Smudge says we must avoid “doing a Leeds”.

Posted on November 2nd, 2009 | 121 Comments |

"Not the player I used to be"
"Not the player I used to be"
Alan Smith was been talking to the press a lot last weekend saying, amongst other things, that Newcastle United must get promoted at the first attempt or risk ‘doing a Leeds’. Smith said:

It’s vital we get back up at the first attempt. You look at what’s happened to my old club Leeds United to see the damage that is done if you stay down for a few seasons. Hopefully they are on their way back.

Sheffield United are similar, a huge club outside the Premier League. Sheffield Wednesday, Norwich, Nottingham Forest are all the same.

It’s massively important to get back up as soon as possible. If we don’t get promoted you always have the risk of players seeing a future elsewhere. If we don’t get promoted this season we will have failed.”

In an honest self-appraisal Smith admitted that he’s not the player he used to be.

I am an honest person, I know that I’m not as good as I was, simple as that.

I know I’ll never be able to get back to as good as I was in terms of that two to five per cent that takes you to the very top – international level, Champions League level.

I could still play there but my injury will restrict me from competing at the very highest level.

As soon as I did my injury I knew that. I spoke to [Sir] Alex Ferguson about it and we both knew that it would be so difficult to play at that standard, week in week out.”

Smith is enjoying his time at Newcastle though.

When you’ve been through something when you realise you might never play ever again, every game is a bonus.

Playing at Anfield on that day could have been my last. So I enjoy every day.

I have enjoyed this season as much as any in my career. It’s been a breath of fresh air; I love the challenge in the division. At the end of the season we want to lift that Championship trophy, that would be a massive achievement.

If we do that I will be a happy man. The camaraderie is great. Last year there was a big divide between players, fans and football club. This season you can see togetherness.”

Although he admitted that things didn’t get off to a good start and it took a ‘crunch meeting’ of the players to sort things out.

The hardest thing at the start of the season was knowing which players wanted to stay. We came back in the summer and no-one knew what was going on in terms of could players be sold. Certain players were making it clear they wanted to leave but the club said no-one was going to be sold. That was the most difficult time.

We went to Leyton Orient and it was a disaster. But everything came to a head. It was clear that five or six of the players wanted to leave, which was fair enough. We had a meeting when we came back from the game – just us players.

We said whoever wants to leave, they can leave, and we’ll help them to go. Whoever wants to stay then commit yourself to stay. That’s where we are now. That was a massive turning point. In a way getting that bad result was the best thing that could have happened. It was what needed to happen.

It was one of the strangest things ever. We were managing ourselves. Chris knew that we were having that meeting and he stood back and let us sort things out.

There was never a chance that I would be one of the ones asking to go. I needed to play regular football. That’s what I’ve missed for the last three seasons. You just want to play. I was 29 on Wednesday so I can’t afford to miss any more games. I never feel any twinge of regret. I wanted to stay.”

And he also thinks fans are within their rights to have a pop at Ashley.

There is the old cliche that they pay their money so they can say what they want. And I believe that.

It is up to them if they chant this or that about the board. They support us so you can’t say they’re fickle. A crowd of 44,000 against Doncaster was incredible, the highest attendance in the country. That tells you how passionate they are.”

He’s had a cracking season so far in my opinion.

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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121 Responses

  1. smith has gone up in my estimations with that interview.
    It just shows what a shambles ashley had created and it was only down to pure luck that the players saved his bacon.

  2. Well well well “Last year there was a big divide between players, fans and football club. This season you can see togetherness”

    Wasn’t that what I was saying all along?

    Think I will just sit here all day with a nice smug grin…..and relax…..ahhhhhhhh

  3. UTD111 says:
    November 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm
    Well its just…cough…y’know how close Batty and the dodgy one are????
    <<<< fckin hell some jealous tw@ts on here with empty heads

  4. Batty – well done for getting through last night – thought you were gonnas – bet Hitman is thrilled – though he is up against his Joe – so family loyalties will be split lol.

  5. Verson – badly typed “version” – hope that worked for you Excelsior – maybe we should fill the blog up with corrections to appease you?

  6. and stuart79 cant beleive some of your posts lateley any 1 would think u want fat ash to stay

  7. nora- you are a creep. Anyone who supports stardust is a creep. I know hes bullied you in the early stages and you ve had to join ranks. But you look daft as a couple. You are 6ft 5in and he is 5ft 6in. Mind you could be the next big ventriloquist act. Woo hoooo hoo hoo. Stardy as orville and what was your name nora? Bloke wi the tache.

  8. batty says:
    November 2, 2009 at 9:19 am
    UTD111 says:
    November 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm
    Well its just…cough…y’know how close Batty and the dodgy one are????
    <<<< fckin hell some jealous tw@ts on here with empty heads


    Mornin Batty LOL

  9. Stardust says:
    November 2, 2009 at 9:19 am
    Well well well “Last year there was a big divide between players, fans and football club. This season you can see togetherness”

    Wasn’t that what I was saying all along?


    In a word? NO

    Last year as I recall, you were telling anyone who would listen that Ashley was the best thing since sliced bread and calling Sir Kevin Keegan a “coward” (not a cowardly act when hiding behind a computer eh?)

    This year, you’ve spent most of your time slagging off the fans for having the audacity to disagree with the owner and his lying cronies…..not really a “togetherness” line….

  10. stavers never been bullied in my life and if u knew my name you would know that and if u dont know my veiws on ashley king kev sir alan and hughton you realy must be thick i like stardust because hes a good crack so fckin jog on and gis 1 of your funny posts boy

  11. Stardust says:
    November 2, 2009 at 9:19 am

    Think I will just sit here all day with a nice smug grin


    No change there, then….

    You must have a very understanding boss…..

  12. batty says:
    November 2, 2009 at 9:53 am
    UTD111 morning m8 a just needed some 1 talk to lol


    Well looks like you’ll just have to do with me…!

    Do you think the puppet will start with Harewood tonight?

  13. hope not but yeah a think he will because hes a fckin idiot m8 ASHLEY OOT AND TAKE THE KNOB HUGHTON WIT U

  14. I reckon he might as well – he’s been talking Harewood up in his latest quotes and then talking aboot Ranger as a kid who needs to be brought on carefully….

    I reckon Harewood isn’t mobile enough and always needs 1 touch too many in the box……

  15. oi oi radgies!
    Just got back in man nora. Ave been oot aal neet grafting.
    Yi better check your porch nora cos ave chored two clem of lead. Am gannin Straight doon the scrappys before the bizzies turn up like.
    Hoo, am stronger than a thought like! A carried it on me back whilst riding me bmx wi nee hands! Woo hoo hoooo hoo! Ave just noticed ave godda a flatty in me back wheel an aal. . Pure radge that like!pure hard neets graft that like! Reet charva’s, am just ganna pop two speed bombs and leg it doon the scrappys. The bizzies will never catch is, once ave dropped these like. Pure doylems those bizzies like. Hoo man, a oot ran one of their volvo T5s the other day like. Woo hoo hoooo hoo. A kna am the most wanted charva in benwell man. Pure liberty takers the lot o them! Anyways, am off noo!
    Laters! Oi oi.

  16. Seem like that was a conversation killer…..

    Good sentiments from Smudge. Could never help liking the lad and despite my doubts, he’s turned out alright so far this season!!

  17. bowburnmag says:
    November 2, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    “Good sentiments from Smudge.”

    Well he’s telling me that Alex Ferguson knew he was knacked and sold him to us for over six million, that he (and almost certainly his agent) knew he was knacked and negotiated a long contract with us for almost £60,000 per week, and that some highly questionable transfer dealings went on at the club before Fat Freddy and Fat Sam departed.

  18. A bit of honesty from someone one at the club makes a plesant change. Have always liked Smith because you know your going to get 100 percent from him.
    Sorry have know idea what all that is about 2up from me. Some one using there feet to type random words?

  19. worky – I hear what you’re saying because £60k is an awful lot of money for little or no return when we were in the Premiership and too hard to justify now we’re in the Championship. But he does say he coulnd’t play at ‘Champions League level, week in week out’. And there was never much danger of that at the Toon :)

    Also, Allardyce bought him but it was Ashley who sanctioned those summer purchases, wasn’t it?

  20. Norn Iron Mag – I was gonna say……8O

    troy is talking what’s known in my circles as the ‘language of the packets’. It’s the Jekyll to his Hyde, as far as I can see.

  21. bowburn – your right it was fat mike who bought smith not fat fred – of course it was on fat sam’s recommendation.

  22. batty – all i’m prepared to say is the googly eyed monster will be doing some porridge in the not to distant future.

  23. Always like Smith, even when others were giving him stick. I know, it’s easy to say that now, but it’s the truth and I don’t care if you don’t buy it.

    In other news, I see the two blog wind up miscreants were at their finest or should that be worst over the weekend.

  24. UTD111 – I read that the other day. It’ll upset some people but there are some cold, hard truths in there.

  25. UTD111 – been on a couple of forums already. Well received by all accounts as well, although the contention was still there from some readers, over whether some sort of action was futile or counter-productive.

    Either way, heart-felt and a cracking good read as you say.

  26. bowburnmag says:
    November 2, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    “Also, Allardyce bought him but it was Ashley who sanctioned those summer purchases, wasn’t it?”

    They were all signed at the same time Ashley was gaining control of the club in stages, in May, June, July and August. They were already ongoing during the Shepherd era, though Ashley was stupid to sign off on them.

    When Viduka, Barton, Rozenhal and Geremi were signed, Shepherd was still chairman and hadn’t yet sold his shares to Ashley, or formally advised other remaining shareholders to sell too.

  27. EEESH!
    i got down to the ‘lonsdale’, lilliwhites bit.
    Sad to think anyone thought that stuff was cool, LOL.
    the jam, uh oh! SMC(suck my cockles)
    Casual shite.
    It informs me perfectly where that square is at.

    I was all geared up for a good read there n’all.
    Yet more ‘anti-cockney’ ramblings, least that’s how it comes across. I’m sure there’s a point in there somewhere, i’ll try & read it again later.

  28. I’m not the greatest fan of Mike Ashley, but to be honest I think there is a lot of fuss about the sponsorship of the stadium. If it brings in an extra £3m and IF that £3m goes toward buying a player who makes the difference between going up or staying in the Championship, then it would be money well earned and spent. The big IF is whether the money will go towards strengthening the squad though – you’ve got to be optimistic!!!

  29. CLiNT FLiCK – it’s mainly written with ’emotions’ again. Not your chosen style by your own admission ;)

    Some of it is clearly just ranting, some of it may be slightly wide of the mark, but I think it still reads well, a lot of it is relevant and I can relate to a quite a bit of it.

  30. £3m isn’t going to make a big difference to our squad. It will buy one good Championship player, if that. You look at someone like Kightly from Wolves, he is going to cost way more than £3m.
    We have to start looking to lower divisions to find those gems that no one has discovered yet. McCarthy did it well with Wolves and also with Sunderland, except with Sunderland he didn’t back up the youth with experience and it cost them.
    £3m Would probably get us Beckford from leeds and the change would pay his wages.

  31. batty says:
    November 2, 2009 at 9:35 am
    and stuart79 cant beleive some of your posts lateley any 1 would think u want fat ash to stay

    …And what Batty is it we have today? Stardust’s live in lover or his foe?

    I want Ashley out as much as the next but what can we do now?

    I will judge him again in Febuary after the transfer window. We shall see how committed he is to us getting promotion then.

    Although I still maintain there is no way we will ever be united and successful with him as owner.

    He obviously hasn’t learnt a thing and that’s a shame.

  32. I’ve just taken a couple of minutes to read that TF article and it doesn’t really say anything new. The author does seem to be hacked off with his fellow supporters though, could this be stardust writing under another name?
    To me it just come across as someone with a massive chip on their shoulder who was berating fans for doing exactly what he was doing. Moaning about NUFC on the internet!
    Has anyone actually written to the guys at TF asking them to do everything he states? I thought not. I like to vent as much as the next person, but it needs to be done constructively so you don’t alienate a section of your target audience.
    Am I reading too much into this?

  33. Forgot to say, I’ve actually been energised by the TF gadgie and I’m going to stand in my back garden, 300 miles from SJP, all night, shouting FCB get oooott of meeee cluuuubbb and not watch the game on Sky on purpose.
    If the coppers come around I’ll just tell them I know where Troy Stavers is hanging out, bigger fish and all that.

  34. MT – yes.
    I dunno? Ah feck it, now you’ve got me doubting it.

    I just like it because it was a rant and there’s something cathartic about it, which I warmed to. Yes, it all seems futile to say or do anything. No, that’s not a good excuse to do nothing if you care enough to otherwise. And anyone really not happy should either put up or shut up. Smack bang right on my hooter, that was.

    I also got the impression, they’ll follow up their talk with a walk. I might just join them.

  35. bowburnmag says:
    November 2, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Do you think that will have any effect on him?

    He has proved he isn’t bothered about anything at all. Football fans should be aware that this is what can happen when you get an owner who has lost interest.

    For me, the only way he would think twice is if the crowds started dwindling. He has budgetted this season 25k.

    He’s sitting pretty and he knows we know it.

  36. Basically, do something rather than nothing. Because for me, it is just as likely to end in tears as it is joy and I really, really want him gone now.

    I think he could be persuaded to take a lower offer but a plan needs to be formulated. Where there is a will, there is a way etc etc

  37. bowburnmag says:
    November 2, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    “I just like it because it was a rant and there’s something cathartic about it, which I warmed to.”

    Alot of Germans said the same thing about Hitler’s speeches, Bowburn. :-)

  38. workyticket says:
    November 2, 2009 at 3:46 pm
    bowburnmag says:
    November 2, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    “I just like it because it was a rant and there’s something cathartic about it, which I warmed to.”

    Alot of Germans said the same thing about Hitler’s speeches, Bowburn.

    I bet they didn’t actually say that.

  39. bowburnmag says:
    November 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    Well apparently NUST are on the verge of getting serious backers aren’t they?

    Although I doubt very much he would sell to them.

    Also I’m bot too sure how well it would work. I think you need serious investment to succeed in football these days.

  40. UTD111 – totally missed that!!

    Stu – yeah, I agree. It sounds naive and daft to some, for me to say something needs to be done witout proferring solutions, I understand that.

    But I’d be willing to oppose the current board rather than wait in vain for them to do somthing right by us for a change.

  41. For some reason, I wasn’t seeing worky’s post and thought Stu was suggesting I was a Nazi!!!

    As to the actual culprit, ‘by name, by nature’…..8O

  42. bowburn, soz man, y’right. i’m no sentimentalist like.
    & i think what’s missed on the lad writing the piece is that probably loads of people aren’t as pissed as him about it all, whether they should or shouldn’t be is subjective, again, something that may be lost on him. After all, on ed’s blog mass amounts didn’t want kk winning cash off of the Toon/ashley (whomever?).
    So. it could just be that most people, while not happy with the status quo, aren’t prepared to hoy the bairn oot wi’the bath watter like, marra.

    Micky Toon-Hilarious mate :)

  43. Although i do agree with his diatribe at/about FFS & the halls, think he shoulda started there like, that seemed like the appropriate place to begin to me.

  44. CLiNT FLiCK – I wouldn’t care, but really I’m as laidback as David Ginola smurking a tab.

    And conversely I see the humour in MT’s posts while still agreeing with the TF article.

    That’s mainly because MT is a funny barsteward though.

  45. Marches/walks are out of date, passe, old-fashioned, old thinking, old money, not as good as they’re cracked up to be.

  46. bowburn, i know you are mate. & believe me, i feel your pain man. It comes across.
    We are at a crossroads, no doubt.
    & it’s plain to me that people don’t know how to get their point across & make their , collective, mark.
    Me neither.
    But, i do know that all the tub-thumping is just that, mostly.
    Not saying there aren’t good points being made, there are, but, don’t see the point of being radgie about it.
    Considered action would serve better.

  47. CLiNT FLiCK – definitely mate, and I think all joking aside, that’s what I’d hope for. Not pitchforks and spittle. Just some way to open up a dialogue with Ashley, so that he gets to see level-headed, intelligent and sensible fans, but fans who nonetheless, are angry with him and will say ‘look fella, you’re taking the p*ss now and it has to stop, it’s not funny anymore’. And then make him see that he has to improve his ways or he needs to get out of dodge (and I’m not talking about when it suits him) because we’re not prepared to put up with it anymore. It could still turn nasty (relatively of course) and achieve nothing, but it would be something to say we tried.

    Maybe I’m asking too much?

  48. I wonder how that lad dealt with the jam’s metamorphosis into the style council-that’s probably what that big bang was back in the 80’s then? :)

  49. Ah, he would have been angry with all that New-Romantic stuff, judging by his article.

    Can’t say I’d blame him. 8O

  50. I thought that was what nust was supposed to be up to?
    We all knew, as it was well documented, that ashley was a recluse(kind of). So, who knows what the answer is?
    But again, some have worked themselves up into a massive stupor about this from back when. A lot of it based on speculative conjecture, hearsay etc.
    It’s gotten so far from the truth that i don’t think anyone knows what that means now & that’s a very dangerous place.
    Worky’s germany(hitler) post isn’t too far from the fact of it. People will start to believe anything, when they lose hope & can’t see an easy way out.

  51. We sometimes, most times, forget that it is ‘just’ football, afterall. & sadly, a ‘business’ too.
    We want it to be ours.

    when all’s said & done, football has ALWAYS been a ‘little’ boys club run by tyrants creaming hard-earned off of the working class. Although it’s got a lot more middle-class angle in recent decades.
    Progress sucks, but shit progresses anyway.

  52. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    November 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I blame the new romantics for all the 80’s football violence, personally.

    Spandau ballet have reformed lets take to the streets once more, LOL

  53. “heart of gold & balls of steel”

    Maybe they all have and that’s why some of them can’t get around the football pitch anymore!!

  54. Dam you man thats what i was doing i could only remember gold. Thank god im to young to remember that sh1te.

  55. Cheap and nasty….fits with the regime…..:)

    Cue anger, venom and general hate-filled thoughts…..

  56. On reflection of this whole naming rights debacle, I just cannot see him gettng anywhere near enough money for it to be worthwhile.

    Which self respecting company will put their name to it with all the anger there is about it?

    I’ve said before it doesn’t really bother me, but Ashley’s incompetance does.

    How did this man make his money? Surely someone as successful as him can see there wouldn’t be many takers for this…

    I’d love to meet his football advisors.

  57. bowburnmag says:
    November 2, 2009 at 5:40 pm
    “I’d love to meet his football advisors.”

    Stu – Keep an eye out for them around St James’…………


  58. If you look really closely, Bungle is holding a copy of the ‘Arsenal Model’ business plan. Apparently, they spilled their coffee on it though, so reverted to their contingency.

    However, they scrapped that when they couldn’t make sense of the objectives – ” Hello everyone, today we are talking about playing”.

  59. BBM,

    My you have become such a cynic of the regime.

    When did this change happen?

    I can’t remember you being so vocal in your condemnation in the past.

    I understand though – They will grind everyone down eventually.

  60. You know, if I could make it to home games I probably would join in a march to the Lonsdale arena, but only if it wasn’t raining.:-)

  61. Stuart79 @ 85 I agree BBM seema like a different person over the last couple of days. Will the real BBM please stand up ;)

  62. Big Dave says:
    November 2, 2009 at 6:28 pm
    Stuart79 @ 85 I agree BBM seema like a different person over the last couple of days. Will the real BBM please stand up

    I like the new BBM. Keeps me company on this side of the fence.

  63. Bowburn, you’re gannin’ radgepacket man! Next, you’ll be shoplifting Kappa tracksuits, putting cheese on top of your chips and taking a spraycan to your bedlinen.

  64. Don’t know why ashley changed a habit of a lifetime & told us his plan regarding renaming the stadium?
    He shoulda just done it without saying owt, then no problem getting sponsors, deal with the fall-out later, in the time honoured fashion. Money in the bank.

  65. hitman says:
    November 2, 2009 at 6:58 pm
    batty,batts for both teams.

    And Stardust bowls balls to him!

  66. team for game
    Harper; Simpson, Coloccini, Kadar, Enrique; R Taylor, Nolan, Butt, Smith, Gutierrez; Carroll. Subs: Krul Guthrie, Harewood, Geremi, Ranger, Tozer, Donaldson.

  67. CLiNT FLiCK says:
    November 2, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Would have had Guthrie for Butt and Ranger for Taylor

  68. Guthrie isn’t as defensively minded as Butt from a midfield position. & we’re playing away, so a ‘tougher’ midfield, with Carroll up top & Nolan ‘in the hole’, yea?

  69. Definitely need Taylor playing, great crosser & dead-ball specialist.
    Ranger can be used later in the game.

  70. im old enough to have seen the fall of the club in the late 70s . Its a mirror image of today. Lord westwood was the mike ashley. Richard dinnis was made full time manager from caretakes. Sound familiar. Crowds over the following few years plummeted faster than stardusts underpants when batty makes an appearance. Or is it the otherway round, or both together.
    Crowds of less than 10k turned up and they had lost all power to demonstrate.
    My view is, we still have the numbers, use the voice of numbers before its too late.
    You believe it wont happen. Believe me its happening before my very eyes. Yous were the ones who believed we wouldnt get relegated whilst i said we would.
    So stop being doormats, battered wives, and stand up and take the fight to the fat bastard before its too late. We need to sicken him until thinks its not worth the hassle.

  71. We haven’t played well since Ranger has been left out.

    I totally disagree with playing one up front. Especially against a team who hasn’t won in 6 and ave lost the last three games.

  72. I was thinking it’s more a 4411 like, moving between 451 & 442.
    Hey, i’d play Ranger before Carroll meself, but, Ranger ain’t scored yet & Carroll has. So i guess that’s the thinking?

  73. Flick,

    4411, 451 and 442!!!!????

    Their not mathmaticians! That’ll confuse the hell out of em!

  74. we need to go 442 in the next half,get butt off and put ranger or harewood on,we have no width.

  75. I guess you can ‘make’ a pass, that’s kinda like stringing, isn’t it?
    Oh bollox, i’ll let you off this time, off you go, just don’t do it again, ok?

  76. hitman says:
    November 2, 2009 at 9:33 pm
    CH,tatics are piss poor.

    Surely even KK wouldn’t have gone three up front with five minutes to go – When we were winning!

  77. very lucky the neet like.CH dosnt fill me with confidence well not like stardust fills batty.:lol:

  78. few things about the match:
    at the start of the season a handful of fans were advocating starting with Krul over Harper, i ask this, why? What has Krul done to justify being played ahead of Harper? The answer is nothing, the guy is the epitome of consistency and when people say we should play an un-tested young lad over him just shows how forgetful (fickle?) some of our fans can be!
    Secondly, Plato would be proud of his work on virtues when it comes to Enrique. He was excellent tonight and has been all season when, again, a handful of our ‘fans’ were saying he is a liability only a few months back. Now he looks settled and playing more assured than ever, all it has took was a little time and patience.
    lastly, credit where credit is due, Collocini was excellent tonight after being out for a handful of games and difference he made tonight compared to the last few games was glaring!

  79. Yet another three points when we have been poor.

    Delightd with the win, just don’t know how long we can go on playing so poorly.

    Should be expected to beat Peterborough on Sat and possible cement our top spot.