Alan Smith: Why I wore a dicky bow straight after Leicester relegation

"You can imagine how that went down!"

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Alan Smith tells Patrick Davison why he sat awkwardly in a dicky bow and suit in the changing rooms just moments after his Leicester side were relegated from the top flight in 1987

Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith explains why he was awkwardly suited and booted in the Leicester dressing room just after their relegation in 1987.

Former Arsenal striker Smith had signed for Arsenal in the March of 1987, but had gone back on loan to Leicester, where he had played for five years, until the end of the season with the hope of avoiding the drop.

But a final-day draw with Oxford United saw Leicester relegated, and unluckily for Smith coincided with an end-of-season dinner at Arsenal, prompting the front man to speedily don his best suit in preparation for the do on Park Lane.

Smith went on to be a huge success at Arsenal, scoring 115 goals in eight seasons at Highbury, and here, speaking with Patrick Davison, he recalls the awkward scenario that kicked off his Gunners career...

"I'd signed for Arsenal on deadline day, which was the third Thursday in March back in those days. But I'd gone back on loan to Leicester, to help them avoid relegation.

"It went to the last day of the season, Oxford United away, and we needed a result, as well as depending on results elsewhere. In the end, it was a drab 0-0, awful game, and results went against us elsewhere. On the final whistle we'd heard we were down. Awful moment.

Alan Smith at his testimonial against Sampdoria in November 1995
Image: Smith went on to have a fine career with Arsenal, scoring 115 times in eight seasons

"I've taken my shirt off, thrown it into the away end, said goodbye to the Leicester fans, gone into the dressing room and obviously the lads are absolutely desolate.

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"As it happens, Arsenal were having an end-of-season dinner at the Hilton in Park Lane that evening, and it was my chance to meet the lads for the first time. It was a black tie dinner, and I brought my dicky bow and dinner suit with me for the dinner to the game!

"So all the lads are distraught, heads down, couldn't speak. So I have to jump in the shower, jump out, get the old dicky bow on, and say: 'Sorry lads, I'd love to stay and chat, but I've got to go down to my new club's end-of-season dinner!'

"You can imagine how that went down! So I've left in a fluster - and I think I scraped my car on the way out of the car park, and got straight on the M40. That was the end of my Leicester career!"

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