“He’s Simply Outgrown Us” – A Sutton Utd Fan Reflects on Reported Imps Target

Credit Graham Burrell

As reported earlier, Mark Kennedy’s Imps are thought to be talking to midfielder Alistair Smith of Sutton United. He’s a player we don’t know a huge amount about, but we know someone who does.

To recap, Pete O’Rourke is suggesting we’re after the 24-year-old midfielder, who started his career at Mansfield Town. He had loan spells with Loughborough Dynamo, Frickley, Altrincham and Kettering before joining Altrincham permanently. He had a standout season for them, ensuring a move to Sutton after their Football League promotion in July 2021. He’s since bagged 14 goals in two seasons, five last season and nine the season before, with four assists also. This past season he won their Young Player of the Year and it seems he’s got a big future.

He is now reported to be a target of ours to replace the outgoing Max Sanders, I spoke to Mike Dowling of the Sutton Podcast about the former Mansfield trainee to see what he thought of the midfielder.

Here’s what he had to say.

Alistair Smith is a detestable character, a malign influence on the dressing room, and a lacklustre footballer who exerts minimal effort…….. are all the claims I would love to make to any club that comes snooping around him. Regrettably, for me, none of these allegations holds a shred of truth!

When Smith joined our ranks last season, it was apparent we had a gem on our hands. His towering height belies a deceptive strength that often catches opponents off guard. He is a complete footballer, skilled in the arts of passing, tackling, and shooting. If I recall correctly, he was our top goal scorer last season with nine goals to his name (he claims ten, but one was a dubious deflection that I’m certain didn’t earn him a goal bonus from our chairman!).

Smith’s development over the past two seasons has been remarkable due to the experience gained playing alongside seasoned professionals like Craig Eastmond. One of the greatest testament to his talent was his ability to keep the brilliant Harry Beautyman out of the side. Both the supporters’ and the players’ acceptance of this was telling – I’m pretty sure even Harry was like, ‘fair play’. In fact, during Smith’s injury layoff this season, there was a noticeable chorus of fans expressing how much the team would miss his influence.

Off the field, Smith is a gentleman. He always has time to chat with fans, and I’ve yet to hear a single negative word about him. We all knew his departure was on the horizon, but I don’t think we are ready. I was surprised we managed to start this recent season with him still in our lineup; only his injury deterred clubs in the January window. With the right club, coaching staff, and supporters, he has the potential to truly thrive. He’s simply outgrown us.

If this transfer does materialise (and I believe there may be a fee involved due to his age – fingers crossed), I can confidently speak on behalf of the overwhelming majority of Sutton supporters in expressing our profound gratitude to Ali for his contributions. We wish him every success in his future and are proud to be part of it.