Paul Smith (footballer Born 1971)

Paul Smith (footballer Born 1971)

Paul William Smith (born 18 September 1971) is an English professional footballer.

Smith was born in East Ham, London and began his career as a trainee with Southend United, turning professional in 1990. He found his chances limited at Roots Hall and after a loan spell with Dover Athletic moved on to Brentford in August 1993 on a free transfer.

In August 1997 he joined Gillingham, where he enjoyed the most successful spell of his career. He captained the Kent side for a lengthy spell and was also named the club's player of the year on an unprecedented four occasions, although his final reign ended in a bizarre dispute with chairman Paul Scally in which Smith reportedly refused to hand back the trophy until he was paid money he claimed the club owed him.

He left Priestfield in 2005, after the team were relegated to Football League One and he was offered reduced terms.

In July 2005 he joined Walsall, returning to Gillingham in October 2005 to play three times in a loan spell. He moved to Swindon Town in January 2006, but was released in June 2006 after Swindon sacked manager Iffy Onuora.

He joined A.F.C. Sudbury in October 2006, but returned to league football when he joined Torquay United on January 29, 2007. He played eight times for Torquay as they were relegated to the Conference National. On the eve of the transfer window in August 2007, he joined Barnet, but just one day later Bees manager Paul Fairclough decided he didn't want the player and released him. Smith made one appearance for Great Wakering Rovers at the start of the 2007-08 season before moving to St Albans City for whom he made four starts before returning to A.F.C. Sudbury on the 18 October 2007.

In May 2008 he joined Margate as a player/coach, forming part of a new management team headed by first team manager Barry Ashby, but the pair were sacked in October of the same year. Smith next signed for Billericay Town, and on his debut scored the winning goal against Margate.

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