Neil Smillie

Neil Smillie in Profile

Born: Barnsley 19 July 1958
Playing Career:
Crystal Palace Oct 1975-May 1982 97 apps-8 goals
Brentford (loan) Jan 1977 3 apps
Brighton Aug 1982-May 1985 86 apps-3 goals
Watford June 1985-Dec 1986 19 apps-4 goals
Reading Dec 1986-May 1988 - 48 apps-2 goals
Brentford Aug 1988-May 1993 224 apps-22 goals
Gillingham Aug 1993-May 1995 60 apps-3 goals

In a playing career stretching across 18 years, Neil Smillie made over 500 first class appearances. A former apprentice at Crystal Palace, it was his move to Brighton at the start of the 1982/83 campaign that saw a succesful season end with a FA Cup Final and replay appearance against Manchester United. A 100,000 move to Watford in the summer of 1985 didn't prove succesful and ended with a free transfer to Reading. Smillie moved to Brentford at the start of the 1988/89 season and quickly became a First Team regular and was a member of their Division Three Championship winning side of 1992 where a team mate was Wanderer to be Terry Evans.

His move to Gillingham as Player/Coach in the summer of 1993 saw his first involvement in Management Team duties while still continuing his playing career. Smillie played his final Football League game at Torquay United on 6 May 1995. The following season he was brought to Wycombe by Alan Smith who appointed Smillie as Youth Team Manager.

It was Smith's exit in September 1996 that saw Smillie first thrown into the Manager's seat at Adams Park. He filled the Caretaker role before the appointment of John Gregory one month later - his five games in charge resulted in two victories and and three defeats - including a memorable first game in charge against Rotherham

Gregory retained Smillie as Youth Team Manager but the former's sudden departure to Aston Villa in Febuary 1998 forced Smillie back into the Caretaker role as Gregory's assistant Richard Hill was shown the Adams Park exit. Wycombe's subsequent survival in another difficult season in Division Two had a major influence in the Board appointing Smillie until the end of the 1997/98 season. Ironically the day Smillie was told of the news coincided with Wycombe's last home victory - a 5-1 drubbing of relegation doomed Plymouth Argyle.

Smillie's effort to seal Division Two survival were rewarded with a three year contract but from the outset he was told there was little money to spend as the Board closed the wallet on transfers. Former team-mate Gary Micklewhite was appointed as Smillie's assistant at the start of the season and Terry Evans returned as Youth Team Physio but a nightmare start to the 1998/99 campaign has left the trio still searching for a league victory from the opening quarter of the season. Wycombe fans are sympathetic, however, Smillie had limited money to spend during the critical buying period of the close season and injuries to at least six First Team regulars has hit hard on the resources of the Club. . Smillie has injected youth into the side - and played one of the youngest Wycombe teams of all time during the 2-0 defeat at Fulham at the end of September 1998. It was on that day that Smillie was given the dreaded vote of confidence from Chairman Ivor Beeks. A good run of results leading up to Christmas 1998 took the Club to the brink of pulling out of the relegation zone but the New Year slump prompted the Board of Directors to hit the panic button and consign Smillie to the 1998/99 Managerial casualty list.
Neil Smillie's Managerial record at Wycombe since he was appointed as Caretaker Manager in February 1998 was
1997/98 Football League Played 12 Won 5 Drew 5 Lost 2
1998/99 Football League Played 26 Won 5 Drew 8 Lost 13

Back To Top
Chairboys on the Net All there is to say and know about Wycombe Wanderers on the Internet