rss twitter facebook mobile

Smith: Was It Worth Upsetting Leeds? Definitely!

Alan SmithWe sang his name over and over and over again that day at Villa Park. Three days earlier, we demolished Roma at Old Trafford, with Smithy scoring his first goal for us in seventeen months. He took it brilliantly, volleying in our second goal of the night, and celebrated like a man possessed. “The forgotten man is back,” the commentator boomed.

The season before, at the end of the February 2006, United were knocked out of the FA Cup at Anfield. Horrendous. Doesn’t get much worse than getting knocked out of the cup by the dippers, does it? Well, that day it did. Our fans got showered in shit and Alan Smith got his leg broken. As he was carted away from the stadium in an ambulance, he was ambushed, the ambulance attacked by a group of dippers who ran out of the ground to disgrace themselves.

So back to that day at Villa Park. Alan Smith played out of his skin. It was the semi final of the FA Cup against Watford, and despite not getting his name on the scoresheet, he contributed massively to our result. He was all over the park, working for every tackle and winning the ball, providing passes to set up goalscoring opportunities, and giving 100% to everything he did.

In the second half, there was a long pause in the game for some injury or another, and the players waited, hands on hips, bored. At the Roma game, we hadn’t really been given enough time to show Smith our appreciation for his performance and goal, with Rooney scoring so soon after, and rest of the players scoring every few minutes after that. So with the game dead, the United fans, who put on a blinding performance that day, sang his name. He turned to the crowd and applauded us, grateful to see us so fond of him after being out of action for so long. That was the last time Alan Smith had a good game for Manchester United.

He jumped at the chance to sign for Newcastle at the end of the season, desperately seeking first team football after spending so long without a game. A year and a half without a match to play allowed him to sort out his priorities, and playing regular football ranked higher than playing for Manchester United. Fair play to him.

Alan Smith returns to Old Trafford today and will no doubt be welcomed warmly. He never really cut it at United, but his attitude is something that was always appreciated by the crowd. Ahead of the game, Alan Smith commented on his decision to leave United and how he feels about returning. “I had three good years there,” he said. “Unfortunately I missed a full season with the broken leg. It’s not a nice way to finish because I never got a good chance to say goodbye to the fans. Hopefully I will get a chance on Saturday. I got to two FA Cup finals, won a Premier League medal. Got to a Carling Cup which I got injured in the process of getting to. The fans were brilliant with me and I had a great time there.” Was moving to United from Leeds worth all the stick he got? “Yes,” he replied. “I’ve got a Premiership winner’s medal. I had an experience you wouldn’t get at any other club. When the chance arises to go there it’s difficult to turn it down. I enjoyed every minute.”

Are you looking forward to seeing Smith back at Old Trafford?

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

View all posts by Scott »



  1. corea says:

    this days there so few players of his kind.
    we love you smudger and will always remember. good luck at newcastle.




  3. Dave Royan says:

    Alan Smith can go and get stuffed, he is an over rated Leeds scum footballer.

  4. Jonny F says:

    Fair play to the lad, he always gave 100%, total commitment, maybe not the best or most skillfull but you just have to love his attitude, good luck at Newcastle Smudger, we’ll be singing for you today in the Stretford End.

  5. OMelhorDoMundo says:

    No I’m not because he is so committed I’m afraid he might kick our defenders off the pitch!
    Serioiusly though, I’m glad to see he’s a regular at a club that matches his talent.

  6. simon says:

    smith may have played for u lot but all his success came at lufc. ferdinand was better at lufc too!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Jono says:

    Typical footballer – a complete tosser. Was it worth Al to betray every Leeds fan who used up their precious money to come and see you and your overrated mates take the club down and then join the most despised club in the world?

  8. JamesGreece says:

    “a group of dippers who ran out of the ground to disgrace themselves”. Priceless! Just like Smithy’s commitment to Manchester United, despite being a lifelong Leeds supporter. I’m surprised about some people’s comments. I don’t think the lad did anything wrong while he was a United player.

  9. Eddie says:

    I think he did well when he played here. Got off to a great start in 2004/05, got the keano role in 2005/06, and played quite well when he came back from THAT injury. BTW, I dont think that game against Watford was his last good game for United. He played well against Shef Utd, Chelsea(League) and City. Not great, but good. Will be happy to see him play at Old Trafford again, I just hope he doenst kick one of our defenders off the park. Would be happy if he kicked Carrick off the park though….at least until Scholes is back. If United lead 3-0 or 4-0 in the last ten minuted, I would be happy if he scored against us(only consolation). I always adored u Smudge and I always will. Good luck at Newcastle, but not today.

  10. simon says:

    no smith

  11. Harvey says:

    The interesting thing about the O’Leary Leeds side is that after it was broken up in the fire sales, none of the much vaunted ‘stars’ set the world on – um fire: Smith, the preposterous Kewell, the weasel Bowyer (obnoxious git), Viduka etc. Name anything seriosly impressive these overpaid Jessies did after they moved on?

    Thought not.

    Seeing honest, if in some cases limited, professionals giving their all in League 1 is more fun. You won’t believe me but like I care….

  12. LeedsU says:

    Smithy was fantastic for us. He also began his career at ManUre on fire. Then Fergie ruined him by attempting to turn him in to the next Roy Keane. I fear he may never be the same player as he was when he was at Leeds, but good luck to the lad.

  13. Tom F says:

    I always find it amusing when some turd calls a player “over-rated”. Not cutting it at the biggest club in England and Possibly the world, after breaking a leg in a horrendus manner does not mean Alan Smih is over-rated, he will always be welcomed warmly by me and I really did always want him to start for us in more games, hoping that he’d get on the scoresheet like he really deserved.

    We all saw what it meant to him when he scored against AS Roma and who could blame him? He gave nothing but 100% and okay, he didn’t have the impact of Rooney or Van Nistelroohy, but when Manchester United come after you it’s not like Alan Smith would turn them down, he’d done a great job before he joined United and I honestly think it was the injury that was the final cut for him, he had to join Newcastle as he never would have made it at OT like he had promised to a few years earlier.

  14. kirbs says:

    smith is a leeds fan allways will be , 2 years and he will be back with the mighty whites SMITH IS A LEEDS LEDGEND

  15. simon says:

    he said he would never go to mufc for that he is a tosser albeit a great player

  16. Smithy's Lost Leg says:


    The twat gets himself sent off as the barcodes get stuffed

  17. seacroft white says:

    Alan Smith gave his all for Leeds everytime he played, but i will never forgive or forget once he pulled on that r*d shirt he became scum, i fucking hate him and he will never play for leeds again

  18. WeAreLeeds says:

    In responce to the commetn about Leeds players doing nothing after they left.. Typical Man Utd comment, you dont know anything about any other team.

    Right where to start.

    Lets start at Dacourt, one of the grittiest midfielders seen, and done well in Italy adn for Inter, who’s fans love him.

    Ferdinand, vital part of your team, to be honest, you wouldnt win anything without him.

    Kewell – Fair enough I think he’s shit but he’s always injured yet Rafa Benitez still plays him regualry, won a champions league medal, something your players have and will never do.Not to turn your nose up.

    I could go on really with many others such as Robinson, England’s number 1,Robbie Keane …. One of the deadliest strikers in the league.

    Why comment on things you dont know about ?

    Also, why would ex-Leeds players be anything better after it ? We got them to their pinnacle and who wouldnt be with sucha brilliantly loyal fanbase at a brilliant club.

  19. Shahzeem Pasha says:

    it didnt matter where he came from or who he supported… he was always the most committed manutd player on the pitch and it had a contagious effect on the team.Leeds got 7million for him, more than what kewell or viduka were sold for! SO he’s helped leeds, done well for man utd and should be good for newcastle aswell.
    name me another striker who’d do well as a defensive centre mid when called upon?
    defoe? owen? kuyt? viduka?berbatov? anelka? torres?kanu?Adebayor?shevchenko?
    Alan Smith will always be one of our heroes

  20. Tom F says:

    Leeds players doing nothing after they left Leeds? Eric Cantona?

  21. Hugo Steckelmacher says:

    Some of you are over-sensitive idiots.

    Harvey’s comment about the disbanded Leeds team of the relegation year is valid and pertinent, in part. And Tom – mentioning Cantona is totally irrelevant, since it is David O’ Leary’s team that is in question. Players such as Bowyer and Kewell really struggled to move on from the Leeds decline – one must remember that Bowyer at this time was an absolutely star player, whilst Kewell was apparently one of the great young players in the world. Woodgate, too, would never really show the his Leeds form again, although as in Kewell’s case, injury played a big role in Woodgate’s demise. But the ignominy and tragedy of the Leeds experience I believe played on some of the players’ minds.

    However, as correctly pointed out, Ferdinand and Keane seem to have progressed with few problems; Dacourt had a little lull before he really came on at Inter.

  22. Hugo Steckelmacher says:

    And Robinson – well, he had a full good season at Tottenham, followed by several bad ones. Not sure if that’s really related to the Leeds thing, though.

  23. Trimm Trab says:

    Alan is a model proffesional and although a hard decision to leave the Mighty Whites for there arch rivals the desire to have 10 pricks behind him and then to be surrounded by 70,000 arse holes jumping up and down was just too much for a lad who enjoys cross dressing and wearing lippy.

  24. Chareose says:

    IM a leeds fan too…. I love my club and my fans but i find the dumb anti Smith bandwagon a bit pathetic and pretty stupid…. I know you guys feel hurt but there have been a host of players that have treated Leeds with far less loyalty than Smith ever did. FFsakes the guy handed his transfer bonus to leeds to help them…. who wouldnt want to join Man United ???? So start getting real and thinking outside your own box ! Id love to see Smith at leeds but he wont come back because of our neanderthal supporter element !

  25. just leeds says:

    I agree smithy is a legend he also took a pay cut at elland road so they could keep some of the tea ladys on…the lad should be homoured for what he tried to do for us at leeds…and to be honest he went to scum to win somert…personally i wunt have..but scum payed the money straight into the bank when he signed for them….alan yer a leeds legend for me son and i hope yer do well….marching on together

  26. Trimm Trab says:

    All you supposed Leeds supporters posting ‘pro’ Alan Smith comments and calling him a legend must either be under 25 or never set foot iin Elland Road. The guy was a bare faced liar and any self respecting Leeds SUPPORTER – someone who actually attends games home and away wouldnt piss on the judas scum if he was on fire.

    Legend is a word reserved for players like Bremner and Charles – just leeds you should hang your head in shame saying Smith was legend. Embarrassment – thats you that is.


You must be logged in to post a comment.