Five memorable moments for Kelly Smith as Arsenal legend turns 42
- Credit: PA
When somebody mentions Kelly Smith Arsenal Women and English football fans automatically come up with one word legend.
Legend is a word that is described for many footballers but Smith is one who really deserves that title.
During her time at Arsenal she won 6 FA Women’s Cups, 5 FA Women’s Premier Leagues, 4 FA Women’s Premier League Cups and the UEFA Women’s Cup now known as the Champions League.
Smith joined Arsenal as a teenager in 1996 and won her first Women’s Premier League title in the same season and in total scored 125 goals in 144 appearances for the Gunners.
She is also England’s record goalscorer with former England boss Hope Powell saying: “She’s one of those players who come along only once or twice in a lifetime. In the men’s game, you’d think of the likes of Maradona, Messi, players with a unique talent, and that’s what Kelly has.”
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Smith was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire in 2008 for her achievements and contribution to the game and showing the other ladies of the nation that they can inspire to be footballers.
Current Arsenal star Jordan Nobbs has had the fortune of playing with her and said: “What Kelly brings to a team is inspirational.”
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“She can be silent on the pitch but still inspire and drive a team. That is a very unique skill to have. She shows her passion for the club.”
WI’ll be very proud to say I played with a player like that.”
Josh Bunting picks 5 of her best moments at Arsenal as she marked her 42nd Birthday on October 29.
Smith was a key member of Arsenal’s 2006-07 quadruple winning season of 2006–07, scoring 30 goals in 34 games across the four competitions.
However she missed the UEFA Women’s Cup final through suspension but nonetheless had a magnificent campaign for the Gunners.
She was ruthless in front of goal and had an incredible game that not many footballers male or females have had the fortune off.
An incredible competitor on the pitch Smith and the Arsenal faithful will not forget that quite remarkable season that everything that England’s record goalscorer seemed to hit found the back of the opposition’s net.
In that season she picked up the players player of the year award and it was no less than she deserved.
2007 FA Cup final.
Smith netted a brace in the 2007 Women’s FA Cup final against Charlton Athletic as the Gunners won 4
Arsenal fell behind inside two minutes as they were caught cold by Katie Holtham and she made no mistake in finding the back of the Gunners net.
However Arsenal responded in the best possible fashion with Smith’s delightful free kick and Ludlow’s close-range finish turned the final on its head before the captain hammered home a 30-yard blockbuster in first-half stoppage time. That took the wind out of Charlton’s sails and Smith’s second-half effort was no more than Arsenal deserved.
Smith’s opener was a superb strike as she curled home from 25 yards out beyond Toni-Anne Wayne and her second was also a moment of magic when she turned beautifully in the box and though Wayne got a hand to the England striker’s shot, the ball bobbled in.
2014 FA Cup final.
Shelley Kerr’s 16 months as Arsenal manager ended on a triumphant note as the Gunners eased to a 2-0 win against Everton in a one-sided FA Cup final in 2014.
Smith was a doubt for the final with a thigh injury however she made it just in time to start the game as she was injected with painkillers in Milton Keynes.
Arsenal started the game on top when winger Rachel Yankey struck the inside of the near post with a stinging 25-yard shot but it was Smith who would prove the game’s most influential figure.
The 35-year-old at the time put the Gunners in front with a sublime piece of technique, curling a 20-yard free-kick over the defensive wall and just inside the post after 15 minutes.
Everton attempted to hit back when captain Michelle Hinnigan sent a long-range effort into the arms of goalkeeper Emma Byrne.
But Arsenal were soon back on the offensive and striker Danielle Carter, an impressive performer throughout, sent an effort from 18 yards inches wide.
And a minute before half-time, goalkeeper Rachel Brown-Finnis pulled off a goal-line save from Carter’s diving header.
Smith went close to doubling the lead six minutes after the interval, curling a shot against the far post from 15 yards as she cut in from the right side of the penalty area.
She also then went on to grab the assist as 10 minutes later her pass set up Japan international Kinga to shoot home from 12 yards to seal the trophy.
Goal vs Chelsea
Arsenal Women reached the FA Cup final quarter-final beating Chelsea 5-3 after extra time in a remarkable match at Woking’s Kingsfield Stadium.
Kelly Smith had a penalty saved in a goalless first half before equalising after Ji So-Yun had given Chelsea the lead.
Yuki Ogimi restored Chelsea’s lead before another goal from Smith sent the match to extra time.
Strikes from Danielle Carter and Shinobu Ohno put Shelley Kerr’s side in the driving seat before Eniola Aluko pulled a goal back. Casey Stoney sealed the win with a header from a corner.
Smith was key to the performance as the Gunners reached another semi-final at the expense of their London rival’s.
Final Arsenal goal.
Smith’s final appearance in an Arsenal shirt came from the substitutes’ bench back in October 2016.
With the Gunners already 4-0 up against Doncaster Belles in the final minutes, Kelly made sure that her final contribution in red and white would be amongst her most memorable.
Belles half-cleared a cross into their penalty area and it dropped to Smith 30 yards from goal to smash the ball into the net
She took a fantastic touch before lashing a long-range effort that evaded Belles keeper Nicola Hobbs before hitting the underside of the crossbar on its way.
The final goal out of 125 goals in a simply remarkable career in north London.