‘GUTTED’ MATT TO CHEER ON ROBINS
TOWERING striker Matt Smith played a vital role in ensuring Bristol City reached Wembley today and will be on the sidelines to cheer his old team on – but has vowed not to “do a John Terry” and gatecrash any potential celebrations.
Despite being suspended for the 2012 Champions League final, Chelsea captain Terry still changed into full kit to lift the trophy and did so again when injured 12 months later as the Blues won the Europa League.
Smith scored all five of Bristol City’s goals in their JPT southern area final win over Gillingham, including four at Priestfield, before his three-month loan from Fulham expired, and will become an honorary member of the squad today after being invited to do so by manager Steve Cotterill.
But should City beat Walsall, Smith – who scored 13 goals in 20 games at Ashton Gate – promises celebrations will be muted.
“I’m not doing a John Terry, I’ll just watch from the sidelines,” the 6ft 6in frontman told BBC Radio Bristol.“I was made to feel extremely welcome in my three months at the club and felt a big part of the set-up. I was made to feel like an integral member of the squad and I’ll be really desperate for them to win on Sunday.
“Hopefully I will meet up with the squad early on Sunday morning and experience the entire day with them. I still look out for their results and hope they will achieve promotion too, which they deserve.”
Smith will be making his third visit to the national stadium, though is yet to do so as a player.
He took in Wigan’s FA Cup final triumph over Manchester City in 2013 as a reward for having been named the Football Association’s Player of the Round after earning former club Oldham a replay against Premier League Everton in the last 16.
And the 25-year-old has been a guest of Fulham chairman Shahid Khan when his NFL franchise Jacksonville Jaguars most recently graced the Wembley turf.
But Smith admits his is hankering for a run out of his own.
“Playing at Wembley is the pinnacle of football,” he added. “I’m chuffed the Bristol City boys will experience that. I’m a bit gutted to miss out personally, but hopefully that is something to come in the future and I have a bit more motivation now to go there myself.”
CITY SLICKER: Matt Smith celebrates scoring for Bristol City