 16 years of age. He was also my best man when I got married.

Q16/ DO YOU REMEMBER ANY FUNNY MOMENTS FROM YOUR PLAYING DAYS?

A16/ I remember a pre season tour it was either in Holland or Spain. We sat down after training to have lunch and a cup of tea. Dai Davies asked Billy Bingham to order him another cup of tea to which Bingham replied "You can't have one" because it wasn't in the budget.

Bingham threatened to send him home if he continued to complain about it.

Q17 WAS THERE MUCH DIFFERENCE IN THE FOOTBALL AT THE TOP FLIGHT COMPARED TO DIIVISION 3?

A17/ As I said before, you got kicked more in the lower leagues but otherwise no.

Q18/ WHO WAS YOUR BEST FRIEND AT EVERTON?

A18/ Andy King.

Q19/ YOUR NICKNMAE "SMOKIE". WHO GAVE IT TO YOU?

A19/ Roger Kenyon

Q20/ WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST REGRET IN FOOTBALL?

A20/ I was unable to fulfil the opportunities with the injuries that I had.

Q21/ YOU WENT TO AUSTRALIA. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

A21/ I had an Uncle that lived in Melbourne. He phoned me one day to tell me that there was a couple of clubs interested in me. I went there in 1982 and played for a team called Green Gully.

Q22/ WHAT DOES THE YEAR2014 HOLD FOR YOU?

A22/ Everton to qualify for Europe and England to win two successive ashes series.

Email Bluekipper at enquiries@bluekipper.com

Comments about Exclusive Interview With Everton Legend David Smallman
 
4
Known Dave from age of 4. Great ability from an early age, best left footed player I have ever played with and watched.
Steve Murray, Colwyn Bay, 3:08 PM 12/01/2015
 
3
Just about remember Dave. He comes across as a nice fella, pissed meself laughing about the Dai Davies bit. How skint were Everton that the goalie couldn't have another cup of tea?
andy, garston, 10:15 AM 11/09/2013
 
2
A crying shame the way his career played out. I remember being in the upper Bullens when he scored on his home debut from the corner of the penalty area against Sheffield United, hooking it over his shoulder. He could have been a real Everton legend had injuries not ruined his career.
Hotpants, Crosby, 6:55 PM 10/09/2013
 
1
I watched David, Southend v Wrexham on a sunday! during the 3 day week, he was the stand out player in that 1-1 game and I was delighted he signed for Everton, always sad injuries got the better of a very talented player
stuart parker, Rochford,Essex, 6:32 PM 10/09/2013
New comment about Exclusive Interview With Everton Legend David Smallman
Name:
Location:
Comment:
Verify:

Reload Image
 Please type the string above in the input box below.