Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

News & Comment

Smudger Smith: Why I refrain from stomping on old grounds

The Journeyman Pro

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.

I was impressed with Hugo Rodallega on his return to the DW Stadium this weekend. I think it shows a lot of class to not celebrate in front of former fans who were so good to you. I'm proud to say that not once did I celebrate on returning to an old stomping ground. Though admittedly, I didn't ever score.

To show respect like that takes integrity, which is sadly lacking in those players who dive. Like most people, I am bored of watching players simulating and trying to win penalties and think we need to clamp down with more yellow cards. I remember being in a nightclub with Jeff Winter and he told me that if somebody goes down easily then you should always put their name and number in your little black book.

It was good to see Oscar get booked for it and also David Luiz in the closing stages of Chelsea's game. His cynical attempt to win a free-kick could have been nasty as in throwing himself to the ground he caught Jonathan Walters in what could have caused serious injury. Nobody was anywhere near Luiz when he went down so no wonder the Stoke players were so livid.

It is a worry that referees aren't getting enough respect. I only caught a glimpse of the incident but Wigan captain, Gary Caldwell, was issued a straight red card and then just laughed in the referee's face. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Not only that but he refused to leave the pitch and played most of the game before being substituted. If this sort of behaviour is tolerated all hell is going to break loose on the pitch.

On a happier note, I'd like to congratulate Everton on their terrific start. It was a very impressive performance on Saturday and I wanted to give a report of what the atmosphere was like at their game in Swansea, but I wasn't at Liberty to say.