IT was an emotional occasion at The Oaks on Saturday as AFC Uckfield proudly unveiled the new name of one of their club’s stands – The Brian Smith Stand.
Brian was a colossus of the sporting scene in Sussex, particularly in both football and cricket, and made many friends in the decades he spent in sport before his death aged 80 at the end of last year.
He managed the Sussex football team as well as Ringmer and Lewes and was also a familiar and well-respected figure at Sussex County Cricket Club.
In his playing days he was a goalkeeper and as an amateur at Chelsea, his boots were cleaned by a young apprentice called Jimmy Greaves.
But he was most recently involved with Sussex county league division 1 outfit AFC Uckfield, and yesterday the club known as the Uckers paid tribute to Brian by opening a stand in his honour.
Friends and family of the popular figure were invited to the official opening, as were many senior figures in Sussex football who knew Brian well and loved him dearly.
Pictured on this page are just some of the people who were at the official opening on Saturday. In the main picture (taken by AFC Uckfield Hon Secretary Anthony Harvey) are Brian’s son, and his wife, Jean. Also pictured are AFC Uckfield President Tom Parker, Sussex football chief Peter Bentley, retired former Club Secretary at AFC Uckfield and Hailsham Town, Derek York, former AFC manager (then Wealden FC) Andy Gander, and AFC Chairman Dave Shearing.
Plus, Sussex Express sports editor Brian Pollard was there on behalf of the newspaper and also to take pictures of the Ucker’s big FA Vase match> Brian made sure to take his pictures with the magnificent new Brian Smith Stand in the background. Some of those pictures can be seen on this web page but don’t miss next Friday’s Sussex Express which will show more pictures of the day.
And AFC Uckfield’s players did Brian justice by pulling off a big win over Combined Counties side Molesey. See elsewhere on this website for a full round-up (and more pictures from Brian Pollard) of our clubs’ fortunes in the FA Vase and league yesterday.