by Lee Hurley

Dan Smith has given an interview to the Daily Star in which he feels sorry for himself for shattering Abou Diaby’s leg and ruining the career of one of the best midfielders ever to play for Arsenal.

Yammering on about how he is scarred by the incident, was only 19, and has been left wondering what might have been if the tackle had never happened, it’s unbelievable that he sounds like he was the victim of the brutal tackle which left Abou Diaby with a broken and dislocated ankle which he has never been able to fully recover from, rather that the perpetrator.

“Whenever there is a Diaby thing it is always related to me. He could have a migraine and it would be Dan Smith!,” Smith said.

“I think about what might have happened to my career if were not for that tackle, probably every day.

“I had come through the England ranks – Under-16s,17s, 18s, 19s.

“I was a young lad coming through and there were 10-15 minutes left in the Arsenal game and Kevin Ball, the caretaker manager, just said ‘go on and have a good go at it, let the fans see a young lad coming through the ranks’.

Dan Smith on Abou Diaby

“It was my home Premier League debut and I was fired-up. Diaby is 6ft 3ins, 6ft 4ins, he is a giant.

“I am 5ft 10in with heels on. It was one of them where I had already committed to the tackle and once he’s nicked the ball I was just sliding through.

“I am not malicious in any way. If you look at my record before then I wasn’t known as a malicious player.

“As a 19-year-old it did scar me. When you are in that situation and you have a bit of a career going it is tough to take when it is all you are remembered for.

“If you go on pedigree and looks at the stats, it was England 16s, 17s, 18s, 19s and playing for Sunderland in the Premier League.

“I think it took away the pride of playing for the team I always wanted to play for.

“In the space of three games it just went down the drain.”

Abou Diaby was also only 19 at the time and was set for a career in the game that Smith couldn’t only dream of. He had signed for Arsenal only a few months before. Smith was unable to make it in the game because he didn’t have the talent or the ability, Diaby because he met Dan Smith.

This interview has made me so furious, pure victim blaming and ‘why does no-one feel sorry for me?’ – like a drunk driver complaining he has to get the bus after he’s been banned from driving for mowing down some pedestrians, no-one gives a toss about you Smith.

Only one person is responsible for ruining both careers and that is you!

This is not the first time Smith has hit out like this either.

Back in 2014 when Wenger said that Diaby’s problem’s had mostly stemmed from Smith’s tackle, Smith replied to say

“It was not a malicious tackle, he has had other injuries since, as he had before. For Arsene Wenger to say that on television… for me, he’s looking for a scapegoat.

“This is my personal opinion. I never meant to hurt anyone, I never intended to hurt. The referee saw it clearly, I did not receive a red card, I do not even remember if I was warned. It was just a late challenge, that you see every weekend. There is one chance in a million that there is a serious injury. He had the ball when I was already running.

Just a ‘late’ challenge, eh?

“I have compassion for him, it was not easy, he has had a lot of injuries since. But if you take all of his career, you can not say he missed his life because of this injury. The last time I checked, he still earned 60,000 pounds a week while I work full-time in Australia.

“If this has been an obstacle in his career, obviously I apologise to him, but he must not forget that there are people less fortunate than himself.

“I tried to contact him right after. After the meeting, I went on Match of the Day for a public apology and tried to contact him. The club did get my message of apology and I tried to call him, but he did not call me back. I apologised, it was the best thing to do.

“It’s not luck, but we have seen worse tackles since. There was Shawcross who broke Ramsey’s leg, but we saw the Welshman come back and have very good seasons since. When talking about injuries, I think I’m an easy target.

“[After Sunderland] I signed for Aberdeen, for four years. I did not play, although I was not badly injured. From the time I left Sunderland, I kept getting injuries.

“I came back and then I relapsed. I went to St Johnstone and Huddersfield, but I got to a point where the injury got the better of me too. The clubs could not take the risk.

“I did the cartilage on both knees, twice, and the cruciate ligaments in addition to twisting. This shows that injuries, if you take my example, are part of the football business.

“With all due respect to him, Diaby is a great player, but he has always had a reputation for being more injury-prone than others. What happened between me and him is unfortunate.

“But there are more serious cases than his, in lower leagues, less publicised, and that annoys me a bit. There are a lot of players like me whose career crashes, and must find a job to live. Diaby has the chance to earn a good life, at least.

“If you look at the path of Diaby, he is still a French international, despite his injuries. He still had a fantastic career. Since the injury he had because of me, he represented France and is still a great player.

“It is ironic, indeed, it could be karma… I don’t know. It’s part of football. I accepted the fact that certain things happen in a football career.

“You know, I too would dream of always playing at the top level. You get on the pitch knowing you can get hurt, either on a voluntary fault or an insignificant moment. That is football.”

He wasn’t injury-prone until he met you and it is right to blame you for the injuries that have followed – so severe was the break inflicted that his body has never been able to fully recover.

Go f*** yourself, Smith.

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.