Matt Smith - Fans memories of a towering striker

He was one half of a potent Leeds United strike force.

Sunday, 3rd October 2021, 11:30 am
Matt Smith celebrates scoring against Derby County at Elland Road on the final day of the Championship season in May 2014. PIC: Varley Picture Agency
Matt Smith celebrates scoring against Derby County at Elland Road on the final day of the Championship season in May 2014. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

Matt Smith's partnership with striker Ross McCormack yielded 42 goals, the highest in the English football at the end of the 2013/14 season.

He made his Leeds United debut as a substitute in the opening game of that campaign against Brighton & Hove Albion at Elland Road, assisting Luke Murphy's 94th-minute winner in a 2-1 win.

And he scored his first goal for the Whites later that same month against Doncaster Rovers in a 3-1 League Cup second round win at the Keepmoat.

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Matt Smith celebrates scoring against Birmingham City at Elland Road in October 2013. He bagged a brace in a 4-0 win. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

Smith followed up with Championship goals against Burnley, Birmingham City, Huddersfield Town, Watford, Doncaster Rovers and Blackburn Rovers.

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He went on to finish, what would prove to be his first and only full Leeds United season, with 13 goals in all competitions and eight assists.

And he will also be remembered for producing another memorable moment during that same campaign but for all the wrong reasons. He was sent off during Leeds United 6-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsbrough just a minute after coming on as a substitute at half-time.

Matt Smith is sent off at Hillsbrough in January 2014. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

In the summer of 2014 he put pen to paper on a new three-year contract at Elland Road but was sold to division rivals Fulham just nine days later amid ownership struggles.

That was not before he famously bagged six goals in a pre-season friendly against amateur minnows FC Gherdeina in northern Italy. The 16-0 victory was United’s biggest ever in a pre-season fixture, eclipsing a 15-0 rout of Swedish club Byske back in 1999.

“I was only there for a season. That’s what catapulted my Championship career. Getting that number of goals in my first season in the Championship is something I’ll never forget," said Smith in an interview with South London Press. "They have got a fierce fanbase.”

Yorkshire Evening Post has been asking the Elland Road faithful to share their memories of a towering centre forward who wore the number 20 shirt.

Matt Smith celebrates scoring against Millwall at Elland Road in March 2014. PIC: Varley Picture Agency

Responses included:

Steve Watts - "Brilliant player. Absolutely brilliant."

Steven Hicken Jr. - "Fond memories of his pinpoint header to cap off both a brace and a 4-0 hammering of Birmingham."

We All Love Leeds - "Underrated player who never really got a chance under any manager."

Brian Gunn - "Getting sent off against Wednesday the day we got tanked 6-0."

Pete Walsh - "Scoring two goals vs Birmingham in our 4-0 win on my 33rd birthday."

Derek Mulligan - "Couldn't score except with his head, I think he couldn't see his feet."

Arron McCourt - "Headed goal against Birmingham."

Woody Leeds - "His goal against Brum with the cross from Mowatt. Inch perfect."

Jon O'Leary - "Shouldn't have sold him when we did. It was madness."

Nathan Jones - "Knock it long to Smith for McCormack to run on to. Goal!"

Craig Teasdale - "Not pretty but effective. Then we sold him and bought Steve Morrison."

Niel Hartley - "This lad was a handful for any defence. They won't beat him in the air."

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