Smudger Smith: I've never liked faltering run-ups, I run out of breath

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.

The Champions League is back, the most exciting return of European groups since A-ha reformed with support from Ace of Base. Speaking of comebacks, it was fantastic to see Darren Fletcher finally return from illness. The midfield crisis at Man United has had many fans spitting blood.

United's win was also notable for Nani becoming their third player this season to miss a penalty. I've never been keen on the faltering run-up. I only ever did it because I ran out of breath. People say it was a nice height for the keeper but as a goalie I can tell you six feet over the bar is far better.

It was a night when the Turkish side hit the bar more often than Jimmy "Five Bellies" on our trip to Magaluf. This was obviously another tactical masterstroke from Fergie as the experience of the opposition rattling the woodwork served as ideal preparation for tomorrow's Liverpool game.

Wednesday also saw Oscar bag a brace for Chelsea on his first start. The papers have had a lot of fun with their puns but Oscar actually isn't his proper name. His full name is The Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film.

On Tuesday, Steve Bould took charge of Arsenal while Arsène Wenger served a touchline ban. Luckily for Bouldy, Arsenal won the game or he might have had to bust out the hairdryer. I can only assume he'd have had to borrow one.

Finally, to Real Madrid against City, the game we'd all been waiting for (other than the missus, who wanted to watch The Great British Bake Off). It was upsetting to see a manager set out his stall, execute his plan to perfection only for all that good work to be undone with minutes remaining. I know Jose will be really disappointed with himself for that knee-slide celebration and I suspect it will take more than Sky+ to smooth things over with his wife when she sees the stains.

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