Reg is the shining star

PUBLISHED: 10:17 11 January 2007 | UPDATED: 11:26 06 May 2010

Reg in action

Reg in action

Football special by NEIL JENSEN Hitchin Town s most celebrated homegrown player since the club was reformed in 1928 has to be Reg Smith, who went on to play twice for England in the late 1930s. Reg (pictured right), who was a key member of the Canaries

Football special by NEIL JENSEN

Hitchin Town's most celebrated homegrown player since the club was reformed in 1928 has to be Reg Smith, who went on to play twice for England in the late 1930s.

Reg (pictured right), who was a key member of the Canaries' Spartan League title-winning side of 1935, was a tricky winger who moved from Top Field in that same year to join Millwall.

Sadly, Reg died in 2004, aged 91, but in his latter years, he described the thrill of playing for England.

"To play alongside the likes of Tommy Lawton was a great honour.

"Here I was, a lad who just a few years earlier had been playing amateur football with Hitchin. It was hard to believe."

Reg scored twice on his debut for England against Norway and won one more official cap in a 7-0 win against Northern Ireland.

The late Don Birdsey, who reported on Hitchin for many years, claimed Reg was the finest player ever to wear Hitchin's colours.

Reg was one of three players from Hitchin's 1935 side that went on to play for professional clubs - Wally Odell and Cyril Walker were the others.

David Pacey, who played for the Canaries in the 1950s, went on to join Luton Town and scored the Hatters' goal in their ill-fated 1959 FA Cup final appearance.

Pacey made 246 appearances for Luton Town during his career.

The player who went on to make the most Football League appearances was George Ley, however, who despite playing only briefly for Hitchin turned out 321 times for Exeter City, Portsmouth, Brighton and Gillingham.

Dave Bumpstead, another late 1950s player, appeared 124 times for Millwall and Bristol Rovers.

In more recent times, Zema Abbey brought in around £30,000 for the Canaries after he moved from Hitchin to Cambridge United and then on to Norwich in 2000.

Unfortunately, Abbey, who had played for both Arlesey and Baldock before joining Hitchin in 1998, had an injury-stricken League career.

Chris McMenamin, too, moved from Hitchin to join a Football League club.

McMenamin joined Coventry City, although he never made a first team appearance. He then moved to Peterborough where he enjoyed a short spell in a full-back role.

A number of other players have played cameo roles at Football League clubs, or have moved to clubs but never made the breakthrough, players like the late David Hills and Matt Nolan.

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