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  1. So who is Alan Smith? Alan Smith was recently announced as our star guest at our 20th anniversary celebrations and I have been asked to contribute an accolade for our programme of the event. This is a shortened version to enable many of you to appreciate who he was and why he is such a big figure for ASCB to capture for this crucial event. Without Alan's goal at Liverpool we would not have won the league He was involved in many years of success and made possible the dethroning of the Monsters Liverpool as Kings of English football. Nowadays it is hard for most of the younger fans to appreciate what Liverpool were, from the mid-1970s to the end of the 1980’s, but they were like the modern Manchester City plus Premium. They won everything, including in Europe, and had global superstars in every position until George Graham’s Arsenal, with Alan Smith as the spearhead and main goalscorer, came to knock them off their perch in 1989 and 1991. Arsenal dethroned Liverpool not Alex Ferguson Arsenal had already done that before Alex Ferguson came along to claim the same when he started to dominate the Premier League. Sorry Alex, that feat was the Arsenal’s and our striker was Alan Smith. He won 8 major trophies with the Arsenal. Let’s hope some of our current players can say the same. And without his goal against Parma we would not have won the European Cup Winners Cup He is 27th on the fans list of greatest Arsenal players but let’s look at his achievements which maybe should have put him higher. He won the Golden Boot twice, both times when George Graham’s team won the league. I argue that those achievements would not be in our history without him. He also scored the first goal in the famous clinching match at Anfield without which Michael Thomas’s goal would have been superfluous. He was also Arsenal’s Player of the Season that year, voted by the fans, so he was well appreciated at the time. Without Alan Smith our trophies would be less He scored the only goal when we won our second European trophy, the European Cup-Winners Cup in 1994, so we owe him that as well. Two titles and a European trophy that may not have been achieved without Alan Smith being our player. We owe him a lot. Excelsior, Alan. The commentator and the footballer with Leicester and Arsenal I saw him playing live a few times, most notably when we played Portsmouth in 1987 and we won 6-0, with Alan notching up his first goals for Arsenal with a hat trick. I was also there for the infamous war at Old Trafford in 1991 when virtually all players got involved in lots of pushing and histrionics. We won 1-0 though and were docked two points. It didn’t stop us winning the league. His book is the most authentic I have read so far A heartbreaking injury took him at his peak Regrettably, his career was abruptly ended at the age of 32 due to a knee complication that failed to heal. This was his first significant injury, and it had a profound impact on him, especially the abrupt separation from the players, the staff, and everyone at Highbury. Suddenly, he was no longer a part of the team; the very thing that had been central to his life vanished, and he had no backup plan. Fortunately, he had a friend in Geoff Shreeves who offered him an opportunity to join the Sky project, which had invented football a couple of years before A commentator, writer and critic par excellence He never looked back after that as he found his new niche, being an integral part of football but no longer a part of what he knew as football, inside the dressingroom. The Daily Telegraph newspaper signed him up as a regular contributor as well. One thing I have noticed from living in Bulgaria is that many fans prefer to watch with English commentary. And of course the computer football games use English commentators, prominent among them Alan Smith. It gives these games authenticity. Alan and Martin Tyler enjoying life commentating for FIFA 12 A major contributor to the multi-layered modern world of football Truth be told, Alan Smith carved out a longer second career than he did his first. He joined quite a long list of Arsenal stars to have their careers curtailed early. His at just 32 years old. He refers to it several times in different sections of his book “Heads Up” and it hit him hard. He had had a career almost injury free and the first real injury knocked him out of football. Sky had only just invented football a couple of years before so the big money had yet to appear. His wife Penny, and his two girls, had an unemployed husband and dad. Geoff Shreeves offer came at just the right time. Alan explaining the complexities of football to Geoff Shreeves Alan Smith is a genuine superstar at the Arsenal, a dapper, very young looking man who has played a huge role in making Arsenal what it is today, but also, through his enduring work as commentator, writer and analyst, a major contributor to the modern day world of football, with its inexhaustible array of perspectives, pundits, technology, and angles which leads to endless debate about areas he or I would never have dreamed possible when we were kids growing up in the '60's. All hail Alan Smith and thanks for everything. Update to the Table of Doom Table of Doom Fixtures Current points Max Arsenal 83 89 Man City Spurs (a) 82 91 And so Man City have only one of the old top five left to play when I started the Table Of Doom this year in the hapless Spuds. I feel that Spurs have lost their shape and I cannot see them doing us any favours. West Ham have just lost their manager so we only have Fulham, playing for nothing, although Marco Silva may feel a win over City will put him in contention for one of the bigger jobs out there. That is the thread we are hanging onto now. Marco Silva is our only chance left? Yikes! If we beat Man United and Everton we will have 89 points which would have given us the title most seasons since Sky invented football. Those of you who have followed the Table of Doom from the start will know that I posited 86 points as the minimum needed this time. That I got right as I am now certain that less will not get the title. It also probably won’t get the title. I hope at the least though that we beat Man Utd to make for a nervy last day for City. If Arteta manages the two wins he will have got 25 from our last ten matches with the Villa loss and the City draw, a big improvement from his previous efforts. Lose them and he will have 19, one worse than his best in 2021. So the jury is still out on whether Arteta can have the strong finish required to win the league. I believe we can win them and set ourselves up for an exciting finish. And I believe that Arteta will set us up to being Arsenal again. C’mon the Arse!
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