Richard Smith (footballer)
|Full name||Richard Geoffrey Smith|
|Date of birth||3 October 1970|
|Place of birth||Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Playing position||Central defender|
|1989||→ Nuneaton Borough (loan)|
|1989||→ Cambridge United (loan)||4||(0)|
|1995||→ Grimsby Town (loan)||8||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
He notably played in the Premier League for Leicester City, having also played for Nuneaton Borough and Cambridge United on loan. He joined Grimsby Town in 1996 and remained with the club until 2001 where he then retired through injury.
Born in Lutterworth, Leicestershire Smith joined Leicester City as a junior and came through the club's youth setup. In 1988, he was added to the first team squad by then manager David Pleat. He went on to play under Brian Little, Mark McGhee and Martin O'Neill at Filbert Street and spent a loan spell with Cambridge United in 1989. He played in several Premier League seasons with The Foxes, the last of which was the 1994-1995 season when the club were relegated to the First Division. He would go on to make 120 first team appearances in all competitions, scoring twice.
In September 1995, Smith was loaned to fellow First Division side Grimsby Town. He would make 8 appearances for Brian Laws side during this spell which led to him joining the club permanently in March 1996 when Leicester and Grimsby agreed a £50,000 transfer fee. In his time at Grimsby he was in and out of the team both under Laws and his replacement Alan Buckley. The Mariners defensive set up in the mid to late nineties had boasted such club legends as Mark Lever, Peter Handyside, John McDermott, Graham Rodger and Kevin Jobling, so Smith was dipped in and out of the first team. The club were eventually relegated to the Second Division in May 1997, only to bounce back the following season by winning the Second Division Play-Off Final at Wembley Stadium. Town had also triumphed in the Football League Trophy that season, but injury had forced Smith to miss the entire season.
During his final three seasons at Grimsby, Smith continued to play a cameo role in the first team with numerous injury problems preventing him from having any lengthy spell in the team. In his final season the 2000-2001 campaign, he managed only 7 games, scoring once. In what would be his final game in professional football he played the full 90 minutes of an FA Cup third round reply defeat at home to Wycombe Wanderers on 16 January 2001. His final goal had come earlier in that season during a 2-2 away draw with Wimbledon F.C.. The Mariners now managed by Lennie Lawrence saw fit to release Smith from his contract in June 2001 due to his ongoing injury concerns, this eventually led to his retirement from professional football at the age of 30.
- Richard Smith at Soccerbase
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