How Come Smith Wears Owner Mike Ashley’s Shirt?

Alan Smith has quickly become a crowd favorite at Newcastle as it’s plain to see his positive attitude on the playing field.

Of course Alan had tasted success earlier in his career at Leeds when they were challenging for the Champions League under then manager David O’Leary .

The fact that English billionaire owner Mike Ashley has chosen to wear the number 17 shirt that Smith wears, has produced some laughs in the dressing no doubt, and Alan talked about this and many other things yesterday.


Alan Smith with Allardyce, obviously Mike Ashley liked the look of that number 17 shirt 😀

This is what Alan Smith said yesterday:

“Yes, there has been a fair bit of banter about that, but I can confirm I’m not the owner’s son!” “It’s put a bit of pressure on me, though, while giving the other lads a laugh.”

“There’s a great spirit at Newcastle which is showing in our results.” “There is a feeling around the place, which reminds me of Leeds when we were challenging at the top of the Premier League and doing so well in the Champions League.”

“The manager Sam Allardyce knows what he wants and lets you know if he doesn’t get it.” “It’s almost a whole new team, and it’s like everyone has turned up at a brand new club.”

“I’m not saying we’ll win the league, but it’s as open as I can remember.”  “It’s not going to be so easy for the top four to beat the rest.” “A lot of clubs have spent money and are aiming at the Champions League, which is good for the competition.”

“We have to believe we can get there, and England have to believe they can qualify for Euro 2008.” “It could be a great season, but I know never to take anything for granted. Being injured for so long taught me that.”

Alan of course suffered a terrible broken leg playing for Manchester United against Liverpool at Anfield the season before last. The injury was described by Sir Alex Ferguson as “one of the worst I’ve seen”. It was definitely a bad break and it was clear at the time, by the reaction of the club, how he was held in high esteem by both the manager, crowd and players. He is looking to doing the same at Newcastle although it looks like Sam will play him in multiple different positions. Smith insists the best is yet to come from him at Newcastle:

He added:

“These days I just enjoy every minute of being involved in football. I’m getting picked regularly for my club, and England still want me.” “Believe me, that’s a position I couldn’t have dreamed about last summer.” “I know there were a lot of managers and coaches who were telling people I’d never be the same again, and I began to wonder myself.”

“Nobody questions whether I might have to pack in or play at a lower level. They have seen I can do it again”  “There’s still a lot to come from me – I’m not at my best.” “But the fans seem to appreciate I’m giving it 100 per cent. I’m not shirking any tackles, and I still get stuck in for 90 minutes, from the first whistle to the last.”

“I’m not saying that is anything special, because giving 100 per cent effort should be the minimum requirement for any footballer.”   “But I’m not sure you can say that about every player these days.”

Smith is in the England squad for the European Championship qualifiers against Israel and Russia at Wembley in the next week or so. Those game swill be crucial for England to win if they are indeed going to qualify for next year’s finals. Alan has played 18 times for England, and scored one goal. He will be looking to add significantly to that total while at Newcastle for at least the next 5 years.

Comments welcome.

11 comments so far

  • philsta

    Sep 4, 2007 at 9:22 AM

    Comment #1

    Smith is a good quality player who is undoubtedly a role model professional. While I’m not sure if he’s going to be the first on the team sheet when the entire squad is fit, his positive influence in being a strong box to box player in games especially when we’re playing away from home. I like to think of him as a Bowyer role except Smith’s a much better player.

  • Alan

    Sep 4, 2007 at 9:32 AM

    Comment #2

    I think the players believe we can make a real push for the top 4 this year. Once we get the 2 new full backs playing and Barton back i don’t think there will be many teams capable of beating us this year. We have a stronger team now than i can remember even stronger than the Keegan team. I think we have great times ahead. And after Saturdays performance i think someone soon will get a good hiding. It would be great to see Bellamy and Co given a good tanking.

  • big pea ov the weab

    Sep 4, 2007 at 9:38 AM

    Comment #3

    at last we will have a defencen and midfeild worthy of the toon army we have a bunch of players that seem comited to the geordie cauze thats wot this clubs been lacking over the last 10 years

    keep up the good work lads and we will definitly be champions lueage matiral

  • Craig Allen

    Sep 4, 2007 at 9:46 AM

    Comment #4

    I think Ashley wearing the number 17 could motivate Smith even more than ever – not hat he really needs it!

  • Lamesley Mag

    Sep 4, 2007 at 9:48 AM

    Comment #5

    Still unsure as to Alan’s best position as he’s so versatile and can play forward, midfield and even in defence if needed.

    Great purchase and can understand why Ash likes him…….

  • maggpie

    Sep 4, 2007 at 10:29 AM

    Comment #6

    Smith’s comment about not all players giving 100% these days, very much echoes a similar (but typically more forthright) comment by Barton.
    This emphasises to me the heart and desire we now have in the squad.
    Love England, but damn this international break!
    Having said that, it does give Viduka a chance to recover, along with any other crocks, and although I suspect Deby will come too early for Joey, he’s certain to be nearer.

  • stk

    Sep 4, 2007 at 12:24 PM

    Comment #7

    id like to see smith in central midfield with hargreaves on saturday, joe cole on the left and wright phillips on the right. he’d excel as the attackng centre midfielder. probably wouldnt be as sloppy as lampard

  • jason

    Sep 4, 2007 at 12:31 PM

    Comment #8

    I think that smith is the type of player that will give his best in any position Sam decides to play him in.
    I think his work rate and passion is infectious and it will no doubt rub off on the team. I have got loads of time for the lad and I hope he has a cracking few years on tyneside.
    We have bought so many decent players pre-season I can’t help thinking we are now headed in the right direction and even if the football is less glossy but we have a field of men that fight and scrap and win I can easily get used to that…sexy football RIP

  • toonrich

    Sep 4, 2007 at 12:32 PM

    Comment #9

    As mentioned Smudges versitility is a blessing to the squad, he’s showing he can perform in the middle of the park, I agree with philsta that Smith is much better than Bowyer – with similar style grit, determination. I’d be interested to see Smith & Viduka play up top together like in their Leeds days…as they were phemonenal in Leeds’ champions league season – obviously this wount happen whilst Oba and Owen are fit – but perhaps for a cup game?!!

  • nightfall

    Sep 4, 2007 at 3:03 PM

    Comment #10

    that’s why he’s at the club… ashley is his fan… i’m not saying smith sucks…but we didn’t really need him… i mean…smith’s good at few position, but not very good at 1… now we have too many midfielders and strikers…and they should all be first team regulars: geremi, faye, butt, duff, milner, barton, n’zogbia, emre, (edgar), shola, viduka, owen, martins…and now smith… i have no idea how BS will make everyone happy…we are not in europe…

  • Aussie geordie

    Sep 5, 2007 at 5:34 AM

    Comment #11

    Nightfall we are not in Europe but we have a squad capable of getting us there and considering the players themselves would have seen the spending of other clubs they will undersatnd the need to strengthen our squad. I dont think Butt or Shola need to get too many first too games. Geremi is better than Butt in midfield andcan play very well at RB and may be needed as cover there. Duff is out until November and we cant owrry abotu players retruning from injury wanting immediate first team places. Sam leaving Given on the bench against wigan shows he is prepared to reward players who reward him with excellent performances. This will keep the players motivated


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