All summer long we’ve had rumours linking Alan Smith with a return to Leeds United. These rumours have invariably been followed by a divided fanbase arguing about the pros and cons of Alan Smith’s return, arguing about whether he’s even good enough to play for Leeds United these days, and of course, whether his move to Manchester United can ever be forgiven.

Whilst any hope of Smith returning to Elland Road as a Leeds United player seems to have been lost, the Rothwell-born striker-turned-midfielder is likely to appear for Newcastle United tomorrow where he can expect to receive a mixed reaction from Whites fans.

A recent poll here on The Scratching Shed revealed 25% of Leeds United fans planned to greet Smith with hostility, whilst 37% said they’d be supportive of the former Leeds United striker and the rest described themselves as indifferent.

The mixed results are consistent with the divided fanbase we’ve seen all summer long. No two supporters seem to share exactly the same opinion on Alan Smith, and that’s a divide we’ve also seen from the independent Leeds United sites and blogs.

My own personal opinion is that Smith simply isn’t the player he once was. I always felt he was massively over-hyped by Leeds United fans because he was born locally, and in recent years, he’s only gone downhill. Add to that the ridiculous wages he’s on and I think we’d be insane to offer him a contract.

That said, I won’t be aiming any hostility towards Smith tomorrow because I honestly couldn’t care less that he left for Manchester United – I sincerely believe that when he left, he felt it was the best move he could make for a club who were having serious cash flow problems and had to clear the big wages from the books.

I wouldn’t agree that he “saved” Leeds United – two relegations and continued financial troubles thereafter undermine that argument – but at the time, I genuinely believe he thought it would secure the long-term future of our club.

All you have to do to find a totally different opinion however is click over to Clarke One Nil where Adam Willerton remains bitter about Smith’s departure. His view is that, regardless of circumstance, you simply can’t go to Manchester United and then return to Leeds and expect forgiveness.

His views outraged the founder and former editor of the site so much, that he emailed The Scratching Shed with this reply;

“When Clarkeonenil was born it had a DNA, that included standing up to the childish, puerile nonsense so loved of the immature Leeds support. The biggest manifestation of that creed was the anti Smith stuff, all done despite the facts and reality. Today that creation of mine that I handed over in May published an article which not only undermines two years of principled consistency but has polluted for ever that DNA. I will not be reading it again and I suggest anyone else with a modicum of principle doesn’t read it either.”

What Michael shows here is just another example of how Alan Smith divides our fanbase like few people can. It also adds further to my argument for not wanting him back – any player who is capable of polarising opinion quite this much simply can’t be good for the well-being of our club.

Whatever your reaction to Alan Smith is tomorrow when he returns to Elland Road, the chances are that the person sitting next to you will have an entirely different opinion. If nothing else, his return promises to be an interesting one.

  • Horsforth White

    Smith isn't the only one who divides comment, I stopped reading Clarke One Nil for quite a while but recently I've found myself reading it again

  • country white

    I'm with Michael and suggest anyone hostile to Smith reads Lorimer's colum from Friday. 25% of our fanbase are clearly incapable of seeing a wider picture or growing up.

  • Will23

    Really, who cares?

    If you do care, then I suggest you need to adjust your outlook on life…there really is something more important than Alan Smith and who he was employed by to do a job and earn his living.

    • Lowfields71

      If that's the picture of him giving Leeds fans the bird there's three fingers up not too, my only issue is if he's good enough.
      As for hotshots piece on friday don't make me laugh. Contradicts his own version of events at the time where he told all would listen that smith wouldn't go anywhere else. He then goes on to say smith saved the club and we owe him everything, saved us from delegation x2 and administration did he? Lorimer another bates mouthpiece unfortunately and I idolised the man previously

  • Paddy1992

    Yes lorimer is a bates mouthpiece however he was also a mouthpiece ridscum nutty professor and Krasner mouthpiece. His words should be taken with a pinch of salt as with eddie gray they are 2 Leeds legends who just support the club whoever in charge. There words should not be met with anger or devalue their status simply read and then forget what they say cos when the next chairman comes they’ll support him and slate bates. Just the way of the world I’m afraid.

  • 5_quid

    The energy vented at Smith would far better spent cheering on the team that matters. It would be far better to ignore him, show him he means nothing.

  • Paul C

    The Smth debate has rumbled on and on , encouraged surprisingly by Bates and his allies, even on the official site. (Really strange because I thought the club did not discuss potential targets!)

    It seems to have been a convenient distraction whilst the season approached and the lack of any activity likely to improve the squad. I am totally bored reading about Smith….FFS can we move on.

    Perhaps it might be useful discussing things like parliament insisting that Leeds Uniteds recent history becomes the subject of an FA and HMRC investigation. If that goes badly in a couple of years Elland Road could be a B & Q car park and the club a distant memory.

    I wonder if Smith will still be on the agenda as AFC Leeds take up their position in the Blue Square premier North , sharing Bradfords ground?

    • TSS

      I am planning to cover that, just not had the time to read the whole report yet. Probably be Monday before I get around to writing anything with the Newcastle game tomorrow.

      • Paul C

        I didnt want to sound too grumpy but I am staggered that this issue seems to have gone under the radar., not just here but gernerally. From what I have read there is a real threat to the club , I look forward to reading your take on it next week.

        • TSS

          I don't know, the local rags have covered it and The Square Ball did a good piece. I would have expected the national rags to have used it to fuel their Leeds United hate wagon, but we are in the middle of 'silly season' so they'll be busy making shit up.

          The report is also pretty long and largely filled with tedium, so it takes some time for us mortals to filter through it all and find the points of interest. Could use a good PA with a highlighter who works for free if anyone knows one?

  • Peter

    obviously cannot count, who is he anyway? ;)

  • Chareose

    TSS……there have been enough polls showing that by far that most fans dont hold any anger towards Smith if not its the opposite…….so i dont see how it divides opinion. The anti Smith idiots are the minority

    • TSS

      25% is quite a significant amount of fans. Unless of course, you take the Bates view that such "minorities" are simply unnecessary sickpots?

      Either way, the fact remains 25% of the ground will be more than capable of ensuring a hostile reception.

      • Chareose

        and 25% of the population of britain are a waste of space so its probably just a reflection of our society

  • zico

    Personally I believe Hotshot's latest version of the Smith tale rather than the first. He could hardly have come out and admitted the club were in such desperate straits they had to sell to Man U. Far more convenient to suggest Smith insisted on going there and Smith kept his counsel for similar reasons

    • Lowfields71

      That’s probably a very valid point Zico and as a director of the club Lorimer probably has no choice but to toe the party line, it kind of goes against the reason I thought he had been installed in that role but I guess it’s to be expected that Bates will not allow anyone the opportunity to tell it as it is.
      Re Smith going to Manchester it isn’t really that much of an issue, he left the club (had to leave as it went), as far as I'm concerned it didn't matter where he went, in doing though he did display a little bit of loyalty and class in not taking all the monies owed to him which would certainly have helped at the time. My only reservation with him coming back is that although never a world beater he simply isn’t the player he was, it also very likely that he will spend at least half the season out injured and we obviously cannot afford that the way piss stain runs the club

  • COL

    Listen you idiots! Smith or Bates DIDN’T save the club!!! Can’t believe how gullible some people are!! The cash we got for Smith didn’t make any difference because we went into administration a while after. As for Bates, he has admitted under oath in court that he hasn’t put a single penny of his own money into Leeds United. All Bates has done is bleed every penny out of our club for himself. If this is “saving” the club then god help us!!

    • COL

      Ps. Wake up!!! Leeds will NEVER sign Smith or anybody else who is on big wages while Bates is chairman.
      Also, if fans want to abuse or cheer Smith then that’s their choice. I don’t have a problem with it, eitherway.

  • Chareose

    havent seen many people saying Smith did save the club…..lol but he is a good lad never the less

    • Dornoch White

      Smith may not have 'saved the club' but ManU were the only club offering decent money for him at the time so, being prepared to go there and forego his signing-on fee did the club a big favour

  • Ole

    Interesting read, and I am a Manchester United fan (for 35 years etc etc). Smith's career at the top was over when he broke his leg vs Liverpool, and though he didn't set Old Trafford alight, he did ok, not least vs Roma (7-1), when he was brilliant.

    Can understand why some fans are sceptical (can he really contribute over a full season, and will he really be better in a year's time than he is now?), but I think it is very harsh to blame him for going across the Pennines when he did; true he did not save Leeds – but unlike other players happy to see the club sink while they were picking up obscene wages, at least he contributed to lesser wage bill and some transfer income in a hopeless situation. Of course, he also wanted to stay at the top level, which is understandable – and he never tried to suck up to Manchester United fans by kissing the bagde of things like that. Actually, he promised he would never do it; which I think earned him a lot of respect in Manchester.

  • halifax white

    nt a problem for me to see smith grace gods football turf again!! i agree with some and disagree with some comments, whilst everybody is entitled to thier own opinion shouldnt tommorow and every game we have coming up be about getting behind the squad we have now??? forget the past and concentrate on the future!! its going to be a long hard season and tomoz should be a bench mark, lets start getting behind grayson and the team from the off!! then start the hate bates campaign when we near the bottom for not splashing out in the transfer window!! MOT

  • mojoluafc

    Was talking to a steward at the funday today and we were talking about smith, he said there was smith,bakke and harte (?) at ER and he asked for their sigs, he got Bakke`s and Hartes no prob but smith told him to eff off, he was 14 at the time and not a steward, just a fan.

    Dunno what to think of it.

    • sveifors

      I think every fan who wants to shout anything negative tommorrow should take his anger out on Bates, not Smith.

    • Matthew

      Though if true its unacceptable behavior from a player, however he may of been having a bad day and as such he may of not wanted anyone hassling him, yes that language is unacceptable but it may of just been a one off thing.

      • mojoluafc

        I was doing some welding at the TA training ground and the team was there, i was struggling to open the door whilst carrying my welder and Smith ran up and opened the door for me, i said thanks Alan and he said no probs so i reckon he`s ok, like you say,couldve been a bad day, we all have`em.

  • Liam

    The headline for this article should read “The Alan Smith Homecoming Continues to Bore Fans”.

  • I really don't care either way about Smithy ,if he was 100% fit then he would improve our weak , threadbare squad but i don't think he could cope with 40 to 50 games in a season. What i am really concerned about is the lack of investment into the team and i really think we will struggle. I look at our first few fixtures and can't really see us picking up too many points. Papa Smurf will then sack Larry and blame everyone else , when really , he is the one that is too tight to spend any decent money and strengthen the squad. I really think until we are rid of Papa Smurf then we can forget about the prem . I hope i am wrong!!

  • EYLEEDS

    I’ll be booing Smith tomorrow and would any ex Man U player who shows his face at Elland Road. Deep routed rivalry is part and parcel of football and to be fair it doesn’t reflect my opinion of Smith.

    My best mate is a scum fan and I always give him abuse about football so Smith is certainly going to get it.

    For what it’s worth, Smith will always be a legend to me for his attitude when wearing the Leeds shirt but for 90 mins tomorrow he will get booed.

  • Peterv

    For goodness sake, arguably we have a weaker squad that last season, we have been promised signing after signing we don't know whether to blame Ken Beast or Simon Grayson and we vent our fury history

    • Matthew

      I think Grayson is getting some loan players in, he publically said he was interested in Lichaj and some others. No McCartney though, thank the gods, not only was George crap, he peed off the Bates/Grayson with his comments last season about the team being *jaded*. When speaking about our poor run towards the end of the season.

  • Mike

    Id laugh if they annouce his signing after the match

    • daz

      ha yea there would b real controversy then!

  • Captaincrash

    One poll I saw had 157 pro Smith and 15 anti.

    • TSS

      We had one asking only whether they'd welcome him back as a player or not – 83% said they would. Always depends on circumstance, and to some extent, the wording of the question.

  • JMO

    I don't care really whether we do or not………. I will still love Leeds regardless !!…

  • number1inyorkshire

    leeds fans are passionate and are the most devoted to their club ,why else would we put up with what we have ,i am a leeds fan .
    that said we are one of the most blinkered set of fans around .now i don't hold with the saying " smith saved our club by going to manu "he could have stayed ,so could others Robinson for example ,and we could have kept him ,smith left to further his career to the highest bidders and only bidders if i am right .
    And why shouldn't he, we have all moved on in our jobs for that reason ,and if all players played for the team they supported there would be no foreign players in the UK its a job nothing else .
    smith should get the same reception as FRAZER RICHARDSON did and others who have come and gone and played against us .

    its a friendly so let it be that, if it was a cup game then fair enough ,i don't want smithy back to play for us i think we have moved on and i honestly don't think he is that good since his bad injury but show him a liitle respect

  • halfway white

    an over hyped player cos he was born locally reminds me of a certain skipper of are's at the moment

  • dave in cyprus

    For gods sake grow up. I love leeds and want whats best for us. Was smith the key problem for our denise?no. Throw your stones at the rigbt target, is smirh the first player to switch clubs? Its not about loyalty anymore at any club. Wad beckham or ronaldo strachan loyal to man. U? They are lucky, but these days? Being a footballer is just a job.

  • number1inyorkshire

    didn't come anyway job done

  • orangina

    well done to the boo boys with your sign for scum you don’t come back he took it literally I reckon a shame as I am not afraid to stick up for Smithy on here I’d rather have him than that certain Aussiescum! Smithy may never come back now and tbh that’s pretty depressing but when he wore the white shirt he gave his all and I’m not blinkered enough by the Scumchester stuff to forget that. As for the guy who said Smith told him to fk off we all have our off days we’re only human, even though from my experiences of him that’s out of character – sent a Leeds shirt to him recently and he signed it always been a top lad when I’ve seen him.
    MOT guys I must admit I was relieved he didn’t play I could watch the game instead of feeling sick about Smith getting abused.