Smudger Smith: I work strictly on a 'no grin no fee' basis

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.

The major story this week was Reginald D Hunter performing his act at the PFA awards and the subsequent fallout. I can sympathise with the lad. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve turned up, done my thing, and had the players around me either laughing or looking uncomfortable. The comparisons with my playing career don’t end there as it always ends the same way it did for Reg too – with someone apologising on my behalf and the powers that be asking for the fee back.

On a more positive note, congratulations to Gareth Bale for managing a clean sweep. This week he was announced as the Football Writers’ Player of the Year, PFA Player of the Year, PFA Young Player of the Year and in the PFA Team of the Year.

Real Madrid went out of the Champions League on Tuesday night and Jose Mourinho announced he’d go where he is loved next season. Rumour has it he’ll spend the entire campaign staring into a mirror. To be fair to the Special One, I know what it’s like to feel unloved and need to return to the place you feel most at home. I can’t remember the last training session I didn’t follow up with a trip to Kebabra Windsor for a doner or three.

The other Spanish side, Barcelona, shocked the world by naming Lionel Messi as a sub on Wednesday night. There is so much talk about having strength in depth these days, I actually thought it was an admirable decision from the bossman to improve the bench immeasurably by including the world’s best player.

Finally, congratulations to Rafa Benitez on masterminding Chelsea’s passage through to the Europa League final. It was great to see the Spanish waiter finally beat Basel for a change.

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