Smudger Smith: A case of holding back the tears watching England
The Journeyman Pro
Saturday 15 September 2012
In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon "Smudger" Smith has played for over 67 clubs. The ultimate utility player, as his pace has diminished, he has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to holding midfielder, centre-back to goalkeeper. Now that his website has been closed down, we have exclusive access to his weekly column.
Tuesday night saw the most disappointing performance at Wembley since Simply Red in 1989 (no "Holding Back the Years"? Come on Mick!). As with that gig, the fans only got what they came for with three minutes remaining (England scoring/"Money's Too Tight to Mention"). It's a tough group and any points gained against top teams like Ukraine and Poland have to be considered a bonus. There's no question that those are the two form teams in qualifiers, having soared into the recent Euros with no effort whatsoever. I assume both nations qualified with flawless campaigns, as there is no record of either conceding a goal in qualification.
Things could have been so different. Jermain Defoe had a goal disallowed and I feel his pain. The amount of goals I've had that weren't allowed over the years. Mainly because they went wide.
In the last few days, fans of Arsenal and Real Madrid have been eager to discover whether Arsène Wenger and Cristiano Ronaldo respectively will put pen to paper. The media will go into overdrive, just as it did for me during my time at Southampton. There was partying in the streets following my press release announcing I'd re-signed. Unfortunately, I had accidentally omitted the hyphen. That party turned ugly fast.
Looking ahead to the weekend's games, for the second season in a row there is a lot of scrutiny surrounding whether or not Anton Ferdinand and John Terry will shake hands before QPR play Chelsea. I'm not sure exactly what went on between the two but can only assume one of them once saw the other go to the loo and fail to wash his hands.
Finally, congratulations to my old boss Sir Alex Ferguson, who will be immortalised in bronze as a statue outside Old Trafford. I guess he has finally done as much for Man United as Michael Jackson did for Fulham.
Follow me on @smudgersmithpro
Latest in Sport
Arsenal have no plans to stock Petr Cech inspired caps in their club shops - yet
Radamel Falcao to Chelsea: Former Manchester United striker 'signs contract' to join Blues and is told to meet up with squad on pre-season tour
Copa America 2015: When does it start, what channel is it on and who should I support?
England vs Japan Women's World Cup match preview: Lionesses get to grips with the publicity – and opponents
Venezuelan TV host gets completely naked while reporting on Copa America win over Colombia
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?