Alan Smith: How George Graham calling me a 'c***' ended my Arsenal career

Former Arsenal striker joined Off The Ball to discuss why his Highbury career came to a close

BY Ciaran Bradley 21:19 Wednesday 10 October 2018, 21:19 10 Oct 2018

Former Arsenal striker Alan Smith has explained how George Graham calling him a 'c***' precipitated the end of a decorated career with the Gunners.

Smith joined Off The Ball to discuss his new book - Heads Up - in which he catalogues his rise to top scorer in Division One, and title-winner at Anfield, just one month after the Hillsborough disaster.

Graham is one of the central figures in Smith's story, signing Smith from Leicester and bringing Arsenal silverware not seen since Graham's own double in 1970-71. In his time there, the Scot won two league titles, two league cups, an FA Cup and a European Cup Winners Cup.

After one performance, he singled out Smith, saying:

"And you, you cunt, you're always on the treatment table and never fit. Then you put in a performance like that!"

"He loved a rollicking, but I was one of a core of players that had been through so much with him, achieved so much and been so successful - and he never used language like that.

"For him to call me out in that way, it just shocked me so much. It cut me to the quick.

"I was kicking myself, because if he had said that to someone else there might have been a little face-to-face or a fight breaking out. Being the person that I am, I confronted him about it but perhaps not as aggressively as I should have."

Alan believes that his former manager's attitude was likely a reflection of inner turmoil, as Graham would become involved in a bungs scandal over the transfers of John Jensen and Pal Lydersen.

"He started behaving differently - there were all the bung rumours going around at the time. Lee Dixon made us aware of them, saying 'George is in big trouble - he's heading for the sack.'

"That was New Year's Eve 1994, and only a matters of weeks later - in February, he was dismissed. So you can only imagine what was going on in his mind and his life at the time."

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