Rangers legend Smith had it all

  • Edgar “Dilly Dick” Smith

The flag outside of the Southampton Rangers Sports Club flies at half mast as a tribute to club football legend Edgar “Dilly Dick” Smith, who died at the weekend after a long bout with illness.

Perhaps no footballer left a profound mark at Rangers such as the late midfielder, who captained the club to their only Premier Division title during the 1980-81 season.

Superlatives such as “hardworking”, “creative” and “dedicated” have been used to appropriately define Smith, who poured every ounce of his heart and soul into his beloved Rangers.

“Edgar was an inspiration and always wanted to win,” John Tucker, a former team-mate and coach, said. “He was a very creative player who also had good ball control and vision of the game and could score goals.

“His workrate was phenomenal. He trained extremely hard and when it came to match day he always put it all into the game and tried to encourage his team-mates to also give 100 per cent. Edgar has always been a dedicated person who loved to give his support to the players and he always spoke up.

“I’m very saddened to hear that Edgar has passed. He is in our thoughts and prayers and I offer my condolences to his family. Edgar is going to be sadly missed by the community as a whole and particularly at Southampton Rangers.”

Smith also dabbled in the island’s other national sport; cricket, winning every domestic title available as a member of Colin Blades’s all-conquering Rangers team in 1980.

“Edgar played with us as a left-arm spinner,” Tucker added. “He was on the money and was a versatile player for us in football and cricket.”

Former Rangers youth cricketer Rolfe Commissiong fondly recalled competing with Smith for a spot in the club’s senior team.

“Edgar was one of the most naturally gifted athletes of my generation,” Commissiong said. “I first got to know him as a newcomer to the neighbourhood as a fellow aspiring junior cricketer during the early 1970s, as we both were 12 to 13-year-olds trying to make the team at Southampton Rangers under the coaching of the great Lee Raynor.

“Dilly, as he was affectionately known by us, always reminded and teased me with the fact that guys like Raynold Todd and myself — who were probably the youngest players on the squad — would cry when, with the start of the season we were not picked to start and had to warm the bench, if you will, and serve the water and oranges, while he took the field with the big boys.

“I’m so glad that Raynold and I were able to take the trek to Somerset a couple of months ago to see him before he passed.

“What was fascinating was that despite the obvious pain that he was in, it hardly dimmed that irrepressible presence and natural Bermudian warmth that he possessed, as noted, in abundance.”

Smith’s early football development can be traced back to Devonshire Colts, where he came up through the youth ranks and travelled with the club on a training camp to England in the early 1970s.

“Back then it was under-18 and Edgar came up with us and was doing extremely well,” said Donald Dane, the former Colts coach and Bermuda Football Association president.

“In 1972-73 we worked hard to raise money to send our team that won the FA Cup overseas to train in England for a few weeks and he was among the 16 to 18 players who went.”

Smith left Colts under controversial circumstances and went on to make a name for himself at Rangers.

“Edgar was a good player and when he was 16 or 17 he felt that he should be with the first team and was disgruntled about that,” added Dane, who taught Smith at Sandys Secondary School. “He wanted a transfer and just left, but we still cared for him.”