Smudger Smith: Fergie's Yuletide ding-dong rings in a real miracle

The Journeyman Pro

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The Independent Football

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.

What a hectic Christmas period it's been for us players. I've watched EastEnders, Downton and The Royle Family and there's still a huge backlog on the Sky+. For some lucky lads, there was also some football to squeeze in.

The Newcastle players have obviously been watching too much Premier League Years in recent days and decided to emulate the old Keegan side by succumbing to a 4-3 defeat at the death. There was some dispute over their second goal and I'm proud to say that not once during a contentious offside decision have I ever been said to be "interfering with play". Fergie spent Boxing Day in the traditional way, losing his temper over a game. Let's just be grateful the Old Trafford pitch is too large for him to flip over before storming off in a huff. It was, however, good to see Van Persie not only survive the life-threatening attack he had endured earlier in the week but actually score too. A genuine Christmas miracle.

Mancini was also angry with officials and wondered if "the ref ate too much over Christmas". I didn't see the game but if Kevin Friend missed a decision due to sleeping off his big lunch in the centre circle then Roberto has a point. The temptation can be overwhelming to nap after too much turkey and I used to find there was a particularly cosy spot by the corner flag at Highbury.

In just two games, Villa shipped a goal for every day of Christmas. The holidays are all about having people round and being a good host, so it was good of them to concede four to Spurs and make Bale, in particular, feel very at home. Liverpool will be disappointed to have lost but they shouldn't feel too disheartened. I've heard even Barcelona would struggle on a wet Wednesday in Stoke.

Finally, like many of you, my new year's resolution is to get back in the gym. Hopefully, I can last longer than two weeks this time and no doubt my manager and the fans feel the same.

Follow me on @smudgersmithpro