Alan Smith was a first team regular at Leeds United when he was only 19 years old and playing as an out-and-out striker, and even played for England when he was just 21.
Alan Smith – rough reception on Sunday?
And Smith was part of the very successful Leeds side that David O’Leary took to the semi-finals of the European Champions League in 2001, when they were beaten 3-0 in aggregate by Valencia, who then went on to lose the final on penalties (5-4) to Bayern Munich.
But then of course Leeds started their dramatic decline and a short three years later were relegated from the Premier League, after getting into financial trouble under then Chairman Peter Ridsdale, who simply spent money the Yorkshire club didn’t have.
Alan Smith was sold in the summer of 2004 to Manchester United, and it seems the Leeds fans haven’t forgotten that, even though local lad Smith gave the team great service while he was there.
Alan knows he’s likely to get some stick on Sunday, and this is what he had to say about that game:
“I don’t know what the reception will be, we played them at St James’ Park two seasons ago and I got a bad one then, so I am expecting the same at Elland Road.”
“I have been back to watch games but never as a player. It is not something I have really wanted to do to be honest.”
“I have a great affiliation with the club, they brought me through the game. I was an Academy player and a senior player when I left.”
“I am not going to go into details as to the destination I went to. I don’t want to touch on it. People will express how they feel and I know that.”
“It is a long time ago.” “There has been a lot of talk about my future but I just want to continue playing football.” “It is something I have always loved doing ever since I was a kid.”
“I hope that whatever happens people have seen when I’m playing I am giving it everything.”
We’re not exactly sure why when players leave teams, they are always booed on their return.
Leeds sold Alan Smith seven years ago because they couldn’t afford his wages in the second division, and also they got some good cash for him from Manchester United.
Leeds actually sold him to United because they were the only club who offered the transfer money up front, whereas other clubs, such as Newcastle, could only offer it in yearly installments, and that’s only because if truth be told, we didn’t really have the money.
It was probably not Alan’s decision to move, and he proved at Newcastle two years ago that he was willing to go down a division and was then paramount in getting Newcastle back to the PL in the very first season.
That’s what Alan Smith will be remembered for at Newcastle, but for too many seasons he was on the fringes of the Newcastle first team, while on £60K/week.
And it seems that Alan will be reminded of some of his history on Sunday at his home town club.
Oh well, you win some, you lose some.