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Ex-Southampton boss McMenemy tribute to Saunders, Smith

Former Southampton boss Lawrie McMenemy has paid tribute to Ron Saunders and Jim Smith after their passing last week.

McMenemy wrote for the Daily Echo: "Only last week I mentioned I was at the Norwich game with Mark Dennis and Dennis Rofe, two of our ex-players. I had a good laugh with them about how I had dealt with Birmingham when I signed Mark.

"Ron Saunders was Birmingham's manager at the time and a good friend of mine. He warned me how Mark was a bit of a character and could be hard to handle.

"Sadly, only a few days later, it was announced that Ron had passed away.

"Ironically, a couple of days after that, another manager from my era, Jim Smith, passed away.

"Incidentally, Mark Dennis played for both Ron and Jim. Between them, they managed nearly 20 different clubs, but you couldn't get two more different characters.

"Ron as a player was one of the more aggressive centre-forwards. He played 392 games and scored 207 goals, mostly for Portsmouth.

"As a manager, players would never want an argument with him.

"Jim was exactly the opposite, he always had a smile and was the sort of manager who would put his arm around a player.

"Popular with everyone he met in the game, Jim also had some measure of success and will be sorely missed, not only by his fellow managers but players and supporters as well."

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Paul Vegas

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