Alan Smith- A great leader.

Smudge is a Good lad.
It’s great to hear that Alan Smith has returned to training following his injury sustained against Sunderland at The Stadium Of Light. Reading about his return from injury inspired me to write a bit about Smudge.

Alan hasn’t had much of a look in this season since the arrival of Cheik Tiote. Smith is a player that many fans wanted replacing on our return to the Premier League with people questioning whether the player was good enough for the top flight. Tiote has certainly come in a cemented the defensive midfield role at the club and is now one of the first names on the team sheet.

In that respect there is no shame losing your place to a player of Cheik’s calibre. Smudge isn’t quite as mobile as he used to be and is a very different player to the one we saw banging in goals for Leeds earlier in his career. In fact the only goal the player has managed in a black and white shirt was during his first appearance for the club – a pre season friendly with Sampdoria.

Alan was signed by former boss Sam Alladyce from Manchester United for £6 million, with the player allegedly picking up a massive £60,000-a-week. Smith arrived as a versatile player who could play up front or in midfield.

Smith found himself in and out the team whilst the team were in the Premier League. He was experimented in a few positions, including Big Sam sticking him out wide which didn’t really work. Despite struggling with form the player’s attitude was never questioned and he’s been described as a likeable lad. He has always had good leadership skills and is very respected in the dressing room. Kevin Keegan once described Smithy as ‘gold dust’

Alan demonstrated his excellent leadership skills during our one season in the Championship. Chris Hughton quickly made Alan joint captain alongside Nicky Butt. With Nicky not started much during the season Alan donned the captain’s armband for much of the season. He did a cracking job of motivating the team and being a positive voice in the dressing room.

Along with the likes of Kevin Nolan and Steve Harper, Alan stood up after relegation and took responsibility for what happened and vowed to stick around and get the club back where it belonged. It seems to still be the case now that having a guy like Alan around is excellent whether his playing or not. He was pivotal to us and our promotion last season.

With Smudge’s contract expiring at the end of next season it’s difficult to assume he’ll be offered an extension to his current deal. I just think his presence will be a miss when he moves on. Whether that be now for a small fee or next year on a free.

I know Smith it’s a player that gets a lot of stick and whenever people make their lists of players to leave Alan’s name is frequently mentioned, but I have a really big soft spot for Smudger. I appreciate the player’s efforts during The Championship season and his positive and infectious personality around the dressing room even now. I think people are a bit harsh and Alan and forget how important a player he was for us last season.

I vaguely remember someone saying that Alan was like a cheerleader on £60,000 a week, in a way that is correct, but I think a personality like that will be missed when it’s gone. Although I agree he is on ridiculous wages and there are more naturally gifted footballers out there. What I will say is I don’t panic if and when he is called upon, he’s a model professional and an influence on the pitch. Like Tiote though, Alan certainly likes collecting his yellow cards.

Glad your nearing fitness. I appreciate all the work you’ve put in for the club Smudge!

33 thoughts on “Alan Smith- A great leader.

  1. How about as a radical experiment, we play Smudger up front where he should be played anyway? Cant do any worse than Strolla and at least he runs about and tries. I would quite like to see him play up top in a couple of games cos he sure as hell is not a CDM. Fergies mistake, one of few mind but a mistake trying to change him.


  2. I believe Smudger will be offered a greatly reduced contract and he’ll stay.

    I dont think he’s good enough even to get in the team when Tiotes out.

    Thank him and sell him.


  3. Well I must admit he’s led the injury list right from the front for the past two years.


  4. RAFFO smith himself has said he couldnt play up front now due to the injurys he has had,not up to P.L. standard that is,should be moved out imo anyway


  5. It was really until the end of the season, fitness dependant ICE.

    I think he should be shipped out this summer, but from the noises Carver has made sounds as though his personality and leadership may just keep him around, which isnt the worst ting in the world but if it stops us offering someone like Ireland 50k a week when hes on 60k that doesnt make sense


  6. @raffo

    I appreciate strolla is not the best but to consider putting Smudger before him is ridiculous.

    At least Shola does score goals occasionally.
    The prime role of a striker is goals.

    Now think again and tell me would you really put him ahead of Shola.? 😯


  7. Nice one, Mark – totally agree on all counts. Some nice words about Smudge from the club today as well, and they seem to suggest he could stay on beyond his playing days, given his motivational talents off the pitch.

    As a player, though, I’ve just lost hope that he’ll come good, unfortunately. Too many late and misjudged tackles, too few useful interventions and too few completed passes. Such a shame – what a top bloke. I was on the pitch at the end of the Plymouth game when we’d won the CCC, and got to thank him in person. I hope he realises it’s appreciated.


  8. @Stu79

    What’s your thoughts that the club will offer him a new but reduced contract?


  9. Not next season Bobby. Frankly I want replacements for both Strolla and Smudger.

    Strolla doesnt have that great a scoring record either does he. Hardly banging on the England door now is he


  10. Stu – I thought you and Bobby were bezzy mates now?

    Bit harsh calling him a cock, dontcha think?


  11. @ raffo

    I’m not supporting Strolla here. I would sell him but that’s not going to happen. But he does get goals.

    So I was asking whether you would still put Smudge ahead of him bearing in mind Smudge doesn’t score ANY goals?


  12. BS9 – yep, you have a point there! It would be great to see Smudge get a goal, but I’d prefer a top-half finish!

    I know this is dredging up a previous thread, but on Sunday I think Shola was at least in and mixing it against some good defenders, despite a yawning, Nolan-shaped hole behind him, lousy crosses from the right and Loven nowhere to be seen.

    Barton was the key failure on the day for me, not Shola. How many set pieces did we get, and how many were woefully over-hit? Yes, he’s allowed an off day – but let’s be honest about it, eh?


  13. Also, Vuckic will be back to fitness next season too.

    It is encouraging and frustrating that Vuckic, Gosling, HBA have been missing all season pretty much. Will be like 3 new signings next term


  14. Bobby Shinton number 9
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    What’s your thoughts that the club will offer him a new but reduced contract?

    He’s a gonner! Apart from the fact that he’s just not good enough even a reduced salary for someone who never plays is still too much.


  15. Bob – Maybe in the last home game as a send off when we are safe.

    Whumpie – Does that suggest then that we are far too reliant on Joey and shows Pardew is right in his and everyone elses assessment that HBA is the biggest loss to the team and not judas? He is also over-performing IMHO as he is out of position.

    But maybe if Joey was played in the CM role, and we played Jonas RW and Fergie LW, maybe we would create more?


  16. @Stu

    I know your thoughts on the player, same as mine. I was wondering what you believe the club will do though. ? 😕

    I honestly believe he is a big influence around the club and dressing room and seen by Pards as a good player.

    They don’t think like us.


  17. @bobby

    I responded to you in the previous thread…

    Regarding Smith, if he’s good to have around the place offer him a coaching contract & associated salary but as player no thanks…


  18. Smudge will always be a legend in my eyes for last season. But I cringe a little everytime I see that he’s starting. Wouldn’t mind keeping him around on low wages but do feel we need better to progress.


  19. @raffo

    To be fair I think you are back tracking on the Smudge question but I do think you have a good point about Jonas on the right and Fergie on the left, putting Barton back in his natural role.

    Round pegs in round holes is not a hard concept to grasp.


  20. Would be interesting to see how Smith did up front although not in a match of any importance or significance. Could have a game behind closed doors and see if he can still hit the target.

    Don’t see any value as keeping him as a defensive midfielder as he just isn’t good enough in the position for the Premier League although I would be sad to see him go all the same.

    Is he any good at left back? 😉

    See Michael Bridges retired the other day too, another promising career down the swanny.


  21. Witters per previous thread ;


    I accept it’s down to the club to convince players to stay. But I don’t accept for one second you need to wait til players come in.

    It’s about Ashley sitting down with the players and manager and explaining his intentions and providing promises.

    I don’t buy this wait and see by who we buy. Some purchases are completed on the last day of the window .


  22. IMHO NUFC have too many guys that are good in the locker room but cannot make a positive impact on the pitch. As I recall NUFC is a football team that should be winning matches, not a good buddy fraternity house.


  23. Smudger falls into the catregory of many players at the club. We are so grateful for getting us out the fizzy pop league we sort of have some affection for them. In the premier league they are not good enough.
    From the team that started on Sunday I would only like to see the following in contention for first team spots next season. Krul, Enrique, Colo, Barton and Tiote. Add the injured Vuckic and Ben Arfa. We need replacements for the other places and bench.

    i am not confident we will get all these transfers


  24. Bob – it seemingly is a strange concept, right footed LB’s, a right footed LW in Jonas. I dont think it would be the worst thing to try out in the last couple of games. The LW combo of Jonas and Jose is decent, but doesnt have a very good assist ratio.

    I am not back tracking, I just didnt qualify that I dont see him as a long term option for the CF position, just would like to see him there as he cant do worse than Shola and McLovin


  25. @bobby

    I just think actions speak louder than words…talk is cheap & its possible players may want to see signings before signing a contract.

    Regarding players coming in on the last day, the answer is simple, buy the fokkers early in the transfer window although I appreciate this might be difficult in practice…


  26. raffo @ 16 – yep, I agree with that analysis. I’m not saying it’s absolutly right, but the argument about HBA being a bigger loss, and about how Nolan and Carroll are only effective in partnership and so on. It all adds up IMHO.

    I was also thinking that Pards needed a reshuffle like the one you mentioned (or just putting Raylor on RW) to get Joey into the middle. The number of times we went forward and there was a hyyyaaaawwwwge space in the middle was just ridiculous.


  27. @raffo

    The smudge / Shola question.

    He would do worse. Both score occasional goals.

    Smudge doesn’t . Full stop. 😯


  28. Stardust
    Posted May 4, 2011 at 1:06 PM
    TC – Boobys playing with Potty like a cat does a dying rat wooo hooo

    Nice to see you back, Osama.



  29. Smudge doesnt because he is played as a CDM. Tiote’s only scored one, and what a strike btw.

    I am only saying play him there 2 games until the summer, when hopefully we have 2-3 strikers coming in. Its obvious thats where we need strength.

    Whumpie, and Barton must run twice as much as everyone else as he drifts inside so much he leaves huuuge spaces on the wing for their LW/LB to run into he needs to belt it back across to shut them down!


  30. As much as he’s a good influence off the pitch, I don’t think we should be paying him upwards of 50k a week!

    I can’t see him wanting to take a huge pay cut, so with that in mind, I’d sell him.


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