Back in 2006/07, Arsenal Women won the quadruple, with Kelly Smith at the heart of their 44-game unbeaten run, featuring 42 wins, while being involved in a curious incident too.
On a very cold November 4, 2006, in a ground situated outside the Danish capital Copenhagen, Kelly Smith had a splendid game but also showed her dark side by getting two bookings and being sent-off.
During the first leg of that UEFA Women’s Cup semi-final, Smith had a blinder in her usual playmaking role, leading the team and scoring a brace, including a marvellous free-kick from 25 yards that went top corner in the 2-2 away draw.
She has always had a fiery character, and because she was often singled out and kicked in games, the Arsenal star never had any problem giving back as good as she was getting.
During that game, she definitely did enough to get sent-off, as I remember thinking she should have been booked three times. The referee was kind to her, overlooking a wild tackle that could have seen her pick up a second yellow at the time.
In the end, she was given her marching orders for a second booking and had to go to the dressing room, unfortunately, situated on the opposite side of the ground, causing the midfielder to have to walk around the whole stadium to get there.
And as she was going round the ground and being booed loudly, Smith made a rude hand gesture to the crowd, something you rarely see at a women’s football game. The incident was reported to UEFA whose disciplinary committee suspended the Arsenal playmaker for three games.
A strong punishment as we were reaching the final stages of the tournament, and it meant Smith had to sit out of the second leg of the semi-final. Arsenal obviously appealed the punishment but to no avail and the team carried on towards glory winning the second leg against Brondby 3-0.
In the two-legged final, they proceeded to beat Umea IK, the Swedish team that were full-time professionals while Arsenal were still semi-pro and training just two times a week.
Alex Scott scored the lone goal in the 1-0 away win, with heroic defending and a masterclass in goal from Emma Byrne ensuring a clean sheet and a goaless draw in the return leg at Borehamwood.
Arsenal Ladies were crowned European Champions, a feat unmatched by any other side in English club in the Women’s game. Kelly Smith indiscretion did not cost the team in the end, thanks to the overall quality available to Vic Akers, but it certainly deprived her of taking part in the greatest moment of the club’s history.