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Alan Smith Criticises Leeds Fans For 'Hoo-Ha' Over Man United Move

Alan Smith Criticises Leeds Fans For 'Hoo-Ha' Over Man United Move
By Arthur James O'Dea
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Sixteen-years after crossing the Pennines to join Manchester United, Alan Smith remains upset at the manner in which this decision was received by the Leeds United fans.

An academy product of the Yorkshire club, Smith, speaking in a recent interview with the Mirror, can't quite believe the Leeds fans weren't more "proud of me going ... [to] one of the biggest clubs in the world."

Expanding on his plans post-retirement, Smith's professional career brought some incredible highs, and one devastating, life-altering low.

Revealing that he still struggles to this day with the after-effects of a horrendous injury sustained during a Manchester United vs Liverpool clash in 2006, it is perhaps too easy to overlook how much the forward-cum-midfielder had achieved up to this point.

Making his senior breakthrough with David O'Leary's Leeds United in the 1998/99 season as an 18-year-old, Smith's Premier League debut coincided with his first goal vs Liverpool.

Part of a Leeds side that regularly looked set to challenge the domestic dominance of Manchester United, Smith featured heavily in the club's run to a Champions League semi-final in the 2000/01 season.

However, as Leeds' fortunes dwindled and the club was eventually relegated in the 2003/04 season, the likes of Smith, Paul Robinson, James Milner, Ian Harte, Danny Mills, Scott Carson, Mark Viduka and more left the club.


No departure was met with quite the same ferocity as that of local lad, Alan Smith.


“Leaving Leeds to go to Man United caused a hoo-ha but I hope I got respect from the people I worked with and who managed me.

“I would like to think Leeds could be proud of me going from Leeds to Manchester United because there is not many kids coming through the system from 10 years old who get to sign for one of the biggest clubs in the world.


"But it was a shame that people at the club who brought me through never got much credit for it because it had to be a bit hush-hush and people felt they had to hide it under a bush."

Although it would be facetious to suggest that Smith could have foreseen what would become of Leeds United (they've yet to make their return to the Premier League), Smith memorably stated in an interview with Soccer AM.

Interviewer: Is there any team you'd never play for?

Smith: Ya, Man United.

Spending three seasons with under Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, Smith's time at the club is ultimately looked upon in light of the devastating injury sustained a little over mid-way through his spell there.

However, he looks upon the time favourably.


“I loved it at Manchester United though, it was intense and I saw it as a great opportunity to learn from some of the best of the players.

"I was probably a bit of annoyance to them because I wanted to learn and put myself against them in training. I remember my first pre-season I would sit and talk to the best players, like Roy Keane."

Boasting one Premier League winners' medal and a Championship winners' medal with Newcastle United, Smith played out the last few years of his professional career with MK Dons and Notts County in England's lower leagues.


See Also: Watch: Troy Parrott Hat-Trick Fires Ireland U19s To Win Against Faroe Islands

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