HARRY Redknapp has led the tributes to legendary former Oxford United manager Jim Smith.

The ex-U's boss, who led the club to back-to-back promotions to the top division in the 1980s, died yesterday aged 79.

Smith enjoyed success at several teams, including as Redknapp's assistant when Portsmouth won promotion from the second tier in 2003.

Read also: More tributes to Jim Smith from across the football world

And the former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United boss revealed back in 2009 how important Smith's influence was.

He said: "Jim was an amazing character. I think everyone who came in contact with him absolutely loved him.

"For me, he was probably my best ever signing. When I took over as manager I rung up Jim and said 'do you want to come here and work with me?'

"He said: 'Harry I'd love to'. He came back with me and we had a great time. It was an amazing time in both my life and Jim's life. Loved every minute of it.

"He was really old school. He was fun, he was just a character, you just couldn't stop laughing at his stories and the way he was. Everybody loved Jim. He was just a lovable character."

Read also: Jim Smith's Oxford United career in pictures

Figures from across the football world have shared their memories of Smith, who managed nine clubs in a career spanning almost 40 years.

Glenn Hoddle, who played for and managed England, told BT Sport yesterday: "When you were in his company, he had that personality, that character, that sense of humour and he had everyone in stitches.  

"When you went and had a drink with him after the game he was a fantastic guy to be around.

"He was a real football man."

Smith famously left United before he had the chance to manage a top flight game, with the club staying in the first division for three seasons.

The U's were relegated under Mark Lawrenson in 1988 and the former Liverpool defender paid his respects.