from [ “4thegame”:http://www.4thegame.com/club/lufc/news/154347/?cC=1 ] Leeds caretaker-manager Eddie Gray conceded to never having witnessed scenes like those which surrounded home-town hero Alan Smith following today’s Elland Road Barclaycard Premiership swansong.
As the final whistle blew after a 3-3 draw against Charlton in which Smith had scored Leeds’ third goal from the penalty spot, the players conducted a lap of honour to thank the fans for their outstanding support during the season.
One player, though, was the focal point of the fans’ attention and that was Smith who has made it clear he would be leaving in the summer following the club’ relegation to the Football League First Division.
Smith has given his all for Leeds during his time at the club, a point not lost on the supporters, many of whom shed tears at the sight of their departing star.
Smith was mobbed by hundreds of fans who broke through the security cordon and onto the pitch to bid a fond farewell to a player they have taken to their hearts.
Long after the rest of the squad had returned to the dressing room, Smith was still on the pitch surrounded by a throng of fans but also by a group of bodyguards in order to prevent the 23-year-old from being crushed in the melee.
It took almost 20 minutes before Smith finally made it back to the sanctuary of the tunnel, prompting a disbelieving Gray to state: “I’ve never seen anything like that.
“But Alan’s a local hero, a local boy, and you expect that.
“He will be disappointed we never won the match, adding to the sadness for him in a way.
“He has been here since he was a kid and everybody knows he believes in the football club. He has been a smashing player and a good lad for Leeds United.
“His team-mates and the fans will be sorry to see him go.”
Boy, if Terry ever leaves Chelsea…