Football: FRIVOLOUS FOOTBALL: Smith Passes Up the Opportunity to Even the Score; A Lighter View of the Game by Martyn Ziegler

The Birmingham Post (England), November 8, 2003 | Go to article overview

Football: FRIVOLOUS FOOTBALL: Smith Passes Up the Opportunity to Even the Score; A Lighter View of the Game by Martyn Ziegler


Byline: Martyn Ziegler

'And Smith must score...' Those words uttered by BBC radio's Peter Jones in the dying seconds of the 1983 FA Cup final are perhaps the most famous piece of commentary ever to accompany a miss.

Gary Stevens had just made it 2-2 for Brighton with three minutes to go and in the final seconds, Gordon Smith had a glorious chance only for Gary Bailey to save with his legs and earn a replay which Manchester United won.

Smith has spent the last 20 years cursing his place among football's immortals but he had an opportunity to put matters right this week.

Now an agent and BBC pundit, Smith was playing for the Scottish press against the English press before the Champions League clash between United and Rangers.

Given that Manchester United was the venue, or to be strictly accurate their training ground, and that the opposition was England, then perhaps Smith might have seen it as a chance to bury those memories.

Sure enough, a chance arose in the second half, the small crowd held their breath as the English defence parted and Smith strode forward . . . only to plant his shot wide of the post.

Smith wasn't the only old ex-pro in the Scotland line-up. Ally McCoist scored twice in the 4-1 victory, the second an absolute screamer from 25 yards despite the close attentions of a fatigued centre-back, and Dundee manager Jim Duffy was also in the side having qualified through his role as a BBC pundit.

Thomas Jordan of the Glasgow Evening Times managed where Smith had failed by notching the other two for Scotland while pro-less England's only goal came from Glenn Moore, football correspondent of The Independent.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Al-Saadi Gaddafi

Colonel Gaddafi's son managed to fail a dope test without even playing a single match for Italian club Perugia.

Gaddafi is swiftly becoming a legendary figure in football.

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