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The Reg Smeeton Eulogy

Two Reg Smeetons


There might be only one Andy Beck,

But there are, of course, two Reg Smeetons:

The original Reg from Rawlinson’s End,

‘The walking encyclopaedia’,

Possessing eclectic and eccentric knowledge:

‘There is no name for the area behind the knee’.


The second Reg Smeeton haunts the Town End Forum:

‘The walking encyclopaedia sitting in the corner of the pub’ …

But early in February 2021,

The Town End Forum began to wonder where Reg had gone;

He hadn’t posted for a good winter-while;

Fundamental existential questions were surfacing:

Is Reg no longer with us, corporeally speaking?

Is Reg no longer with us, virtually speaking?

Who was/is the real Reg?

Has/had anyone knowingly or unwittingly met Reg?


‘I hope I’m wrong, but I heard on the grapevine

That the person I assumed was Reg passed away …’;


‘I hope this isn’t true. Reg is a ledge.’


‘Can we really not find out whether

He is alive or not?

It can’t be that hard, surely?’


Seventeen pages of forensic analysis,

Memory, tributes and wonderment followed;

A long, long list of alliterative RIP Regs -

The loss of a distinctive, if sometimes contrarian voice:

‘awkward old bugger’;

‘bizarre hypotheses … random correlations

Drawn between the now and a team from history’;


‘Reg was family – OK maybe the know-it-all

Uncle who had an anecdote for every occasion

And a theory for every debate –

But TEF family nevertheless’;

‘We knew so much about him as an STFC…

Nature and railway enthusiast,

And yet when he disappeared,

We discovered how little we knew.

A statement on the Internet age.’


And talking of the internet:

There was a mix of the visceral and the virtual:

‘Gutted. Rest in peace, cyber-friend.’


‘I think we all suspected it,

But it feels like a real body blow

To finally find out.

I don’t know any of you …

I’m surprised at how saddened I feel

At losing one of you.

RIP Reg Smeeton –

The walking encyclopaedia.’


‘… He used to stand,

Then sit, on Shrivvy Road.

He was exactly as some of you describe.

My condolences to his friends and family.

RIP.’


‘RIP Reg,

the forum equivalent

of the local character in the pub

who everyone knows,

but nobody knows well.’


Discussion turned to the memorialisation of Reg:

Should it be founded on nostalgia?

‘The Reg Smeeton good old days section …

When football was good …

And Swindon weren’t totally doomed …

Before Thatcher ruined it all.’


Or, ‘a forum tribute each season

When 50 points is reached

And relegation avoided?’


Or, as Reg so disliked predicting scores,

Should the matchday preview forum be named after Reg?

‘Great idea’ – and so that’s what happened;

‘The Reg Smeeton Matchday/Reaction Forum’.


But the heartfelt tributes and laments

Still kept pouring in:

‘Truly knocked back – testament to an individual

Many of us had never met

Or even seen an image of …

Grit in my eyes … sleep well man…’


‘Literally lying in bed

crying about a man

I didn’t even know.

If life is about impact,

Then in this small part of the world,

Yours was felt.’


‘RIP Reg from 18,000 kms away.’


‘I’ll miss his encyclopaedic knowledge

of pretty much everything STFC

and always being the voice of caution

and realism, even if it did

do most of us in.’


‘Strange to feel sad about someone

I didn’t really know, passing away.

Reg – you deserved a much better final season.’


‘Still gutted.

A very perceptive and knowledgeable chap.’


‘What a character he was.

Intelligent, opinionated,

Respectful, humorous at times.’


‘I’m sorry to have never met him in real life.

I bet he is looking down,

Smiling on you all,

Rothman’s year book in hand …’


‘The legacy of Reg and his thread

Strikes home why we need our club back.’


And so, I finish this eulogy,

This heartfelt encomium,

This tribute and keening lament

For Mr Reg Smeeton,

Aka ‘Our Reg’,

With the words above:

‘The legacy of Reg and his thread

Strikes home why we need our club back.’


Rest in Peace, Reg.

Your like will not be seen again.

But always remember, my friends,

That whenever you spend a penny,

Take a quick glance at the circumferential wording,

And there you find,

Alongside the monarch’s head,

The abbreviated tribute:

REG.

Even the monarch pays you deference.


RIP, mate.







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