For the 5 years that Alan Smith played for Newcastle United, I was bombarded with constant abuse of how bad he was as an overall player, with the abuse coming from fellow Toon fans as well as others. Well, I am aware that Smithy no longer plays for the mighty Newcastle, but I want to set the record straight.

When we signed him for about £6m, many of us were filled with hope and optimism that he would put in a string of top class performances that led Manchester United to cough up around £7m for him a mere 3 years beforehand. Even though he has never been a prolific goalscorer, his manner of play was bound to make him a favourite amongst the Geordie faithful. After scoring on his debut against Sampdoria, many thought it would be the start of something good but as much of a fan of his that I am, even I have to admit he wasn’t the goal scoring machine I hoped he would be.

But, my point in him being underrated shouldn’t be laughed at as much as what some have done in the past when I have preached this message. The role in which Cheick Tiote plays now used to be played by Smithy during the dark days of our relegation season, as well as being one of our better performers during the Championship Season. Chrissy Hughton even gave him the vice-captaincy (for which he was captain for most of the season due to Nicky Butt being injured or just a generally poor player).

With Tiote being a firm fan favourite, it makes me wonder why poor Smithy got so much abuse from so many fans who would rather slag off the ex-striker for not scoring than see his real value to the team. Now I only mention Tiote because he is an Ivorian version of Smith, just without the injury record. After being a striker at Leeds, then that horrible man, Alex Ferguson, turning him into a centre midfielder, he was never going to get as many chances to score as before. So when we signed him, he was never going to be set St. James’ Park on fire with his goal scoring talents, but rather his play-disrupting manner in which he was fast being known for.

Now, I may be being i slightly biased here because I have always admired the man even when he was at Leeds, but I do not believe his abusers were justified in their opinions. With Kevin Nolan, Joey Barton and Jonas Gutierrez persuing the attacking displays in midfield, someone had to sit back. This is where Smith came into play. Sitting in front of the defence, he was more of an important player than most would see. He would break up the opposition’s attack and distribute the ball in a way that made England managers want to pick him. There is no way we would have conceded as little amount of goals in the Championship as we did as would have struggles more without his leadership in the team.

Yes it could be said that he is a Championship player, hence why he was ousted out by Cheick, but his value to the team was not seen by the many and that is why I believe he was an underrated member of the squad.

Good day. Jamie

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  1. Guy Maxwell

    Alan Smith was an horrendous signing; £6m plus £60k a week for 5 years. He didnt score a single compeitive gial, he didnt get an assist, he couldnt pass or tackle, he was in short awful.

    He is apparently a lovely bloke and his certainly worked hard, but you cant spin him a positive

    As with most things to do with Sam Allardyce, he was rank!

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