Smudger Smith: How I was at the heart of crowd trouble

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 and has reinvented himself time and again, from poacher to goalkeeper.

Like my blood pressure, Cardiff are going up. It’s an incredible achievement when you consider they’ve made history by gaining promotion to the top flight – they’re the first Welsh side in two years to do so. I’ll never forget the joy I felt when I was promoted while with Halifax. Becoming branch manager at that bank was very much a dream come true.

It was a shame to see the weekend’s games marred by crowd trouble. Sunderland’s win over Newcastle was notable for Paolo Di Canio’s wise decision not to emulate the old Alan Shearer goal celebration. Unfortunately, one Newcastle fan did raise his hand and took his frustration out on a police horse.

Such behaviour is inexcusable as was that of some of the Millwall fans at Wembley, who turned on each other. To be fair though, I gather some wag in the stands had spread the rumour the club were going to sign me in the summer, so their frustration was entirely understandable.

Wednesday night saw another 2-2 draw between West Ham and Manchester United at Upton Park, with a late Robin van Persie equaliser. It’s always repeats on telly. United’s players were angered by Andy Carroll’s aerial challenge on the goalkeeper, but Sam Allardyce leapt to his player’s defence.

“When you commit on a corner and you start off running you can’t stop dead, even though you aren’t going to get it. Your Highway Code will tell you that when you travel at 60mph it will take 300 yards to stop, so when Andy’s travelling at 15mph…”

Big Sam is right, of course, and watching his West Ham side and their feisty striker is a lot like a long drive on the motorway – both are boring, liable to make you nauseous and likely present you with a hard shoulder.

Follow me on @smudgersmithpro