Smith – We Put our Bodies on the Line

A great interview with Alan Smith conducted by the Evening Chronicle today. Alan, of course, is a utility player at Newcastle, and it must be difficult for him to keep playing so many different positions for the team. But he never seems to complain about things, as long as he’s playing.

After starting the last game up front with Michael Owen against Portsmouth, he was asked to play the defensive midfield role against Sunderland and Alan played extremely well.

Alan Smith – a utility player with great commitment for the Newcastle cause

Alan Smith did well in the game on Saturday. He did particularly well in the first half to block a shot which looked like a certain goal, after Harper had half saved a previous effort. But passion and commitment are hardly in short supply with the gritty Yorkshireman.

Alan told the Evening Chronicle today:

“It shows passion from everyone – the support was unbelievable again,” “They’ve stuck with us when at times it’s been difficult.”“We’re all still learning, and individual errors are costing us, but our reaction when they scored was the most positive thing. It’s the first away point we’ve got since Middlesbrough.”

“People have questioned our passion and commitment, and I don’t think anyone could do that against Sunderland. That’s a pleasing aspect from our point of view.”

It turns out that Sam started six Englishmen in the derby game against Sunderland. But Alan knew exactly what the derby game meant to both sets of supporters before the game.

“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize how much it means to everyone,” “We’ve got players from Newcastle who know how much it means.”“But you don’t have to be from round these parts to realize it’s about pride and people going to work on Monday morning talking about a result.”

“That’s how difficult it is for people and we didn’t want to let anyone down. Nobody wants to give an inch, and I think you saw a fair reflection of that.”

Alan admits to being a little disappointed with the result because after Sunderland scored, Newcastle went into a higher gear. In similar games against Everton and West Ham we’ve been able to score late goals to win the games. Once Newcastle scored and kept up the pressure, it looked like we could even nick the win. But it was not to be and a draw was a fair result overall.
Alan continued:

“We’re a bit disappointed, and if you ask Sunderland, I’m sure they’ll be a bit disappointed as well. We started to control the game in the second half.”“We knew how much of a threat Kenwyne Jones would be, and we tried to stop that at source as much as we could.” “We hoped to get to half-time, and then build on the performance.”

“Sunderland scored a poor goal from our point of view.” “Our reaction after that was the most positive thing. It would have been easy for heads to go down.”

“We were putting our bodies on the line.”

Whether you like Alan Smith or not, you cannot argue with the boy’s 100% commitment to Newcastle, and he’s just the type pf player that Newcastle fans admire. He never shirks his responsibility, and adds considerable bite to the Newcastle team. Just which position is Alan’s best is a bit of an unknown right now, and we’ll need to wait on that one. He can certainly play a good defensive midfield holding role, which he proved when he was at Manchester United. But we’re very glad to have Alan in the squad, that’s for sure.

Comments welcome.

23 comments so far

  • Graeme

    Nov 12, 2007 at 4:01 PM

    Comment #1

    I agree that Smith gives 100% but having watched the match in Sunny Lagos, Nigeria I have to say we were 2nd best all day. The Makems over here were gutted to lose and couldnt say much against that view.

    Europe?? Forget it. This was like watching the team from last season all over again – we are lacking in creativity, bite and drive. Sam has bought some good players but they are just not doing it on the pitch. More worrying, we dont seem to be improving at all.

    Any NUFC fans over here in Nigeria?? Would be delighted to hear from you.

  • Obafan

    Nov 12, 2007 at 4:11 PM

    Comment #2

    Smith is a constant red card danger . He must be BS his best friend, because he will play him out of his position all the time. He has done it for 98% of the time. I’m not a fan of Smith and I think the money spent on him could have been far better spend.

  • ToonKing

    Nov 12, 2007 at 4:33 PM

    Comment #3

    Unlike Obafan i’m a big fan of Smithy. He has great authority and is one of, if not the most committed player in the EPL, he fights for every ball, every inch of the pitch. He is great as a Target Man given the chance and is good as a holding midfielder too. Even at Man Utd both fans, players and manager loved him. Fergie said that he only let him go because he loves him and wants to see him succeed. He is an utility player, he will play and play decently too, anywhere you put him. He is a Roy Keane type of player, a driving force of the team. As for him getting cards…………you won’t get a card if you don’t go after the ball. + referees are really pussies these days.

    He is a great asset for any club and i’m delighted that we have him and Joey.

  • yemozone

    Nov 12, 2007 at 5:17 PM

    Comment #4

    yeah i’m a nufc fan in nigeria,graeme

  • yemozone

    Nov 12, 2007 at 5:21 PM

    Comment #5

    Nice to see a nigerian comment on the blog.I thought i was the only toon fan in nigeria.

  • nightfall

    Nov 12, 2007 at 5:23 PM

    Comment #6

    he’s not good enough as a midfielder, he sucks as winger and we all know we have too many good strikers so there’s no room for him up front… he’s just a selfish bully who makes stupid fouls that have and will cost us valuble points…and perhaps the morale… it’s similar with barton…except that barton has talent…

  • Hadrian

    Nov 12, 2007 at 5:34 PM

    Comment #7

    if not for smith , saturdays result would have read 2-1 to sunderland .
    he took it upon himself at time to make sure we didnt conced with some outsatnding last ditch defending .
    the lad is talented as hell and belongs in our squad … im just not sure where . he plays some great 1 toutch football so id like to see him sitting behind our strikers .
    he like joey seem to need a bit of their confidence back and start playing some cocky football , its never going to happen with everyone on their back tho .

  • ourman

    Nov 12, 2007 at 5:37 PM

    Comment #8

    Toon King, what games have you been looking at? Is Smith committed? Yes in terms of mouthing off and giving away free kicks. No in terms of getting on the end of passes or out muscling an opponent.

    He’s awful on the wing. Was a liability in the centre of midfield on Saturday (although typically Alan Oliver game him top marks) and up front he is not strong enough to be a target man and not fast enough or skilful enough to play off one.

    He is slow, light weight and his passing is terrible. I have no idea how he continues to get a game although I seem to recall him saying, early in his time here, that he came to Newcastle because he had a “guaranteed place” in the first team. Would Sam really offer him that? Hmmm. It’s starting to look like it.

    Certainly he played central midfield on Saturday ahead of a number of players who have way more experience there.

    In not picking up his man he was at fault for the goal on Saturday.

    I am yet to see him make a single positive contribution to a single game.

    Let’s face it, if Ferguson really rated him then he’s still be at Manchester United. He left because he couldn’t get a game.

    He was a decent player at Leeds but he’s lost something and he’s already had too many chances, in too many positions ,to show that he retains any of his previous ability.

    The fact that he still is in the England squad shows just how clueless McLaren is.

  • Hadrian

    Nov 12, 2007 at 5:37 PM

    Comment #9

    also like to add , his tackling is outstanding , but your never gonna get them all right , especially when you go in as strong as smithy . having a guy who can do that in your opponents 1/3 of the pitch is an incredible asset.

  • Leo

    Nov 12, 2007 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #10

    he is a red card risk only because of bad press, just as joey barton is, they both put their body on the line for nufc’s cause.

  • wsq

    Nov 12, 2007 at 5:38 PM

    Comment #11

    RIGHT!! IT WAS BECCAUSE OF HIM WE CONCEDED THE GOAL. if he bothered to close the cross down, they wouldn’t have scored!

    for fawkes sake!

  • Hadrian

    Nov 12, 2007 at 6:31 PM

    Comment #12

    really? looked like it was due to faye not tracking back with his man to me .

  • Alex

    Nov 12, 2007 at 7:22 PM

    Comment #13

    The goal came about because our defenders did not boot the ball into the stands for a throw in.Instead they gave a soft corner away then were not alert to it being quickly taken.Smith was definatly not at fault for the goal.

  • ToonUSA

    Nov 12, 2007 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #14

    I will put a wager up here, I say if Big Sam plays Martins and Smith as strikers for 3 games on the trot I will put money on NUFC scoring a total team goal tally of greater than 6….

  • Macas

    Nov 12, 2007 at 8:07 PM

    Comment #15

    Bollocks. Rozenhal came across and put the ball out that’s his job done. The fact remains our players were too lazy to run back and defend the corner.

  • Bill f

    Nov 12, 2007 at 8:14 PM

    Comment #16

    From what i saw of the game Smithy was the hardest worker on the pitch, he is what Barton should be. Probably a good idea to start Joey on bench and use Smith in that role. Although pound to a penny that Butt will be on. (Not my choice)

  • wsq

    Nov 12, 2007 at 9:22 PM

    Comment #17

    Please, the whole day yesterday, we gave too much space for the mackems, they had so many shots from outside the box due to no one closing down. THat was the main theme of the day. Put your body on the line bull shit. the only one i saw putting his body on the line was taylor he had to put his head on the line and nearly knocked him out. if someone actually put their body on the line his head wouldn’t have had to put his head on the line!

    GET IT!


  • wsq

    Nov 12, 2007 at 9:24 PM

    Comment #18

    I’m for martins and smith to start! i like the fact that smith always plays the early ball in so that martins can run in from behind to go 1 on 1! they’ve got understanding. we’re not even playing to owen’s strength. he comes all the way to our own half just to clean up our play! RIDICILOUS!

  • Brisbane Mag

    Nov 12, 2007 at 9:57 PM

    Comment #19

    Not sure how any one can blame Smith for Sunderland’s goal, it just amazes me….. He gives 100% in every game regardless of what position he plays, and it’s still not enough.

  • ourman

    Nov 12, 2007 at 10:11 PM

    Comment #20

    I’m intrigued – I haven’t heard any Newcastle fan, who goes to the games, have a good word for Smith for weeks now.

    Where are you all from? Who here goes to the games or are you all overseas?

  • evildick

    Nov 12, 2007 at 10:29 PM

    Comment #21

    I rate Smith, he is 110% committed.

  • Cockney Magpie

    Nov 12, 2007 at 11:49 PM

    Comment #22

    isnt Duff due back anytime soon??

  • scott 9

    Nov 25, 2007 at 4:53 PM

    Comment #23

    smith is not good enough he would not get in any top half team in my opinion


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