Dave ‘Smudger’ Smith, a vastly experienced football journalist, respected by players and managers alike, has passed away suddenly.
Dave’s early career was spent writing for both Match and Shoot magazines, where he worked his way through the editorial ranks, as chief feature writer, sub editor, assistant editor and then editor.
He was an early convert to digital journalism and for 10 years was editor of givemefootball.com, the official website of the Professional Footballers’ Association of England and Wales (PFA).
In addition, he worked alongside the Press Association (PA), both providing content and editing the PFA’s magazine, The Players’ Club.
Gordon Taylor OBE, chief executive of the PFA, commented: “Dave was instrumental in establishing the PFA’s online presence 17 years ago, as well as being the backbone as editor of its offline publications.
“With Dave, the PFA were able to communicate more diversely and effectively, with both its members and stakeholders.”
Simon Boynton, former football service director at PA, added: “Smudger was always a pleasure to work with. He was able to put even the most media-cautious player at ease and, without this instant rapport, we would never have been able to cover the issues that The Players’ Club did.”
In recent years, Dave had been regularly working for both The People and the Sunday Mirror.
For the last three years, Smudger had been working alongside ex-England player and manager Glenn Hoddle, as editor of the new football news and views website zapsportz.com.
Here, Dave was using his vast experience in the digital world to deliver a new and exciting twist on the normal, mundane football sites that currently fill the online space.
Glenn said: “Dave had seamlessly made the jump from printed to digital media and was helping Zapsportz find its place in the digital landscape. He will be sorely missed by all of us in the Zap team. My thoughts are with his family and friends.”
Dave was taken ill last week and very sadly passed away only two days later. He is survived by his wife Carole and two children.
The funeral is 1pm on Wednesday 4 October, at Peterborough Crematorium, PE6 7JE. The wake is after at The Harrier, Gunthorpe Rd, Peterborough, PE4 7DS.