Den Smith was one of the Lilywhites' legends in the 1950s.
Londoner Den first played local football at RAF Mildenhall at the end of the Second War World. He joined Newmarket Town for the 1947-48 season after being 'demobbed'. He moved to Abbey United in Christmas 1949 and became a key member of their defence. When the Lilywhites joined the Athenian League in 1950 Den switched to Milton Road. He had continued to live in Walthamstow after leaving the RAF and the fact that most of the Lilywhites' games would be in the London area meant that away games would be easier to get to than home games.
Den made his debut at Tooting and Mitcham United on August 26th, 1950. This was City's first season in the Athenian League, seen very much as a step up in class from the Spartan League where the Lilywhites had been regulars at the top end of the table since the end of the war, The step up proved too much in their opening game as they were thrashed 6-0 at home to Bromley on the opening day of the season. Den was brought into the team for the next game at Tooting and more than proved his ability to compete at the higher level despite the Lilywhites losing by 3 goals to 2.
From that date in August 1950 Den became a virtual ever present in the side for the next seven seasons, racking up over 260 appearances for the club during that period. He was known as being a stylish centre half who knew how to tackle. His only lengthy spell out of the team was January to May 1952, following an injury picked up while playing at Finchley His last 'big' game for the Lilywhites came at Milton Road when a crowd of 9,668 attended the Cambs Invitation Cup Final against United on April 22nd, 1957. The Lilywhites going down by 1 goal to nil against Cambridge United. His final match was at The Walk's in King's Lynn/ The Lilywhites going down 3-0 in the Final of the Lynn Hospital Cup on May 8th, 1957. He did not play in the last league match of the season, at home to Tooting & Mitcham on May 11th.
After his long spell at Milton Road Den re-joined Newmarket Town as player-manager, leading them to the Peterborough League championship in his first season in charge. After three seasons in charge he stepped down as player-manager but continued to play for the Jockeys until the late 1960's. After finally hanging up his boots he became Histon's manager from 1969 to 1972.
Outside of football Den, together with fellow Lilywhites' stalwart Tony Brown, went into business setting up the Dentons Carpets company at Cottenham. He was to die in November 2010.
Dentons Carpets, Cottenham
Most of the content from this article comes from a tribute to Den written shortly after his death by our Club Historian, Neil Harvey and published in the match programme against Swindon Supermarine on December 14th, 2010.