Ben Smith (footballer, born 1978)
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|Full name||Benjamin Peter Smith|
|Date of birth||23 November 1978|
|Place of birth||Chelmsford, England|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|2011||→ Kettering Town (loan)||3||(0)|
|2012||→ Aldershot Town (loan)||8||(0)|
|2014||Maldon & Tiptree|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 20:03, 9 May 2012 (UTC).
Born in Chelmsford, Smith began his career at Arsenal where he signed his first professional contract for the 1995–96 season. He never made a first team appearance at the London-based club, although he made 29 appearances and scored four goals for the youth team during that season.
He moved to Reading in 1996 and made his senior debut on the final day of the 1996–97 season, coming on as a substitute in a 3–2 away defeat at Manchester City. This turned out to be his only first team appearance for the Royals and he moved to Yeovil Town in March 1998.
Despite being transfer listed in his second season, remained with the club until 2001. Smith had played a key role in Yeovil's challenge for promotion to the Football League, but an agreed new contract offer was withdrawn when manager Colin Addison was sacked. Smith moved to Southend United on a free transfer, joining his former manager David Webb.
He struggled to make an impact in his solitary season at Roots Hall and left for Hereford United, for whom he made 52 league appearances and scored 18 goals in a two-season-long spell. An injury to his shoulder meant he required an operation in March 2004, shortly before joining Shrewsbury Town. He made 24 league appearances for the Shropshire club. He joined Weymouth in January 2006, playing a significant role in the run in to the Conference South championship.
Weymouth's first Conference match in 17 years saw Smith score the opening goal, in the first minute against Tamworth. He went on to play in every first team match for the Terras up until the turn of the year, when he scored twice in a 3–2 defeat to Forest Green which turned out to be his last match for the club. The entire Weymouth squad had been transfer listed, due to financial problems, even though Smith had only recently signed a contract extension until 2009. Five league clubs expressed an interest in signing the Weymouth captain, and on 25 January 2007, Weymouth confirmed that he had rejoined Hereford United for £20,000 on a 2 and a half-year contract. This was the first transfer fee that the Bulls had paid since the signing of Neil Grayson in 1997.
Smith made an impact on his return to Edgar Street against Notts County, hitting the post in the buildup to the first goal and providing the assist for the second goal. He went on to play in all Hereford's remaining matches of the 2006–07 season, scoring at home to Barnet in the process. He also wore the captain's armband in many of the matches.
Smith started the vast majority of Hereford's matches in the 2007–08 season as the Bulls gained promotion to Football League One. He was also a regular fixture throughout the following campaign as the Bulls were relegated back to The Football League's basement division. During his two and a half-year stay at Edgar Street, Smith featured in ninety-nine league games, notching seven times.
Despite featuring regularly for Hereford United, Smith departed the club in the summer of 2009. Along with former Hereford team-mate Karl Broadhurst, Smith signed for Crawley Town on a one-year contract. Smith was an influential figure during his first season at Crawley, featuring in thirty-four league matches, and scoring seven times, making him the club's joint-second highest goalscorer for the season. Smith has agreed terms to spend a second season with the club.
He joined A.F.C. Sudbury on a one-year deal on 15 August 2012, however he played only eight games before being released on 25 September 2012. On 11 October he signed for Thurrock in the Conference South. He suffered an injury in November 2013, and in early January 2014 was released. In the middle of January he signed for Maldon & Tiptree, but left he club soon afterwards.
After leaving the game, Smith worked as a teacher at Maltings Academy in Essex, having earned himself a degree in business management. Now living in West Sussex, he published a book Journeyman: One man's odyssey through the lower leagues of English football.
|Club||Division||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||FL Trophy||Other||Total|
|Southend United||Division Three||2001–02||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Shrewsbury Town||League Two||2004–05||12||3||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||14||3|
|Hereford United||League Two||2006–07||18||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||18||1|
|Crawley Town||Conference National||2009–10||34||7||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||34||7|
- Arsenal youth team appearances 1995/96 Arseweb.com. Retrieved on 27 June 2008.
- Smith joins ex-boss Webb[permanent dead link] Falmouth Packet, 7 June 2001. Retrieved on 27 June 2008.
- Smith's fury at Yeovil reversal[permanent dead link] The Gazette, 6 June 2001. Retrieved on 27 June 2008.
- Crawley sign four BBC Sport, 4 August 2009. Retrieved on 15 June 2010.
- Smith and Cogan sign new deals Archived 8 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Crawleytownfc.com, 7 May 2010. Retrieved on 15 June 2010.
- "Mills among Crawley casualties". Sky Sports. 8 May 2012. Retrieved 9 May 2012.
- "Ex-AFC Midfielder Turns Author". AFC Sudbury Official Website. 2 April 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
- Ben Smith Biteback Publishing
- Smith, Ben (3 September 2012). "Former Arsenal & Reading player Ben Smith on life after football". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 September 2012.