Jim Smith (left) was assistant to Harry Redknapp when Portsmouth won the second-tier title in 2002-03

Former Portsmouth and Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has described Jim Smith, who died at the age of 79 on Tuesday, as a “great football man”.

Smith managed nine English clubs, including spells at Derby County, Oxford United and Portsmouth, over the course of a 38-year career.

“Jim was special. Anyone who ever came into contact with him loved him,” Redknapp, 72, told BBC South Today.

“He was a great character, a great football man and great fun to be with.”

Smith managed Pompey between 1991 and 1995, but returned to Fratton Park as assistant to Redknapp in 2002, helping the club to win promotion to the Premier League the following year.

“When I went to Portsmouth for my first spell there, we were in the Championship and my first signing was Jim,” Redknapp added.

“I was a little bit embarrassed asking him to be my assistant, when he had been around at the top level.

“He had great knowledge of the game, knew players and was great for me. We went there and it took off from day one. It was an amazing journey,

“He’ll be sadly missed.”

A ‘larger-than-life’ character

Among Smith’s career highlights were a League Cup final appearance with Queens Park Rangers in 1986 and promotion to the Premier League with Derby in 1996, going on to keep the Rams in the top flight for five seasons until his departure in 2001.

He was a master of promotions, helping Colchester United and Birmingham City to climb divisions before transforming Oxford into a top-flight side by leading them to successive Third and Second Division titles in the mid-1980s.

Former England left-back Chris Powell, who played under Smith in the Premier League at Derby, tweeted his tribute