One of the positives of last night’s game was the play of Alan Smith, who was having his first start of the season, and put in a lively and committed display in the engine room and played well alongside Geremi, who also had his best game for some time for the Magpies.
Alan Smith – excellent performance from this lad last night
Smith of course has been out with an Achilles injury but when he was replaced near the end the crowd gave the Leeds-born star a very well earned ovation.
Alan of course has never been at his best at Newcastle, but on the evidence of last night the lad is determined to get back to his best, and that has to be good news for Newcastle, since we need an in-form and committed Alan Smith in the side.
Alan of course was at Leeds United when they were relegated 5 years ago and he told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle today:
“You never want a relegation on your CV.” “And for me, you don’t want to have two on there.”
“It’s not nice. It’s horrible. And if there are people who need reminding of it, then I’m not one of them.”
“There are 10 games left and, hopefully, we can use last night’s display against Manchester United as a springboard to go to Hull a week on Saturday and get a good result.”
“We showed we have a great endeavor and belief.” “And now we need to continue that if we’re to beat the drop.”
Smith last started a Premier League game against Everton at Goodison Park on the final day of last season, and has been out since early September with his Achilles injury, but he looked very good last night playing against his former team mates.
And talking about his 82 minutes of action last night, before he was replaced by 18 year-old youngster LuaLua, Smith said:
“It’s been nine months since I started a competitive game.” “And there is no bigger game than Manchester United to do it in for me.”
“We’ve come out of it with a lot of pride and a lot of respect from their players.” “It’s just disappointing that we couldn’t come out of it with a point.”
“We all have to stand up and be counted now in the last 10 games. Everybody knows that.” “After that performance there are people scratching their heads wondering why we can’t play like that week-in, week-out.”
“It’s easy to say. We have to go out there and get good results.” “We’re in a relegation battle and we don’t have everybody fit, which is disappointing.”
“That’s been the case all season.” “When you look around at the players who were missing again last night, it’s a huge issue for Chris Hughton.”
“If you do have fresh legs then you can mix and match like Man United do.” “Chris probably wouldn’t have wanted to put me in because of match fitness and I was seeing stars after 60 minutes.”
“But he only had the option of bringing on Kazenga LuaLua, who isn’t a central midfielder.” “We’re down to the bare bones.”
“But when that is the case everybody has to dig in and show what they’re about.”
Good words from Alan, and of course there has never been any question at all about the character or guts of Alan Smith, just that he hasn’t played well while he’s been at Newcastle.
And he was adamant in January that he had no plans at all of leaving Newcastle, as he seems to love the atmosphere – football fanatacism – on Tyneside. And with Joe Kinnear already coming out and saying he’s always admired the play of Smith, maybe the lad can still come good at Newcastle.
We have often been Alan’s biggest critic, but if the lad can come through big time for the team, like he began to demonstrate last night, we’ll be the first ones to hold up our hands to the former Leeds star.
Like any Newcastle fans, we want the lads to start finding their best form quickly, and if they put in fighting performances like they did last night, surely we’ll be safe by the end of the season?
We got absolutely nothing out of the game in terms of points, but the lads showed to anybody who was watching the game, that the pride and passion that is Newcastle United is still alive and well on Tyneside.
Nobody can come even close to the support the Newcastle fans at the game gave their team last night – nobody!
Howay The Lads!!