I was privileged to attend Geoff's funeral on Friday.
I'd just like to say a few words about it and him, apologies all for the late posting and the length and florid language of this ramble.
Geoff Smith was the nicest, kindest man it has ever been my good fortune to meet, and I count myself lucky to have been his friend.
He never, in all the 40 years I knew him, never said a bad word about anyone or anything.
He was a Gentleman, in every sense of the word and the world is a lesser place for his passing.
His funeral, as NK stated above (I believe I was sat in the row behind you mate), was a rocker's affair.
We entered to Free Bird by Lynyrd Skynyrd. The crematorium was packed, lots of old faces and very few suits (I was guilty of wearing one), but lots of sad faces.
Geoffs coffin was brought in, it had on it one large bunch of flowers and a signed Wednesday shirt.
It also had a large photo of Geoff on it, and In front of that a larger photo of Geoff, Mr Chansiri and John.
The main speech was given by a lady whose name escapes me right now. (She's very well-known and give's many religious and non-religious services at funerals, she spoke at my Mother's).
She spoke of Geoffs life, from birth to passing. Special mention was made of his love of Heavy Metal and Sheffield Wednesday. A touching poem was read.
At the family's request 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, by The Hollies was played.
Then Gordon (Geoff's twin brother spoke). He spoke about their early life and their bond and much more beside. (I've not seen Gordon in a least 15 years, and when I saw him it really made me hold my breath, they really were identical, apart from Gordon having shorter hair).
Then John stood up, he was Geoff's oldest and best friend. He spoke how he was honoured to be asked to speak at Geoff's funeral, he thanked us all for the amazing turn out. He spoke of how they first met aged 4 at school and how 'seeing two lads who looked the same confused him' :-).
He spoke of how they lost touch through moving to different schools and how their lives came back together. Of concerts and music and football and beers.
He spoke of how, friends in Ibiza (a very regular holiday haunt of theirs) had sent messages of condolence, he mentioned how lots of the stories could not probably be told right now :-).
He mentioned how recently, Smiffy (as we called him), did the most Smiffy thing, he just happen to casually mention 'I've won tickets to see The Who, fancy it?'. :-)
Geoff, won more completions than anyone else on the planet, trust me. And if you ever played him at cards.....bye bye money. He was born with a prile of three's in his hand. :-)
He mentioned how, they had done many concerts and away matches. He mentioned a particular match at Carlisle were they had found 'a thousand pubs' between the ground and the station and had tried them all! :-)
He ended the speech with these words 'My Mate, Geoff Smith.' Everyone clapped.
(I spoke to John before funeral, he told me how he tried to write his speech, but couldn't, he had very few notes...his speech was from the heart, it was touching and brilliant.)
The funeral ended with Geoff's favourite song. Paranoid by Black Sabbath.
We all, shuffled out (as you do). We shook hands, we hugged. I gave John a hug.
We made our way to The New Barrack Tavern. For his wake.
John gave another brief speech, he made us all do an 'Air Guitar'. :-)
Then tales of Geoff were told and re-told and we had laughs and tears and beers and sausage rolls. We were startled that someone had got there from Kazakhstan! Hello's were given to people not seen for decades.
The story of Ipswich away came up! :-)
The stories of many other away games came up! Reading away!!!! and too many (but ultimately not enough) more.
More beer happened. The sausage rolls ran out. Then more beer.
Then we all wobbled home, then we went to bed, then we woke up the next morning and realised that Geoff Smith was still gone. And then we were sad again.
RIP Geoff Smith, my friend. A Gentleman.