Question of the Week
Do you support Cleethorpes Town?
Meet David Smith - GTFC Press Officer
By: Tony Hamilton
Ex-Mariners' skipper David Smith is now the Press Officer and Assistant Commercial Manager at Blundell Park. Tony Hamilton asked him about his career in football and his opinion on certain elements of the game.
David Smith - 1997/ 98 - 2001/02 - 121 games - (15) 11 goals
"Little Smudger" will probably be remembered in years to come as a player who played in Town's double Wembley success in 1998. A tidy, small left sided player, Smith was a handy member of the squad who was a regular in his first two seasons at Blundell Park. After that, he fell away from the first team picture and in his last season, made just 4 appearances - one of them for just four minutes!
However, Smith's success should not be underestimated. He played a key role in getting Town promoted and cementing their first division status, playing at left back or left midfield. He arrived with a bang in 1998 with a top corner goal on his debut, and left in similar fashion, with a goal in his last full game against Crystal Palace in Town's 5-2 win in 2002.
Fishy:- When you were young did you always want to be a footballer?
D.S.:-: Yes. I always grew up thinking I would be a footballer and although I came out of school with quite a few 'O' levels, my heart was with football.
Fishy:- What help did you get from your parents?
D.S.:-: Both my parents encouraged me throughout my childhood and my Dad would regularly ferry me down to Bristol from my Gloucester home to play in a higher standard of football.
Fishy:- What club have you played in your career?
D.S.:-: I have played for Grimsby Town, Coventry City, Birmingham City, W.B.A, Swansea City and one game on loan at Bournemouth.
Fishy:- When did you sign for Grimsby Town and who signed you?
D.S.:-: I signed for Grimsby Town in January 1998 and Alan Buckley was the manager at the time.
Fishy:- Who was the best manager you played for and why?
D.S.:-: To be honest Alan Buckley, John Sillett and Terry Cooper were all good managers but if I had to go for one, it would be Ray Harford. His knowledge and training were fantastic and he opened my eyes to new areas of football and how it should be played.
Fishy:- Who was the best player you played with?
D.S.:-: Probably Paul Gascoigne in the England Under 21's.
Fishy:- Who was the best player you played against?
D.S.:-: When I first started at Coventry we played against a very good Liverpool team and John Barnes was the star of the show for them at the time.
Fishy:- How do you think money has played a part in football is that a good thing or bad?
D.S.:-: You can look at it from a player's point of view and the ones at the top will never have to work again as the salaries being paid are unbelievable. Further down though it could be said that a lot of the money has dried up and this is obviously affecting not only players but clubs as well. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Well I do think that some of the wages paid are ridiculous, but market forces dictate this and as a top player you get as much as you can as you only have a short time to earn it. Clubs at the top are O.K. but I feel some of the money should be distributed better to the smaller clubs.
Fishy:- Are you qualified for a job outside football? If so what?
D.S.:-: No, although I did OK at school and passed several 'O' Levels.
Fishy:- Who are your best mates in football and why?
D.S.:-: Graham Rodger and Kevin Gallacher. I've known both of them over 12 years and would trust them with my life.
Fishy:- Do you keep in touch with ex teammates that have moved from Grimsby Town?
D.S.:-: I speak to Wayne Burnett occasionally, Bradley Allen as well but mostly I keep in touch with Kingsley Black.
Fishy:- Would you recommend a player to come to Grimsby Town if so how would you sell the club to him?
D.S.:-: I'd definitely recommend a player to come to the club and I'd mention the team spirit, the fantastic supporters and the friendly people who live in the area as reasons to sign for the Mariners.
Fishy:- When you were at Grimsby Town did you have an agent and do you believe they are good for the game?
D.S.:-: Yes I did, but ultimately agents can promise you the earth, but unless you perform on the pitch you won't be rewarded off it.
Fishy:- What was the highlight of your Grimsby Town career?
D.S.:-: Visiting Wembley twice in the space of a month at the end of the 1997/98 season
Fishy:- Now Grimsby Town have been relegated if you were the manager how would you stop the rot?
D.S.:-: Probably with a lot of hard work, but as I don't really want to be a manager I'm not really sure where I'd start.
Fishy:- What's your gaffer like to work for?
D.S.:-: Tony Richardson is a good man and I'm learning from him all the time. He has done a fantastic job for the commercial department over the years that he has been at the football club.
Fishy:- Was it a wrench to move from Grimsby Town and did you jump at the chance to move back here to work?
D.S.:-: Yes. It was very hard to leave, as my family were very settled here. The children have basically grown up here and were happy at school. Just after we moved back I had a call from the club to come down and have an interview for the job. I jumped at the opportunity and was delighted to be back involved in football.
Fishy:- What is your most precious memento you got during your football career. How did you get it and why?
D.S.:-: Probably my England Under 21 shirts and caps. The shirts given at the games and the caps would arrive later.
Fishy:- Do you read The Fishy? If so what do you think of it?
D.S.:-: Yes I read it now and again and it's quite interesting to see how other people feel about football and the Mariners.
Fishy:- Would you like to become manager of Grimsby Town if so why?
D.S.:-: In a word, no! I think you need to have certain qualities as a manager and I possess none of these, so I feel I'm better suited to the role I'm in now.
Fishy:- Thank you David Smith
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