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.
I tuned into the news this week but was a bit early and caught one of those minor stories before the sport. Apparently squatters could face up to six months in prison now their rights have been taken away. This seems harsh to me and is terrible news for Andre Villas-Boas, who spends the majority of his time in the crouch position.
It's more bad news for AVB in a week where his constant appeals for patience have made him sound like a scratched Take That record. I never like to see anyone lose their job but I do feel he should move on. Football is all about being at the right place at the right time and I don't think White Hart Lane is the right place. Andy Carroll's immediate impact at West Ham proves how important the right fit is. To my mind, there's only one place for the Portuguese to go: Aston Villa. Cynics will suggest a link between the manager's name and the club's doesn't necessarily guarantee success but what about Arsène Wenger at Arsenal and Roberto Mancini at Man City? Not to mention the joyous fact that, from 1998 to 2003, Wolfgang Wolf was the manager of Wolfsburg.
Signing Moutinho may have helped, but I think it was questionable of AVB to try to bring in the Real manager. There comes a time when you have to let your mentor go and stand on your own two feet. It's not all bad news at the Lane, though. The passion of the fans is great to hear. Even when the results are poor, the fans are enjoying the games enough to boo when the time comes for the action to end.
I remember being booed quite a bit when I was at Blackburn. Every time I passed the ball, in fact. I think the fans wanted to see me dribble more and were unhappy I was moving it on. But the gaffer was massively into pass and move. What could I do?