Player #397

1/1

Les Smith

Winger

From:

To:

1945-46

1951-52

Previous Clubs

Villa Career

Subsequent Clubs

St. John’s Grammar School, Brentford |
Horn and Petersham FC |
Brentford FC |
Wimbledon FC |
Hayes FC |
1936-45 Brentford FC |

1945-51 Aston Villa, £7.5k, 197 (37) |

1952-53 Brentford |

Villa Seasons

Seasons

1945-46
1946-47
1947-48
1948-49
1949-50
1950-51
1951-52
1955-56
1956-57
1957-58
1958-59

Appearances

8
43
43
39
32
24
8
14
48
33
35

Goals

4
7
9
5
3
6
3
4
13
2
6

AT A GLANCE

Leslie George Frederick Smith

Birth Date

Wednesday, 13 March 1918

Birth Place 

Ealing, London

England

TRANSFER IN

Transfer Date

October 1945

Joined From

Brentford

Transfer Fee

£7,500

Aged

PLAYING RECORD

Playing Position

Winger

Seasons Active

1945-46

to

1951-52

Appearances

197

Goals

37

Played Under

Alex Massie |
George Martin |

KEY DATES

First Squad Appearance

Wednesday, 5 September 1945

Debut Appearance

Wednesday, 5 September 1945

First Goal

Saturday, 5 January 1946

Final Appearance

Saturday, 10 November 1951

Final Squad Appearance

Saturday, 10 November 1951

TRANSFER OUT

Transfer Date

June 1952

Moved To

Brentford

Transfer Fee

Free

Aged

MISCELLANEOUS

Height

Foot

(5ft 8 in) 1.73 m

Honours

Les Smith

BIOGRAPHY

Player #397 for Aston Villa, Leslie George Frederick Smith, known as Les Smith, and nicknamed Schmidtz, played as a winger for the club in the outside left position. Les played for Villa between 1945-46 and 1951-52 making 197 appearances and scoring 37 goals.

Les was born in Ealing on 13 March 1918 and made his professional debut for Villa in the 1945-46 FA Cup aged 27.

Villa had signed Les from Brentford for a fee of £7,500.

In the immediate post War period a regional league was introduced for 1945-46 and two-headed FA Cup ties, this interim arrangement threw up opposition from across the leagues and Les went on to make 22 appearances, scoring three times in this largely experimental season.

Les appeared in all 8 of Villa’s matches in the 1947 FA Cup and those fixtures represented his first professional appearances for Villa.

The reinstatement of league football proper from 1946-47 that saw Villa deliver a return on their investment as Les played nearly 200 games for the club over his seven seasons with the club.

A dynamic outside left, Les made a name for himself at Brentford winning international recognition with England in 1945, on joining Villa the faithful got to see a fast, elusive and tricky player who proved a constant thorn in the side of opposition defences.

Unsurprisingly the dazzling Smith, who on his day was as good as any in the country, was a huge favourite with the Villa crowd and was contemporarily described as having the ability to play football on a threepenny piece.

As a quick thinking footballer he could dribble as well as any and had the ability to score goals for the side after bamboozling opposition defenders with his wizardry.

A sturdy fellow, Les played football hard and consistently and as a result would often be the recipient of rough opposition play however such was his formidable nature that he would immediately throw himself back into the fray. Indeed between his debut in October 1945 and the start of the 1949-50, despite the heavy knocks he regularly took, Les missed just 6 League games.

His speed, remarkable ball control and ability to both shoot and centre with north strength and accuracy meant he was a crucial attacking cog in the Villa side.

Les was said to be a player who could give headaches to the opposition for he knew most, if not all, the tricks of his profession.

Off the field, Les founded a television sales business during his time with Villa and could be regularly seen advertising his wares and services in the Aston Villa News & Record, with the business developing in to a one stop shop for electrical goods.

Like his team-mate Harry Parkes, Les was using his business acumen to prepare himself for life after football even whilst still at a relatively young age, using his celebrity to drive a local customer base to his stores.

A typical ad for Les would read “Superior Televoice Universal Radiograms” whilst advertising the wares of Pye, Philco and Marconi complete with a picture of Les in full Villa kit to entice customers to Leslie Smith Radio, 10-12 Spring Hill, Birmingham whilst proudly stating “My reputation is your guarantee”.

Despite Les’ contribution, the period wasn’t one of trophy winning success for the club and Villa’s best returns with Les were two 6th place finishes in the league in 1947-48 and his final season 1951-52 although Les had by then played his final game for Villa on Saturday, 10 November 1951 aged 34 before returning to Brentford.

Les had played under Villa managers Alex Massie and George Martin.

Les passed away in Lichfield on 20 May 1995 aged 77.

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