Arsenal’s Century Club – Alan Smith

Nineteen players have achieved the feat of scoring 100 goals for the Club over the past 96 years. The players are sorted by the number of games taken to reach the 100 goal mark. Alan Smith sits at number 14.

A striker, Smith started his career at non-league Alvechurch in north Worcestershire. He then signed professional forms with Leicester City in June 1982. In his first season, he scored 13 goals in a partnership with Gary Lineker, as the Foxes won promotion to the First Division. He spent five seasons at Leicester, scoring 84 goals in 217 appearances. He was transferred to Arsenal in March 1987, but then loaned back to Leicester for the rest of the season.

Leicester City players celebrating during their promotion push to the 1st Division

His first league goal for the club came on 29 August 1987, when he netted a hat-trick in a 6–0 game versus Portsmouth at Highbury. Smith scored the first goal in Arsenal’s 2-0 victory at Anfield in May 1989 which saw them lift that season’s league championship. With Arsenal he then won another league title in 1991 as well as a League and FA Cup Double two years later. He also struck the sole goal in Arsenal’s 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup Final victory against Parma. Smith was Arsenal’s top scorer for four consecutive seasons, and the First Division top scorer of the 1988–89 season with 23 goals. He also went on to win another Golden Boot in 1991.

He received just one yellow card throughout his entire career.

Whilst at and away from Highbury, Smith scored a sum of 115 goals for Arsenal. All in all Smith has been ranked at 27th within the club’s listing of the 50 greatest Gunners of all time.

Action Images

Smith is currently a regular co-commentator and sometimes studio pundit for Sky Sports. In 2011, he commentated on the Champions League final alongside Martin Tyler. On 30 June 2011, EA Sports announced that Smith would replace Andy Gray as Martin Tyler’s partner in commentating in FIFA 12. This partnership continued in the subsequent FIFA 13, FIFA 14, FIFA 15, FIFA 16, FIFA 17, FIFA 18, and the most recent installment FIFA 19.

Honours

Arsenal

First Division: 1988–89, 1990–91

FA Cup: 1992–93

League Cup: 1992–93

UEFA Cup Winners Cup: 1993–94

First Division Golden Boot: 1988–89, 1990–91

Alan waited until he was 55 before publishing Heads Up, an honest reflection on his life and career in football and, subsequently, journalism.

Intriguingly for Arsenal fans, this approach leads to a revelation about Smith’s “uncomfortable” relationship with star striker Ian Wright, whose arrival at Highbury coincided with a decline in his fellow-centre-forward’s form.

Credit: Arsenal Football Club.

“My relationship with Ian Wright that was something that I’ve never really spoken to Ian about, but to get it down the page it was quite cathartic,” he says.

“I certainly wasn’t enjoying the football at the time. Wrighty came in, and he did more than anybody thought he would do, he became the club’s top goal scorer and he’s rightfully a legend. In life sometimes things don’t happen like you’d thought they would. I thought we’d make a great partnership, and we didn’t really.

“I have had a chat with Ian [about the book] and he appreciated it. He didn’t say too much. He was very good about it.”

Smith’s book includes reflections on Arsenal’s 1990-91 title win, in which he finished the division’s top scorer with 22 goals. Despite losing only one game fewer, that Gunners team has enjoyed nothing like the reverence afforded Arsene Wenger’s unbeaten class of 2003-04.

He scored his 100th goal for Arsenal against Coventry City at Highbury on July 11th 1992.

GunnerN5

p.s. (from chas) Alan Smith is another ex-player who has tarnished his reputation with his anti-Arsenal commentating style. He’d probably say he was being even-handed but few Gooners choose to have the sound up when he’s co-commentating on an Arsenal match.

It’s almost as if Sky punish Arsenal fans by having him on. At least if it’s Owen Hargreaves or Robbie Savage, you expect them to be full of BS and against the Club!

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48 Responses to Arsenal’s Century Club – Alan Smith

  1. chas says:

    Thanks very much, GN5.

    I never really warmed to Alan Smith even when he was playing for us.

    John Radford is a born and bred Yorkshire lad as is obvious immediately he opens his mouth, but with Big Raddy, you always got the sense that he was a Arsenal man to the core.

    Alan Smith, on the other hand, with that annoying Brummie whine, never appears to me to be really Arsenal. There’s no denying how good he was for us, though, especially in those two title winning sides.
    Big up to his playing career.

  2. Sue says:

    I really like these articles, GN5 👍
    I did like Smith, but didn’t love him (the way I did/do Wright ❤) I love the clips of ‘Smith & Lineker on Soccer AM though – hilarious!
    I agree about his commentating – it’s hard work listening to him, at times!

    Have to say well done to Ajax again! Liverpool tonight – will Suarez come back to haunt them? And more importantly, will he bite any of them? Jeez, imagine the conversation between him, Klopp & Firmino about their teeth 😄
    Urgh if Liverpool win, I won’t hear the end of it, for say, at least… 60 years 😴😴 #earplugs

    The Metro have said Ramsey won’t play for us again, not sure if this is just BS.. gutted, if it’s true, as we all know he has a winning goal in a final, in his locker!!

    chas – loved that picture of the Ajax fan and the spud 😂😂

  3. LBG says:

    A balanced assessment GN5, worthy of your sage approach. Thank you.
    Never warmed to Smith even as a player, and regard his betrayal in commentary, (with his own repeated justifications) as worse than RVP and Sanchez!! If we could only get a different commentator once in a while, the dislike might mellow.
    Interested to see if last night has even deeper effect on Totteringham’s end of season. Ajax are a class team and may well surprise whoever’s they play in the final. Agree with twitterati, goalscorer last night would be welcomed at THOF by me.

  4. Big Raddy says:

    GN5. Thank you.

    It is strange how some players don’t engender affection. It has nothing to do with talent, Smith was a quality CF and his goals in Copenhagen and at Anfield were among the highlights of my time as a Gooner.

    Smith’s decline after Wrighty joined was surprising, as was that of Kevin Campbell. Was Wright’s unpredictability too challenging for his partners?

    IMO 27th in the All-Time list is way too high.

  5. VP says:

    thank you GN5

    also thank you BR for the link https://www.theguardian.com/football/2019/apr/29/arsenal-wsl-title-dutch-magic-montemurro?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX01vcm5pbmdCcmllZmluZ1VLLTE5MDQzMA%3D%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=MorningBriefingUK&CMP=morningbriefinguk_email

    Before the arrival of the Australian in November 2017, Arsenal lacked steel.
    Montemurro’s first task was “to go back to basics” and shore up the defence.
    …in the early part of the season Arsenal looked unplayable – their comprehensive 5-0 win at last season’s double winners Chelsea in October perhaps their most complete performance. A staggering 69 goals, up from 38 last season, is testament to the fluidity the team has established.

    Aussie Aussie Arsenal

  6. RA says:

    Excellent Post, GN5, thank you.

    Actually, your personal rider at the end of the Post is putting me in a bit of a quandary.

    The question is, do I type what I believe, and invite criticism of a genuinely held view, or do I just keep my views to myself because no one would give a stuff what I say. 😁

    Guess what won out? 🤪

    I did not see much of Smithy playing, but what I did see was pretty damn good. So what? Many of you might well agree with that.

    The tricky bit is that I also find his description of games, both on TV and in his newspaper, perfectly acceptable. Gosh, horror, and with one tiny sentence I have thrown myself on the mercy of the overwhelming majority of AAers who clearly disagree.

    For what it is worth, there is a reason for my finding him OK in his post-Arsenal career.

    And you have already pointed at it when you referred to the BS that is regularly cuffed up by Savage, Hargreaves and others who find fault in every conceivable way when they commentate on Arsenal.

    There are others who when commentating at the games of ex-clubs, say — X never commits fouls – the ref got it wrong; it was never offside; he never dives – he is not that sort of player — and so forth.

    The first type of commentator is simply a moron.

    The second type of commentator is seeking to become ‘a fans man’ and to hell with the truth. Nauseating? Much!

    Smithy to my mind does neither. He does not rubbish other clubs, because he is better than that. He does not twist the truth when Arsenal is involved, because Arsenal do not need positive BS – and I would not think much of him or anyone else who did so.

    Either way, most ex-professional footballers, whoever they played for, have little knowledge of the FIFA Laws of the Game, and their opinions are frequently derisible and matter not in the grand scheme of things. 🥺

  7. RA says:

    cuffed up = guffed up.

    Not my fault the bloody computer’s internal dictionary is basic in the extreme! 😩

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers GN5. Have not seen much of Smith as a player but I have no doubt he was very effective and scored some important goals.

    I am with Chas. As a pundit AS is the ideal cure for insomnia, and I almost always mute him as soon as he has spoken the first few nasal words. So lazy and dispassionate and all the time trying to proof his ‘impartiality’! He fits so well with the Sky Sports approach to commentating: lack of passion, all sounding like the anti-depressives have just kicked in, and just reading boringly – like an overworked accountant – fact after fact of the computer screen. 😦

  9. allezkev says:

    Another thoroughly enjoyable read GN5, always a pleasure, well done mate.

    I liked Alan Smith, an intelligent man and an intelligent footballer, crucial to our title wins of 89 and 91…
    If I recall George Graham tried to sign Kerry Dixon at the same time.
    I’m not a fan of his commentating but he is an Aston Villa fan and they’re an odd lot…

  10. chas says:

    Apologies to GN5, the p.s. was from me.

  11. Sue says:

    Parlour’s crazy hair in that picture!! 😄

  12. GunnerN5 says:

    Morning all.

    No problem with me Chas, you are always welcome to add your input to my posts.

    I liked Alan Smith as a player he made some incredible contributions with his goals.

    His sneaky header in front of the Kop was one of Arsenal’s historically iconic goals and will be etched in my memory forever.

    I don’t care about what he did after Arsenal.

  13. GoonerB says:

    Thanks GN5

    Smith was a very good striker that we were fortunate to have. Not blessed with pace but he seemed to have that knack of being in the right place and was very good at getting a shot or header on target quickly so defenders found him difficult to close down when his chances came. Kane is a bit like Smith was in some senses.

    I sit somewhere between RA and Chas on how I feel about him now. He undoubtedly was key in contributing to much of the history we enjoy looking back over so has to be considered a Gunner great, but I don’t have the same affection to him as I do to Wrighty.

    I think this is because Wrighty just had that lovable personality, but also seems to bleed and feel Arsenal at the same time, while I never think of Smith that way. As players both were Arsenal greats but Wrighty is a Gooner while Smith isn’t.

    I don’t think he is too bad in his commenting on Arsenal and maybe think it sounds worse because of how he comes across and his tone of voice. In many ways he has been no more critical than many other ex players, including Wrighty, but maybe his style, being somewhat dispassionate, sounds more like a dig at the club while Wrighty’s criticism seems tinged with pain and desperation because he so desperately wants Arsenal to be the best. In that way he seems more one of us now than Smith does.

  14. Sue says:

    So it’s confirmed about Ramsey, that’s such a shame. Not the way I wanted him to depart…
    Just saw a clip of his best goals, as much as I loved his cup final goals… my favourite is against CSKA 😍 his little flick against the spuds wasn’t bad either 😉
    I think he’s had a great season, even though he knew he was departing, he still gave his all & has scored some great goals! And he even managed to shut Eric ‘sit back down’ Dier up 😁
    Thank you Rambo 👏

  15. chas says:

    As far as commenting about Arsenal is concerned, I think Wrighty is nearly as big a knobhead as Smith. 🙂

  16. GoonerB says:

    Chas, are there any ex Arsenal players left that you don’t consider knobheads 🙂

    I think pretty much all of them have had their say on Arsenal over the last 10 years or so and pretty much all of them have, to varying degrees, been critical or scathing in some shape or form in their assessment or critique of us.

  17. chas says:

    Thierry Henry, great player but a complete twat on Sky.

    Keown, thick as pig shit.

    Dixon, Man City fan.

    Pires, he’s OK.

    Largely, I suppose, because he keeps his trap shut. 🙂

  18. GunnerN5 says:

    Mr. Arsenal has trashed us on many occasions.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    Have to disagree with chas’ opinion about former greats.

    TH. Beautifully turned out. Knows his way to the tailors.

    Keown. Proper Arsenal. Grew up in Oxford hence must have some smarts.

    Dixon. I like him – he is suitably bland yet loves a curry.

    Pires. Impossibly brilliant in appearance, bias and intelligence

    Nutty. Lovable, not the sharpest tool but passionate

    TA. Earnest, honest, bizarre.

  20. RA says:

    Interesting, Chas,

    There are people (some of them players) that I instinctively like – don’t really analyse it, it just is the case.

    The relationship between fans and players relatively straight forward. Fans love their clubs, and most players do not.

    While players are at the club, most fans confer sometimes unwarranted praise, even idolatry on them.

    When players leave, fans expect them to carry on loving the club – when they often never did so in the first place, and those who appear to do so after retiring, are probably milking the financial benefits and also the pleasure of being recognised as once being a great player and now as a ‘club’ man, because they say the right things for the fans.

    I do not give a stuff either way. These guys are ‘professionals’ they go to the highest payers, or where they have the greatest chance of winning trophies.

    The other side of the coin is that the club do not give a stuff about them either. While they repay the club by doing a good job, that’s fine. If they are rubbish or their skills deteriorate, the club ruthlessly get rid of them as soon as possible, for as much as they can.

    Fans can be just as ruthless – and Arsenal players know this, as well as any – got a World Cup medal? who cares? you’re crap – that’s the exit, over there —->.

    It is not a lovey dovey footballing world — it is business — and each party gets as much financial benefit as possible — thanks to the fans, who are the source of all the wealth, directly or indirectly.

    Conclusion?
    The fans: love their club, and they will support it for the rest of their lives —

    Professional players: lose interest in the club once they leave, for whatever reason.

    The owners: are happy while they are making money.

    Cynical, moi – maybe –
    I am a pragmatic realist at heart, and follow Arsenal because they are my life-long club – and to hell with the rest.

    Go on — tell me I am the only one. 😜

  21. RA says:

    Hi, Sue,

    You are an exception to all the Bow Locks I wrote above! 🥺

  22. Sue says:

    Ramsey said in his tweet about how Sunday is going to be an emotional day… I’d better take some shades! I didn’t last season & when everyone did the guard of honour for AW, I welled up!! Not for one minute did I think I’d cry! Couldn’t help it, was really emosh!!

    All hail RA 😉😁 thank you!

    Please Barcelona 🙏

  23. GoonerB says:

    I actually think Keown, despite looking like a thug and extra from LOTR, comes across as one of the most articulate and intelligent ex Arsenal players. His comments and tactical critiques most often seem well thought out.

    He refrained from more direct and serious criticism for quite some time but in the end did so. I think in reality to do otherwise would have made him look a bit stupid as a pundit with a serious amount of burying his head in the sand. Dixon comes across well for me also.

    Generally I think criticism by ex players hasn’t been far off being fairly accurate in their assessment of the club at most times in the last few years and, as painful as it is to hear these players actually say it, was a true reflection on the wrong pathway that we had progressed down and what was needed to get us back on track.

  24. chas says:

    The best Arsenal player co-commentator I’ve ever heard was Perry Groves.

    Humorous, insightful and 100% completely biased in our favour.

    A top man.

  25. Sue says:

    IMO Keown will always be a legend for what he did when Van Nistelrooy missed that penalty 😊 (nothing to do with his commentating, I know) but i absolutely loved it!!

  26. chas says:

    No-one likes to see a player get injured.

  27. Sue says:

    John Hartson is a great commentator too!

  28. GoonerB says:

    Sue, I may be one of the only bloggers on here that has no problem with Liverpool winning significant silverware this year, or even hoping they will.

    Why? well because they are represent a similar model to Arsenal and it would show that a big club that has decent funds, (but not the PSG, Utd, City, Madrid levels), can actually challenge for the big stuff by getting the right manager, recruiting well and developing a team with steady additions over 2-3 seasons.

    They have brought through young players well, bought at a higher price when needed on occasions, and also recruited well from players either in the EPL or having had previous experience in it.

    Liverpool, if they win things this or next year, should give us hope that we do not have to become perennial also rans because we can emulate what they are doing now.

    With their current squad they are probably now 1 top class striker away from being up there with the best and I wouldn’t bet against them possibly making that 1 significant signing this summer.

    In 2014 when we got Sanchez, (in addition to Ozil the prior season), most pundits and the media were talking about how Arsenal looked to be the team on the up and was the exciting place for a top player to go. Even ex Pool players were saying you would chose us over them at that time in a straight choice.

    They have turned this on its head since then by doing all the things I mentioned, things that we can also do over the next 3 seasons if we get it right in those areas. So for me, go on Liverpool, do it for the big small clubs.

  29. GoonerB says:

    Mind you that is some team for Barcelona with Busquets, Rakitic and Vidal in a midfield 3 and Messi, Suarez and Coutinho in the front 3. Liverpool actually almost emulate them in their 3 midfield 3 up front line up, but each Liverpool player looks like they would be the decent back up player to each of Barca’s if at the same club. Still I think Liverpool may have the edge in pace so could be a real threat on the break.

  30. Sue says:

    GoonerB.. I get where you’re coming from & I have no problem with it – we’re all entitled to our own opinions at the end of the day!
    To be totally honest, I’ve never been that keen on Liverpool, since THAT Robbie Fowler hat trick! And I am sick of the annual Anfield annihilation now 😄
    I am surrounded by Liverpool supporters, whether it’s at work, darts, the pub, wherever really & the grief I have to deal with is really not funny! So for my own sanity, I’d rather they didn’t win anything!! 😀

  31. GunnerN5 says:

    Hi Sue,

    Do you play darts?

  32. GoonerB says:

    Well if it is a question of your sanity that is different Sue……..however your frequent dalliances on here with the wacky Wichito man mountain is surely far more dangerous to your sanity than any meager Liverpool fan 🙂

  33. GunnerN5 says:

    GB,

    You are not alone I’m also rooting for Liverpool as my wife is a Liverpudlian and many of my friends support either Liverpool or Everton. One of my dearly departed friends, Ray Bowen, played for Liverpool in the late 40’s early 50’s, he also played for the N17 unmentionables.

  34. Sue says:

    Hi GN5.. yes I do play darts.. not quite at Michael Van Gerwen’s level just yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long 😆 and if you believe that, you’ll believe anything!
    I’m not too bad – I win more than I lose, so it’s alright. How about you, do you play?
    Haha the wacky Wichito man mountain (love it!) Yes I agree – I’ll be nuts, before you know it 😄

  35. Big Raddy says:

    Must be wonderful to watch Messi play for your own team. The man is magic and definitely GOAT.

    Terrific goal from Suarez, what a finish!

    This is a cracking game

  36. RA says:

    Watching that fascinating game clearly showed what we were discussing earlier – how players can switch their allegiances overnight from one club to another, in a way that no fan could ever do.

    Both Suarez and Coutinho have done their share of diving, arguing and being a little obnoxious towards ‘Pool, where they had both previously been heroes.

    Professional footballers, who earn their living and futures from football cannot be blamed for that.

  37. RA says:

    Sue,

    If you ever get a chance to chat to GB, he is very interesting, both in football matters, and camels.

    He told us that he administered medicine in the form of pills to ailing camels, via a blowpipe.

    He coyly refused to admit which end that took place, altho he was worried the camel could blow the pills back at him — still not clear as that could happen at either end.

    Maybe you can winkle it out of him. 😁

    Digressing for a mo’ McManaman meets the criteria of ex-players being utterly biased by claiming their previous club is always in the right – or their players are.

    In fairness, ‘Pool are murdering Barca at the start of the 2nd half — looks like a goal is coming.

    Mo Salah and Messi the players of the game, so far — and a great compliment to the really speedy Salah.

  38. Big Raddy says:

    End to end with Liverpool playing some so well. Hope they get the equaliser.they deserve

  39. RA says:

    It’s amazing say “Barca score a goal against the run of play, at home” — 2 : 0

    If that had been Arsenal I would be devastated – but Messi is the best player I have ever watched –

    Wow 3 : 0 by that genius Messi – stunner.

    How could this happen???

  40. Sue says:

    RA… camels, blowpipes!! 😂😂 whatever next?! Poor GB 😂 you really are wasted, as an accountant, with all that random shiz going on in your head 😄 that really did make me chuckle though, you have such a way with words 👍
    Looking forward to the next instalment!
    Yeah I’m not that keen on listening to Mcmanaman (I wonder why!!) Well Messi has scored… twice 😊 I wonder if that’ll be enough?!

  41. Sue says:

    Thank you, Messi (won’t need the earplugs tomorrow) 😁

  42. fatgingergooner says:

    Wow! Liverpool falling to bits at the end. Should’ve been 5 or 6. Still should be game over though. Can’t see Barca not scoring on the counter at Anfield. Actually fancied Liverpool over 2 legs after watching Barca struggle against United at Old Trafford but the team selection was poor and they’ve put themselves in a massive hole now.

    Had a cheeky pound on Messi to score from outside the area. When he can take free kicks like that it’s easy money!

  43. fatgingergooner says:

    Messi’s 600th goal for Barcelona….600! When a player gets to 100 he’s considered a bit of a legend. Six hundred!!!

  44. Sue says:

    600??!! Take a bow 👏

  45. Big Raddy says:

    No justice. Liverpool deserved a draw but they haven’t got Messi.

    Highly entertaining game but the week’s highlight is tonight

  46. chas says:

    What’s on?

  47. chas says:

    Emmerdale?

  48. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

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