Anfield ’89. Copenhagen ’94. Two of Arsenal’s greatest triumphs in the modern era. Both matches defined by the goal-scoring prowess of one man – Alan ‘Smudger’ Smith.
Smith’s rise in football was vertiginous: playing for Alvechurch in the Southern League one year, competing in the top flight twelve months later. His first three years at Leicester were characterized by a successful partnership with Gary Lineker. When Lineker left for Everton, Smith stepped forward as the main goal-getter. It was Smith’s move to Highbury, however, that enabled him to become the winner of two Golden Boots and one of the most highly-rated strikers in the game.
Honest, insightful and authoritative, Heads Up reveals what it was like forging a career in the tough First Division of old before the glitz of the Premier League took hold; the ins and outs of playing for George Graham and rooming with Gazza; the truth behind Anfield ’89; which team could easily have gone on to become the first ‘Invincibles’ had Chelsea not spoiled it one February afternoon; how the highs of the game can quickly be converted into morale-sapping lows; and how injury really does affect a career.
After twenty years of writing for the Daily Telegraph, covering four World Cups, four European Championships and countless club games, Alan Smith has done what few ex-professionals are able to do – describe in his own words what it’s really like to play the game . . .