Smith begins search for new club

Wednesday 11th January 2006
Former Gillingham captain Paul Smith is inviting offers from other clubs after being left without a team to play for.


The 34-year-old midfielder ripped up an 18-month contract at Walsall to join the Gills on loan in a two-month spell that lasted until Christmas.


He claims he was promised a full-time deal by Gillingham when he agreed to leave the Saddlers - but it did not materialise and he is now a free agent.
Smith told BBC Sport: "It is a bad situation and I should not be in it."
Smith spent eight years with the Gills - from 1997 to 2005 - before leaving for Walsall last summer.
He planned to move to the Midlands with his wife and two young children but changed his mind when the chance to return to Gillingham arose in the autumn.
"I was in no rush to leave Walsall because it is a good club but it was the lure of coming back down south and going back to Gillingham, where I had been for so long and knew everyone, that was behind my decision," he added.

"I suppose my affection for Gillingham cost me in the end because really I should have said no but I was desperate to get back there.
"One minute I was playing for them, then the next minute I am not - and the contract offer is taken away.
"Gillingham have made up their minds they do not want me and there is not a lot I can do. I just need to put this experience behind me and get another club."
With over 600 senior appearances behind him, Smith is now weighing up his next move and will welcome any offers.
"Beggars can't be choosers," he said. "Whatever comes along I will consider.
"I spoke to my agent on Tuesday and there are a few things in the pipeline - a couple of clubs that he is waiting to hear from.
"Hopefully, soon I will have a better idea of what is going on and even have something sorted out.

"If I sign somewhere until the summer - which is what I think will probably happen - and I can get some games under my belt, then by the summer I will have been in the shop window and I can look again.

"I am 34 but these days that is nothing - players look after themselves far better than they did 10 years ago.
"I feel as good now as I did four or five years ago. I will play on until I cannot carry on and at the moment I still feel I have a lot to offer someone.
"It is a case of finding the right team, hopefully locally. If it is not local I will have to weigh up my options and I might have to be away from my family for the next four or five months.
"I have had a few offers from non-League teams to train a couple of days a week and play some games. So if nothing is happening and it is near the end of January I will go and speak to them and play for them in the short-term."
Despite his predicament, Smith is still upbeat and is taking the positives out of his experience.
"It is a tough lesson to learn with a wife and two kids to support," he added.
"But what it does is open your eyes to the real world. With football you are in this little bubble - then all of a sudden it has gone.
"All I have done is football and it is all I know, so this is a proper eye-opener. You think to yourself 'blimey, in a few years this is what it is going to be like permanently'.
"When I have stopped playing I am going to be doing something else - so if I can sort myself out in the next 18 months or so it will help.
"I am thinking of going to get myself a trade or some qualifications because I am definitely going to need them when I finish playing."