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 column.
The handshake discussion rolls on and I think we're all fed up of reading about handshakes, so I have decided to not even mention handshakes in this column. There will be no paragraph on handshakes from this correspondent.
Dimitar Berbatov enjoyed a tremendous home debut for Fulham. As a striker you dream of winning the fans over with a start like that. Another ex-Man United striker turning out for a new side was Michael Owen at Stoke. He wasn't quite as prolific in his first game but I felt it was a solid showing, despite not touching the ball in his time on the pitch. Berbatov's impact was instant and Owen will be looking to emulate him over the coming weeks by also getting a touch. It has been brought to my attention that a couple of Berba's touches actually ended up as goals, which really is a bonus.
Another former Tottenham ace was also on the score sheet with Peter "Crouchy" Crouch banging one in for Stoke. Roberto Mancini was obviously upset with the goal and said: "If you want to start with the first goal you should talk about NBA basketball, not football." This really disappointed me. We have heard so much on this topic over the years and sometimes there are things you can't change and you just need to accept them with grace. We all know Crouchy is a tall man and it was insensitive, not to say tedious, to hear these heightist gibes come out again.
There were more home debut goals in Man United's win but I understand Paul Scholes walked away with the man of the match award. When I heard the news all I could think was "I can't believe it's not Büttner!"
This week people have been complaining about press intrusion and that the Royals deserve some time away from the cameras. Despite this, I really enjoyed Reading v Spurs and think Sky Sports did the right thing.
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