‘Man of the People’ Alan Smith has died aged 90

Former SJA committee member Tom Clarke is grateful for information provided following the sad news of the death of Alan Smith, who worked for the Daily Express, Daily Mirror and The People before retiring in the late 1990s…

By Tom Clarke

Update from Tom Clarke, 12 March 2024

Tom Clarke thanks all those SJA members – in particular Bill Bradshaw, David Balmforth, Norman Giller, Peter Pace and John Dillon – for their help in his compiling a tribute to Alan Smith, former deputy sports editor of The People, who died last month age 90.

Alan’s funeral is Thursday, March 14 (11.30), at Bentley Crematorium, Ongar Road, Brentwood, CM15 9RZ, followed by a gathering of family and friends at Old Brentwoods Club, Ashwell Road, Brentwood, CM15 9SE.

Original article…

Alan Smith, my friend since we first met on the Daily Express sports subs desk in 1963, died on February 14. He was 90.

Alan Smith

I moved on from the Express in 1967. Alan was there a year or two longer before joining the Daily Mirror.

Later, he was deputy sports editor (to Neville Holtham) on The People and moved to the front of the paper to become the Man of the People columnist.

From there, he had a spell on The European before retiring in the late Nineties.

That’s very short on detail, you might well say. And you’d be absolutely right.

For although Alan and I had lunch dates every two or three months over the last dozen years, and talked about our life and times in newspapers, I never built up a timeline of his career, when and where he was, and what he was doing. His family records are no more informative.

His wife (whom he cared for over many years) and family all knew he had been a highly-regarded sports journalist and a loving husband, father and grandfather but that was about it.

Alan’s funeral is on March 14. I’d like to be there with a couple of A4 pages, telling the Alan Smith story to give to his family.

Can you help, please? I’d be grateful for any information or anecdotes.

Send them to me at Thanks.

Tom Clarke

Editor’s Note: The SJA website archive has a couple of articles by Norman Giller (2009, 2011) that mention Alan – these may help to jog the memories of readers.

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