Tuesday, 15 June 2010

In praise of Shane Smeltz

Imagine you support a football club which was only founded less than ten years ago and has risen up the non-league ranks since then. One of your former players has been selected for the World Cup for, perhaps, the least fancied team in the tournament. Late in the game he makes the cross that leads to his side scoring an equaliser for what his coach calls the nation's best ever result in world football.

Good on ya Shane Smeltz. A massive result for New Zealand and a dewy eyed evening for all AFC Wimbledon fans.

Wimbledon has only ever had two World Cup players before - when Marcus Gayle and Robbie Earle played for Jamaica in France 98 - but then were when we were a Premiership side.

Interesting(ish) Shane Smeltz fact. When I was helping to write the programme for AFC Wimbledon, we used to ask the players if they had ever played in front of such a large crowd before. We had average crowds of 3000 and the league average was about 150 - so it wasn't a completely stupid question. Shane's reply was that yes, he had. He had played at the Tokyo Stadium in an international against Japan in front of 90,000. Oops.

1 comment:

martijn said...


Just saw this in my RSS reader. I don't think anyone considers the draw against Slovakia as New Zealand's greatest football result ever. Nor do they consider Shane Smeltz's cross as his most important contribution to international football.