Sep Smith

Leicester City In 100 Players: Sep Smith

Club Historian John Hutchinson's series reviewing the careers of the 100 most outstanding players to represent Leicester Fosse and Leicester City continues with Sep Smith.
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An England international right-half who later became a veteran defender, he was considered by his contemporaries to be the finest player ever to wear a Leicester City shirt.

Sep Smith, who played for Leicester City between 1929 and 1949, had the longest first team career in the Club’s history. He made 373 League and FA Cup appearances and also played in 213 Wartime games.

Born in Whitburn in 1912 and christened Septimus because he was the seventh son, five of whom went on to play in the Football League, he was an England Schoolboy international who signed amateur forms for Leicester in 1927 and professional forms in 1929.

He made his debut as a 17-year-old in August 1929 in a City side who had finished league runners-up the previous season. He became established in the first team in 1931/32.

His performances at right-half attracted big money bids from Huddersfield Town, Arsenal and Aston Villa, but Sep stayed at Filbert Street.

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Sep Smith
Sep Smith

Smith's penultimate game for Leicester City came against Leeds United in December 1948.

When he played for Leicester City in the 1934 FA Cup Semi-Final, the team was defeated by a Portsmouth side containing two of his brothers.

Leicester were relegated in 1935, but soon afterwards, in August 1935, Sep came on as a substitute (30 years before they were officially sanctioned) in the Jubilee international match between England and Scotland.

In October 1935, Sep played for England against Ireland and for the Football League against Scotland, attracting fulsome national praise for his performances.

He captained Leicester City back to the top flight in 1937 but they were back in the Second Division when World War Two broke out in September 1939.

Working in a reserved occupation in Leicester, Sep was a regular in Leicester City’s Wartime League teams apart from 1940/41, when he was one of twelve players suspended for a season due to financial irregularities at the Club.

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Sep Smith & Gary Lineker
Sep Smith & Gary Lineker

Smith pictured alongside Gary Lineker in 2002.

In the three post-war seasons Sep, now playing in defence, was manager Johnny Duncan’s captain until he lost his place to Norman Plummer who went on to skipper Leicester City in the 1949 FA Cup Final.

Sep didn’t play in the Cup Final. His last game was a week later in the vital victory over Cardiff City which prevented Leicester City dropping to the Third Division.

Promised a coaching job for life and granted a testimonial fund, Sep was nevertheless forced to leave the Club the following season by new manager Norman Bullock.

His valedictory appearance at Filbert Street came as a 90-year-old when he was introduced to the crowd after the last ever match at Filbert Street on 11 May 2002.

Sep died in July 2006, aged 94.

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