Born and bred in Sheffield, Alister Smith, aged 52, now lives in Sandygate with his partner of seven years, Sarah. He began his career in insurance as a motor underwriter at Sun Alliance in 1978 and then moved to join Prudential as a motor fleet underwriter 1985. In 1993 he joined IFM based on Tapton House Road in Sheffield and was made a director some seven years later. A keen sportsman, Alister played football until the age of 34 when he swapped his boots for golfing spikes and he now enjoys treading the fairways - and the rough! - at Hallamshire golf club near to where he lives.
I am a passionate Wednesdayite and have been a season ticket holder at Hillsborough for the past 30 years. During that time I have witnessed many highs and lows, the pinnacle undoubtedly being when they lifted the League Cup at Wembley in 1991.
I have seen The Owls play on over 100 different grounds, including two in Europe (Spora Luxembourg and Kaiserslautern) and last year even arranged my family summer holiday to coincide with the pre-season tour of Portugal! Favourite players down the years include Hirst, Sheridan and Waddle, but without doubt the greatest player I have seen don the famous blue and white stripes was Paolo Di Canio, whose passion and ability to do the unexpected were worth the entrance fee alone (and I still think Paul Alcock took a dive!).
Hallamshire Golf Club
This is my “second home” and in my opinion the best golf club in the city. I have been a member there since 1997 but I still get the same thrill now when I tee it up on the first as I did when I first joined 17 years ago. I have always lived local to the golf course and as a boy I used to go caddying there to earn some extra pocket money.
The going rate in those days was £2 for a four hour round, and it seemed like an absolute fortune! The course has some fantastic views over the city and the Derbyshire moors, so even if the golf isn’t that great, the surroundings never fail to deliver. It’s famous more recently for Matthew Fitzpatrick’s endeavours in The Open and in America, and who is now ranked No.1 amateur golfer in the world. If only I had a swing like him! Handicap? A fairly competitive 12.
As a young lad brought up in the Lodge Moor area of Sheffield, I was a regular visitor to Wyming Brook. It was just a 10 minute cycle ride from home and yet it seemed like a different world – no cars or buses, just walkers and kids like me on their bikes.
In those days you didn’t think twice about leaving your bike unattended and unlocked whilst climbing up the crags in search of the best bilberries, it was still in the place you left it when you returned several hours later. I would lose all track of time messing about in the brook, but that didn’t really matter as the time I had to be home was not determined by the clock back then, but instead by the amount of daylight hours remaining. “I want you back before it goes dark”, my dad used to say when he saw me setting off for the day. How times have changed since then!
This fabulous grade II listed building wouldn’t look out of place in London’s West End. The building as we now know it underwent extensive refurbishment during the 1980s, reopening its doors to the public in 1990. It now serves as a venue for touring West End productions, operas by Opera North, as well as locally produced shows and Christmas pantomimes. I have seen many shows there over the years, the most recent being Dirty Dancing in which the lead actress (Baby) was outstanding and looked the spitting image of Jennifer Grey from the movie. If you haven’t already seen it, then I would recommend it. I promise you’ll have “The time of your life!”
Or Hendo’s, as we like to call it. So unmistakably ‘Sheffield’ that The Everly Pregnant Brothers saw fit to write a song about it, and yet mention it to anyone outside of the city and they look at you gone out! The perfect accompaniment to soups or hash, and an absolute must on your mother’s meat and potato pie!
I don’t care if nobody north of Barnsley or south of Chesterfield has ever heard of it, I shall continue to ask for it by name in restaurants from Newcastle to London, and then politely decline as “unacceptable” when they bring me that other brand of Worcester sauce!