Paul Smith (footballer, born 1979)
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|Full name||Paul Daniel Smith|
|Date of birth||17 December 1979|
|Place of birth||Epsom, England|
|Height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Colchester United (goalkeeping coach)|
|1997–1998||Walton & Hersham|
|2011||→ Middlesbrough (loan)||10||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Early playing career
Smith was born in Epsom and started his career at Charlton Athletic, but was released in the summer of 1999, after one year as a professional. After a short period with Walton & Hersham, Smith moved to Carshalton Athletic in late 1999, but moved to Brentford in August 2000 after they spotted Smith guesting for Crawley Town in a pre-season friendly against The Bees. At Brentford, he made 104 appearances as a goalkeeper.
In January 2004, to address financial problems at Brentford, Smith was sold to Southampton for a fee reported to be £250,000, with additional add on fees totalling £250,000. At Southampton, he was initially deputy to Antti Niemi, but, following Niemi's departure, Smith took over as their number one. However, he found himself further down the pecking order with the arrival of Bartosz Białkowski and Kevin Miller.
In search of first team football, Smith signed for League One side Nottingham Forest for around £500,000 in July 2006. He established himself ahead of Rune Pedersen as Forest's first choice goalkeeper for the club's 2006–07 promotion campaign.
In the 2007–08 campaign, Smith helped Forest gain automatic promotion finishing second in the league they were promoted from League One to the Championship. Smith had a terrific season and helped enormously in goal, making match winning saves to help the Reds gain promotion. He kept 24 clean sheets in 46 games, the record for the league in that season. This achievement was recognised when he received the Puma Golden Glove award.
He also made footballing history in the Football League Cup when he scored after 15 seconds against Leicester City in the second round of the competition on 18 September 2007. Smith became the quickest goalkeeper ever to score in world football, and the quickest ever goalscorer in the League Cup and for Nottingham Forest. The unusual goal came about because the tie had been previously abandoned at half-time due to the collapse of Leicester City's Clive Clarke, while Nottingham Forest were 1–0 up. In a show of sportsmanship, Leicester allowed Forest to take the kick-off and run up to score the goal, to restore the score-line to what it was at the abandonment of the previous match. It was decided that Smith should be the player to score, to avoid suspicions surrounding betting patterns. Leicester City did come back into the game to beat Forest 3–2. In July 2008, Smith signed a new two-year contract with Forest, keeping him at the City Ground until 2010, and signed another extension in 2009, to keep Smith at the City Ground until 2012.
After falling out of favour with manager Billy Davies, Smith lost his first choice status to Lee Camp, despite having played in all three of their League Cup matches. On 30 July 2010, Smith was placed on the transfer list and told he was free to seek first team football elsewhere. This was two days after a pre-season friendly at the City Ground against French Ligue 1 team Olympique Lyonnais which Forest lost 3–1. Smith was replaced by youngster Karl Darlow in the 75th minute, and Smith's performance was criticised.
Smith's contract expired with Forest at the end of the 2011–12 season and he was released by the club.
On 18 August 2012 Smith signed a two-year deal with Southend United.
- Nottingham Forest
- Southend United
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2009). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2009–10. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0.
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- "Calderwood snaps up keeper Smith". BBC Sport. 11 July 2006.
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- "Nottingham Forest 2 v 3 Leicester City". nottinghamforest.co.uk. Nottingham Forest F.C. 18 September 2007. Retrieved 19 September 2007.
- "Smith signs new Forest contract". BBC Sport. 29 July 2008.
- "Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Paul Smith signs new deal". BBC Sport. 23 December 2009.
- Burton, Chris (31 July 2010). "Smith listed by Forest". Sky Sports. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
- "Nottingham Forest 3 Lyon 1". thisisnottingham.co.uk. Nottingham Post. 29 July 2010. Archived from the original on 5 May 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- Birtles, Garry (7 July 2012). "Luke Chambers has made the right decision to leave Forest". thisisnottingham.co.uk. Nottingham Post. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
- Scriven, David (18 August 2012). "Blues sign up Paul Smith". southendunited.co.uk. Southend United F.C. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- Hudson, Matt (6 July 2017). "Smith Joins Academy Ranks". Colchester United FC. Retrieved 7 July 2017.