Mystery Solved!

More Memories Of Sammy

Sammy Smyth threatens in Wolves' win over Leicester in the 1949 FA Cup final.
Sammy Smyth threatens in Wolves’ win over Leicester in the 1949 FA Cup final.

A further insight into the life and career of Sammy Smyth has been despatched to us in the wake of his sad recent passing – in particular relating to the pronunciation of his name.

We have given more than one name-check on here to Coventry-based Wolves fan Don Noble, who has proved a valuable aid to us on historical Molineux matters.

And he was prompted to make contact once more after reading the lengthy tribute we published to the forward in our Obituaries section below right.

Too young to have seen the Ulsterman play, even on TV, we were grateful to Don for pointing out: “He was a remarkable player with an occasional turn of brilliance. It was sometimes said he would have been a great player if he had taken life more seriously.

“I first discovered his name was pronounced Smith rather than Smythe when Raymond Glendenning gave the BBC commentary on Ireland v Scotland in 1947.

“He kept talking about some fellow named Smith. At first, I thought he must have it wrong but eventually, in the Cup Final 18 months later, he explained that, although Sammy’s name was pronounced Smith, he would call him Smythe in his commentary because everyone in Wolverhampton knew him by that name.”

Don’s thoughts are anything but fixed only in the distant past and he was a keen contributor to A Load of Bull, the fanzine that informed and entertained Wolves supporters for around 20 years.

And he used the columns of that much-loved publication to underline a point we also made reference to in our obituary.

“Ever since hearing that commentary, I have tried to persuade people that his name was pronounced Smith,” he added. “Since he was one of my favourite players, he often came in for a mention from ‘Very Old Gold’ with a note about his name. But nobody ever believed me!”

Bert Williams.
Bert Williams.

On matters relating to the man at the opposite end of Wolves’ 1949 FA Cup final line-up, we were delighted to hear from another veteran fan this week.

Glyne Wetton kindly provided some of the detail for our Sammy Smyth obituary and, as a follow-up to his pleasing recent update on the Bert Williams Alzheimer’s account, now reports that the total has climbed past £176,000 following a raffle that raised £125 and a private donation of £75.


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