Monday, January 30, 2012

Smith off

Farewell then to Alan Smith, who has joined probably the most hated club in the country, MK Dons, on loan for the remainder of the season (including the play-offs should they qualify for them). With his contract set to expire in the summer, and absolutely no chance that we would consider offering him a new deal, the move provides Smith with a chance to put himself back in the shop window.

Having enjoyed his most successful season at the club when we were surging to promotion from the Championship two years ago, I suspect that Smith's star will shine brightly in a central midfield role in League One, and he should do enough to ensure he's playing Championship football next year (whether for MK Dons or someone else).

Undoubtedly talented as a youthful striker at Leeds, his star waned following a serious leg-break during his time at Old Trafford. From there on, he dropped into midfield as a Roy Keane-lite enforcer, sadly unable to tackle or pass with sufficient ability to dominate Premiership midfields. The fact that Fat Sam signed him as a replacement for the Little Waster was staggering for a number of reasons, not least the obvious disparity in their footballing roles (albeit both filled the injured/overpaid role with aplomb during their years on Tyneside). However, as one of the gang of players responsible for rallying the troops after the pre-season collapse against Luton, and a stalwart of the dressing-room unit which galvanised the club and led us back into the Premiership, Smith, in my eyes at least, did a lot to redeem himself.

Ultimately though, he isn't good enough to play central midfield in the top flight - however, for MK Dons he should do very well and I suspect he'll go a long way to ensure Karl Robinson's side are still in the promotion hunt in May.

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