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LUFC Alan Smith - The Marmite man

LUFC Alan Smith - The Marmite man

Alan Smith is once again being linked with a move back to Leeds United after being told by Newcastle that he is surplus to requirements.

Smith is probably the most talked about player from the David O`Leary squad, who moved on to those from across the Pennines (TFATP) when Leeds hit the financial buffers in 2004.

Despite the move now being seven years ago, the Alan Smith debate often rages across the Leeds United fans sites with the boyhood Leeds fan seeming to have the 'Marmite` effect amongst Leeds fans, they either still love him or hate him.

Since the news broke on Tuesday that Newcastle were ready to offload Smith, the Leeds forums have been in overdrive, as the discussion that seems to pop up every transfer window once again rears its head

There seems to be no in between, there are those fans that can never forgive him for moving to Leeds biggest rivals back in 2004. It has also been rumoured that he once kissed the badge of (TFATP), which further infuriated the fans of Leeds.

I cannot say whether this is true or untrue, as I would rather have my eyes torn out than have to sit and watch 90 minutes of (TFATP).

A number of clubs were chasing Smith in the summer of 2004, but it`s seen as unforgivable by one section of Leeds supporters.

On the other hand, there are those that believe he joined (TFATP) as they were the only club at the time that were willing to stump up the cash in full, rather than stagger the payments back to Elland Road. Again this is another rumour that as never been proved.

Also, if the other ten players on the pitch during Leeds relegation season of 2003/04 had rolled their sleeves up and been prepared to fight as Smith did in every game they wouldn`t have been relegated.

Leeds still had a squad of players that shouldn`t have been struggling in the relegation places, but the fact that they knew they could hide behind the off field problems and the fact they knew they were going to move on and stay in the Premiership at the end of the season, saw most of them not giving 100%.

I think the fans feelings towards Smith were shown when Leeds travelled to Newcastle for a pre season friendly in 2009.

It`s the only occasion that Smith as lined up against Leeds since his departure and he was subjected to boo`s throughout the game.

We can now look at the likelihood of Smith actually coming back to Leeds.

He is still in contract at St James` Park, so Newcastle are going to want a fee for his services, a player that cost them in the region of £6 million in 2007.

The chances of him leaving for a figure less than seven figures, are one reason why it would be doubtful that he would return to Leeds, as they haven`t signed a player for anywhere near that value in the past nine years.

Smith is rumoured to be one of Newcastle`s highest earners, so unless he is prepared to take a huge pay cut, this is another reason why he will not return this summer.
Leeds chairman Ken Bates has had his say, saying that it would depend on the players fitness and wage demands.

The 30 year old has also struggled with injury since his departure from Elland Road.

The striker as started just 138 games in 7 seasons and he made just 10 starts for Newcastle in the Premier League last season.

However, in reality, will Leeds spend over £1 million on a player? - No.
Will they break their salary cap? Something that Leeds have so rigidly stuck by in recent seasons - No.
In the very unlikely event that they were willing to do this, would they gamble it all on a 30 year old, who is despised by a large section of the clubs supporters and as averaged less than 20 starts a season since leaving in 2004 - No.

They only way that Smith will return to Leeds are if he is willing to take a huge pay cut.

Smith has always said he loves the club, some fans will take some winning over but I am sure a few stirring performances and a player in the middle of the park willing to put every thing on the line in a Leeds shirt (how we missed one of those last season) would soon get the fans back onside.

The ball is in your court Alan Smith.

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Date:Wednesday June 8 2011
Time: 3:28PM

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