Sir John Smith – Liverpool FC’s only Knighthood


As The Queen’s honours list is announced today, New year’s Day, we take a look at the only person related to Liverpool FC to have received a Knighthood.

There’s no Kenny Dalglish, Bill Shankly or Bob Paisley here, unfortunately. But former Liverpool chairman John Smith was made Sir John Smith in 1982.

Smith was chairman from 1973 to 1990 and oversaw the most successful era in not only Liverpool’s history but any English football club’s.

Smith, who passed away in 1995, worked alongside club secretary Peter Robinson and was a key part in the club’s bootroom tradition. He also made revolutionary business decisions, including Liverpool being the first club to implement a shirt sponsor, in 1979.

Norman Fox wrote in The Independent for Smith’s obituary:

In the 17 years from 1973 until 1990 in which Sir John Smith reigned as their dapper businessman chairman, Liverpool Football Club maintained heights unmatched by any other team in Britain. They were four times European champions and 11 times champions of the Football League, but it gave him almost equal pleasure to hear people say that Liverpool was also the best-run club in the land.

In tandem with Peter Robinson, now Chief Executive, Smith steered a tight ship and was a stout defender of the “Boot Room” system of promotion from within. Smith’s greatest contribution to Liverpool FC was undoubtedly his business sense which had been honed as a brewery sales director and deputy chairman of an electronics firm. He once remarked that he thought he was born to chair meetings. Those of us who travelled Europe with the Liverpool in their most successful years were always made aware that he treated it very much as his club.

Journalists generally were certainly not allowed too close although Smith was always politeness itself and would occasionally allow you to join him in the boardroom. His references to the club always began “We . . .”

Smith is a man known for two famous LFC quotes:

“We’re a very very modest club. We don’t talk. We don’t boast. But we’re very professional”

“There is something they call, The Liverpool Way”

Here’s a full list of Liverpool players and managers to have been awarded honours by The Queen.


Tommy Smith
Ian Callaghan
John Barnes
Ian Rush
Ray Clemence
Kenny Dalglish
Gary McAllister
Steven Gerrard


Bob Paisley
Gerard Houllier
Roger Hunt
Emlyn Hughes
John Toshack

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  • CRLyons

    Dont worry , Br and Gerrard are still to come.


    Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley not being knighted should be a criminal offense.Shankly put the foundations down.Paisley built the house.Hopefully Rodgers will do the garden!

    • CARR71

      i would be happy if he did a flowerpot compared with those two legends

  • CARR71

    This is yet more proof of the british media falling over themselves over man ure ,the fact paisly and shanks never did yet even becks looks like he will get one soon shows biasness beyond doubt,kenny deserves six knighthoods if becks gets one

    • John

      I don’t actually disagree with you, mate, but you can’t view Beckham’s contribution as purely from a footballing perspective. As an ambassador for football, in particular ENGLAND rather than Liverpool, his contribution hasn’t been nonexistent. I don’t think he deserves a knighthood, but nor do I believe he’s that far off. Shanks and Paisley (I stress I think they should have had one) mainly produced their work for LFC, not the national side.

      • CARR71

        becks is a show pony he does it for the limelight

      • Rederik

        Beck,s is seen as politically correct probably from his days at manure utd sucking up to the f,a

  • Rederik

    Can,t see any more Knighthoods for anybody with anything to do with Liverpool F.C it,s the price paid for not rolling over and letting the establishment [ the police, the F.A and the government ] get away with manslaughter to say the least, but all the Knighthoods in the world can never replace truth and justice.