Happy Birthday Mike Smith

Category: Heritage

Happy Birthday Mike Smith

Probably the finest centre ever to pull on a Rovers jersey, Mike Smith was a true home-grown player and a loyal club man. Born in Hull in January 1958, he attended the club’s summer school and graduated through the ‘B’ team and Colts, signing as a professional in 1974.

After making his debut as a second half substitute for Rovers at Barrow in March 1975, Smith went on to play in 489 games for the Robins – a club record that will surely never be beaten. In the process, he scored 140 tries. As a centre, he was a selfless player who created many tries for his wingers – Ged Dunn, Steve Hubbard and Garry Clark profiting most from playing outside him.

A classy player and a clever footballer, but at the same time a strong runner and a solid defender, he always appeared calm and unflustered on the field. A top-class centre, he won 11 Great Britain caps and five for England, and toured Australasia twice with Great Britain.

Having been a key member of the successful sides throughout the glory years of the 1977-86 period, Smith took over as club captain when Rovers’ fortunes were waning in the late 1980s. During the later stages of his career, he increasingly showed his versatility, appearing more regularly at off-half and loose-forward in addition to his accustomed centre position.

Smith was greatly respected by team-mates, opponents and supporters alike, and he enjoyed a very well deserved testimonial in 1985/86. After 17 years with the club, he made his final appearance for the Robins at Sheffield on 31 March 1991.

After a short spell with Doncaster, Smith retired from the game, but he has always remained red and white through and through, and remained connected to the club through the ex-players association. He was an obvious choice to take over as club president when Colin Hutton passed away in 2017.

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