Smudger Smith: My meringue's what earned me the Balloon d'Or - News & Comment - Football - The Independent

Smudger Smith: My meringue's what earned me the Balloon d'Or

The Journeyman Pro

In a professional career spanning 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.

With December here, the temperature is falling faster than Gareth Bale in the penalty area. It was a bitterly cold round of midweek fixtures and I noticed loads of the lads opted for gloves. This wasn't the first time anyone had donned them this season, though. A few weeks ago at Barnet I accidentally left mine on after baking a pre-match meringue. And I'm pretty sure I saw Joe Hart and a few other guys in gloves as early as August.

Chelsea fans continued to protest as they played out another 0-0 draw. They nostalgically chanted Di Matteo's name throughout. I can't see Benitez lasting long and, given his current level of popularity at Stamford Bridge, I'm hearing Mark Clattenburg is the bookies' favourite to be their next manager.

The Ballon d'Or shortlist was announced this week. I'll never forget squeezing into my best suit and rocking up at the ceremony only to be turned away at the door. It transpired that I'd actually won the Balloon d'Or for the fattest man in football. Jan Molby was livid. He came in second.

Joey Barton is receiving a lot of stick for the French accent he adopted when speaking to the French media. I feel sorry for the lad, as it always seems like the right thing to do but often backfires. My time with Grampus Eight was curtailed after I adopted this tactic and I'm still not welcome in most of Japan.

Finally, I see Lord Leveson has called for tighter press regulation and I for one welcome the move. A match report in this very paper once called me "as useless as the left-hand side of the clock on Countdown". This kind of thing has to stop.

Follow me on @smudgersmithpro

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