Kissed the badge and made them cry – Smith’s cross-Pennine betrayal

Alan Smith is a boyhood Leeds United fan and started his career with his local club. He scored against Liverpool on his debut as an 18-year-old and spent six seasons in their first team. When Leeds were relegated at the end of the 2003-2004 season, a tearful Smith was the last to leave the pitch, commiserating with the singing Leeds fans.

Leeds needed the money so he would be sold but where would he go? In an earlier interview he claimed there was only one club he would never play for: Manchester United…

Eighteen days after Leeds were relegated, Smith signed for Manchester United.

“There is a cross-Pennine divide between the clubs and the fans but from a personal point of view, Manchester United was the club I wanted to come to,” he said. “A couple of clubs abroad were interested but I wasn’t ready for that sort of move. Liverpool, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Glasgow Rangers as well, but they were irrelevant to me. I wanted to come here.”

A few months in to his Manchester United he spoke of his delight at signing for the club.

“I have signed for Manchester United for the next five years and hopefully I will be here longer than that,” he said. “I’m loving every minute of my time here.”

Smith spent three seasons at Man United, winning the Premier League and Carling Cup, before being sold to Newcastle. He kissed their badge too.

After four and half years in the North East, scoring no goals, Smith joined League One side MK Dons on loan.

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