By Ben Smith
BEN SMITH: specialist FOOTBALLER. realize the identify? in fact you don't. That's simply because so much of Smith's years within the online game have been spent outdoor the vaunted, big-money environs of the ultimate League - and this wearing memoir is the entire extra unique for that reason. 1995: a teenager Ben arrives on the education flooring of 1 of England's greatest golf equipment to start his trip and recognize his dream of taking part in top-flight specialist soccer. elderly simply 16, he stocks pre-season periods at Arsenal with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright. definitely this can be the beginning of a stellar profession? in its place, the subsequent seventeen years observed the brilliant younger celebrity descend the ranks from Highbury to obscurity. With seasons enjoying for the likes of interpreting, Yeovil, Southend, Hereford, Shrewsbury and Weymouth - and a occupation together with 3 promotions, one relegation and a few very memorable FA Cup video games - Ben's tale is one in all a integral journeyman footballer. Candidly describing the negotiations, insecurities, accidents, relocations, own implications and rainy Saturday afternoons taking part in in entrance of 500 humans, Journeyman bargains a different perception into the unvarnished lifetime of a lower-league participant - thus far faraway from the tales of pampered Premiership stars - in addition to documenting the numerous teammates, rivals, managers and coaches who left an indelible mark on Ben's eclectic profession. Refreshingly unsentimental and infrequently hilarious, Smith's tale is key analyzing for all precise enthusiasts of the not-always-so-beautiful online game.
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Extra info for Journeyman: One Man's Odyssey Through the Lower Leagues of English Football
Scorer: Baker. Referee: M. Fussey (Retford). Attendance: 30,829. That was my first game for Wolverhampton Wanderers, and it was to be the last game for Wolves of a great favourite of the fans, Peter Broadbent, who was soon transferred to Shrewsbury. This was also the day I was to embark on a 30-year relationship with Wolves. The programme for that Boxing Day game does not include my name, of course. Pat Buckley was down to play outside-left, but it does contain an item of interest in the shape of an article written by Ivan Sharpe.
The line up that day: Wolves: Davies, Thomson, G. Harris, Flowers, Woodfield, Miller, Wharton, Broadbent, Crawford, Kemp, Wagstaffe. Villa: Withers, Lee, Aitken, Wylie, Sleeuwenhoek, Pountney, Baker, Stobart, Hateley, Woosnam, Macleod. Scorer: Baker. Referee: M. Fussey (Retford). Attendance: 30,829. That was my first game for Wolverhampton Wanderers, and it was to be the last game for Wolves of a great favourite of the fans, Peter Broadbent, who was soon transferred to Shrewsbury. This was also the day I was to embark on a 30-year relationship with Wolves.
No airs and graces, his name just about summed him up: plain Joe Wilson. Sharing a room with him, as I did on our 1966 summer trip to Switzerland, was an education. In a newly-built hotel, Ernie Hunt and I found ourselves billeted with Joe in one of the suites that slept three people. The television in the room was itself a novelty in those days, but there was something else we had not yet come across in the 1960s – a fridge full of drink. Joe stood next to the fridge like a sentry on duty. ‘Now listen, you two,’ he said.