8 May 1915 (age 107)|
Arthur Hoyle Smith BEM (born 8 May 1915) is an English former professional footballer. At 103, he is the oldest surviving former professional footballer, and is a month older than George Haigh, who was previously thought to be the oldest.
Smith's career started with Bury, where he signed as an amateur in November 1934. The following month, he made his debut for the club against Notts County, and turned out for the club three more times over the course of the 1934–35 season. In September 1935, Smith signed for Bury as a professional, but found himself playing regularly for the reserve side. As a result, he did not feature for the first team again, and in 1938, he joined Leicester City on a free transfer.
Smith's time at Leicester was brief, owing to the outbreak of the Second World War. In his first season with Leicester, he made eight appearances, and in his second, he made two more, with a brace against Manchester City. In the 1940–41 Wartime League, Smith then made five more appearances for the club, and although he was registered with Leicester until 1946, he never played another match for them.
From 1935 to 2015 (with the exception of five years' war service in the British Army), Smith was the organist and choirmaster at Christ Church, Walmersley. Because of his dedication to the church, he was awarded the British Empire Medal in the 2013 New Year Honours. He retired as organist on his 100th birthday.
- Nelson, Craig (6 April 2017). "Could ex-Bury winger be oldest living former Football League player?". Bury Times. http://www.burytimes.co.uk/sport/15207340.Could_ex_Bury_winger_be_oldest_living_former_Football_League_player_/. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
- Thomson, David (11 April 2013). "Medal for veteran church organist, 97". Bury Times. http://www.burytimes.co.uk/news/10349109.Medal_for_veteran_church_organist__97/. Retrieved 8 July 2017.
- "Christ Church Walmersley and St John with St Mark Bury" (PDF). February 2013. pp. 8. http://www.ccwalmersleybury.org.uk/content/pages/documents/1358781508.pdf. Retrieved 8 July 2017. "The church fellowship is delighted that Arthur Smith the organist at Christ Church since 1935, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the New Year honours list. This has been given in recognition of his long service to Christ Church. Arthur became a choir boy at the age of seven, later becoming choir master and organist and has held this role continuously since, with the exception of five years' war service."
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