Linnets Legends - Ossie Smith
In another part of Linnets Legends I talked about Eddie Moss as probably one of the best footballers ever to wear the Runcorn shirt. Very close behind Moss would undoubtedly be Ossie Smith. I last met up with Ossie about 5 years ago at a social occasion in Frodsham and I had forgotten what a quiet unassuming person he was. And yet on the field he was undoubtedly a great player and leader. Who can ever forget that boundless energy and those surging runs. That right leg which appeared to be telescopic at times when he went into the tackle. Yes, Ossie was a firm favourite with the Runcorn fans.
He joined Runcorn at the end of the 1978/79 season when John Williams took over as manager. Together with Ben Seddon, Ossie was one of John’s first signings. And what a signing he was! Within his first few weeks the team won the league cup at Maine Road, Manchester and the following 2 seasons saw unprecedented success with first the NPL title and the following season the Alliance League title.
Ossie started his playing career as a junior with Manchester Utd. He played for Lancashire Boys as well as the English and British Universities side. He represented Britain in the World Student Games in Mexico in 1979. He was selected for the England Non-League squad in 1984. Ossie was a quantity surveyor by profession.
The lasting memory of Ossie has to be his goal in the semi-final of the FA Trophy at Kettering in 1986. The first leg had been drawn 0 – 0 at Canal Stret and I remember walking off the ground with some Kettering fans who were ecstatic and convinced they were already at Wembley! We knew better. John William’s teams did not concede goals easily. We were met at Kettering with a hostile reception from their many fans in the stand but the team, and Smith in particular, were outstanding and his goal together with one by Dave Mather took us to Wembley.
As well as the league titles and the first Wembley appearance for the club, Ossie captained the team to further successes in the Bob Lord Trophy (1982/83 and 1984/85) and the Cheshire Senior Cup (1984/85). Ossie Smith was an outstanding captain and a fine player. It is no coincidence that the club enjoyed so much success with John Williams in charge and Ossie as his captain. Here’s to another great Linnets Legend.
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