Sad death of Recorder’s ‘Mr West Ham’
12:55 06 November 2014
Long-time West Ham correspondent Trevor Smith has died
It is with great sadness that we announce the death of long-time Recorder West Ham United correspondent Trevor Smith after a short illness.
Trevor covered the Hammers from 1949 until 1998 and in that almost 50-year span there was no-one who knew more about the goings on at Upton Park.
His former editor at the Newham Recorder Colin Grainger said: “His knowledge of West Ham was absolutely encyclopaedic. He was ‘Mr West Ham’ and in the days before agents, he knew every player and everyone involved at the club personally.
“He wasn’t afraid to write stories that the club didn’t like, for instance the Blackpool nightclub incident in 1971, but he also had innovative ideas about covering the club.
“I think he was ahead of all the nationals when he introduced a weekly column with a player and the likes of Bobby Moore and Billy Bonds were able to get their views across via the pen of Trevor.”
In the days of John Lyall, Trevor would travel on the team coach with the players and get to know them all, something unheard of in today’s modern football world.
Trevor also wrote a weekly Recorder column on the news pages which looked back fondly on his early days both as a boy growing up in the war, through his national service and his time at the newspaper.
Despite his retirement and consequent move to Tunisia, he still handwrote his column and first sent it by post and then by fax as he moved slowly into the modern age. His final column appeared in this week’s Ilford Recorder.
“I had a number for him which was a little phone box in Tunisia somewhere so I could talk to him,” smiled Colin. “Earlier this year he got himself a mobile and maybe he would have got to use email in the near future!”
West Ham and Recorder photographer Steve Bacon worked with Trevor for many years and he paid tribute to the journalist.
“Trevor was an ‘old school’ reporter and tremendously respected by everyone at West Ham,” he said.
“He was a great help to me when I started my career and instrumental in me getting my subsequent Club Photographer role at the club.
“He was a great friend and a great travelling companion on our West Ham trips together.”
Even following his retirement as West Ham correspondent, Trevor never lost interest in the club and despite being based in North Africa with no internet and only the Herald Tribune to read, he was still keen to know the latest goings on at the club.
“Whenever you got a phone call from Trevor, you knew that it was going to be a long one,” said Colin Grainger.
“His enthusiasm for the club and his stories about the club were inexhaustible and when you came off the phone you had learned something knew about West Ham.
“West Ham have got their Sir Trevor Brooking, but for us he was our Sir Trevor and we will all really miss him.”
Trevor is survived by his wife Sue.