In the midst of a tedious shit-storm, a saddening story regarding a true Liverpool legend found itself submerged in the deep inner pages of various sport sections.
It was the pinnacle of the club’s history – an era where we recorded our first European Cup, first FA Cup and first UEFA Cup triumphs. But while the memories of those incredible all-conquering days will stay with Tommy Smith forever, the memorabilia will not.
The man affectionately dubbed The Anfield Iron has felt the need to auction off an illustrious list of honours, souvenirs and collectibles from the 60s and 70s, including his medals from those three aforementioned triumphs, to provide financial stability for the 66-year-old titan.
One of the toughest footballers these shores have seen, Tommy couldn’t half play a bit too. And in his 18-year association with the club he amassed 638 appearances, scoring 48 goals, winning 11 major trophies – the last of which being a fairytale moment in the twilight of his Anfield career as he thundered the ball home against Borussia Moenchengladbach to help clinch the club’s very first Big Ears.
He has, of course, suffered terrible long-term problems with his knees, hip and elbow which have all been replaced and he requires healthcare which comes at a cost. It’s a crying shame that a player of his ability, who would be earning £120k a week if he played at his peak today, is hoping to achieve the same figure for his 75 lots when they all go to auction next week.
We’ve seen examples of other clubs buying medals and memorabilia that belonged to their former stars to place in their museums for fans to view; most of the England ’66 World Cup squad have sold on their medals and shirts for monetary benefit – in fact just three players still have their medals – and in many cases it was the club at which they became a household name that bought the items at auction.
Maybe it’s wishful thinking; this era places less significance on sentiment and more on the bottom line, but wouldn’t it be superb for our club to purchase some of these lots – particularly the European Cup ’77, FA Cup ’65 and UEFA Cup ’73 medals – to display proudly at the Anfield museum? It would provide a nice little, well-earned pension for Tommy and also provide the perfect home for these tokens of Liverpool history.
The auction takes place on Wednesday 22nd February and you can view the whole collection here: http://www.bonhams.com/EUR/sale/19880/61/