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Smudger Smith: End of Fergie time is sad for gum-makers

The Journeyman Pro

In a professional career spanning almost two decades, Simon "Smudger" Smith has played for over 67 clubs and has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to goalkeeper.

When I heard that Fergie was retiring, I was stunned. I just felt that The Black Eyed Peas still had so much more to give. Then I realised it was actually Fergie who was retiring and I was even more shocked: what would the good people of York do without their Duchess? Then I finally ascertained it was Sir Alex Ferguson who was retiring. It really is sad news for Man United fans and shareholders in Wrigley’s chewing gum.

Part of me still expects Rio to jump out and yell “You got merk’d” but I suppose we need to get used to the idea of a new man on the bench at Old Trafford. It will be interesting to see how the United players react to a no-nonsense, authoritative, long-serving Scot being in charge.

For fourth officials everywhere, it’s the end of an earache. You have to think that Sir Alex will get a reasonable reference on his departure so he should be all right work-wise. I hear he’s going to become a director, which could be exciting. I imagine he will do a cracking job of bringing “Annie Get Your Gum” to the West End.

After all this time, football without Fergie will be like Eternal without Louise – still good but undoubtedly missing something. When I think back on my longest stint at a club, I still feel twangs of nostalgia for my time at Plymouth Argyle. What a five months that was.

Many United players weren’t even born when Fergie took the reins and he is almost synonymous with the club. It is quite something to become part of the furniture; I remember being at Blackburn when I became Colin Hendry’s footstool. He used to joke that he should varnish me because that’s the only way anyone would ever praise me for a good finish

Follow me on @smudgersmithpro