Long Melford/Ipswich: Football legend Jeff Smart is buried in his beloved No 9 shirt
AS a combative No 9, Jeff Smart became a legend in post-war Long Melford, leading the line for the football club as it won the Suffolk Senior Cup three times in succession with final victories over neighbours Sudbury (twice) and Ipswich Town at Portman Road between 1953 and 1955.
And despite going on to represent Suffolk and play for Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth, the time he spent with Long Melford was the period he remembered the fondest. So much so that Mr Smith, who died on Sunday aged 86, requested that he be buried with the Long Melford club shirt draped across his coffin.
And in accordance with her father’s wishes, his daughter, Kathleen Johnstone, was in contact with club officials at Long Melford Football Club yesterday who have agreed to supply a No 9 jersey to give one of their best ever players a good send off.
She said: “Dad loved his time in Long Melford and he always spoke about his time there with affection. He always took me along and I spent half my childhood down at the football ground.”
The date of Mr Smart’s funeral is yet to be announced but it is due to take place in Norwich where the forward later lived.
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Long Melford Football Club president Richard Kemp, added: “It’s touching that although he played for a number of more glamorous clubs Jeff chose the Long Melford shirt to take with him.”
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