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Monday 27 May 2013

On this day: Alan Smith moves to Old Trafford

Looking back at Premier League history, we recall a high-profile signing for Sir Alex Ferguson

  • Alan Smith is unveiled as a Manchester United player alongside Liam Miller

  • Smith's first Barclays Premier League goal came in the victory over Norwich City

  • He suffered an horrific leg injury in an FA Cup defeat to Liverpool

  • Smith helped Man Utd to the League title in his final season at Old Trafford

Premierleague.com rifles through the annals of the Barclays Premier League to find significant events.

On this day: 27 May 2004 - Alan Smith swaps Leeds for Man Utd

Alan Smith ended his love affair with Leeds United and made his move to Manchester United.

The 23-year-old left Elland Road after Leeds were relegated from the Barclays Premier League and joined an impressive forward line at Old Trafford after signing a four-year deal.

Smith had made his name as one of the brightest and most tenacious talents in the country with his displays at Leeds, helping the club to a string of top-five finishes in the top flight as well as an impressive run to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2001.

By signing for Man United, Smith joined the likes of Rio Ferdinand, Eric Cantona, Joe Jordan and Gordon McQueen in making the move from Elland Road to Old Trafford.

"I grew up at Leeds and spent some wonderful years there, and I would like to thank everyone at the club," said Smith. "Now I feel it's the right time to move on and there could be no better club than Manchester United.

"I have never been more impressed with a young player"
Sir Alex Ferguson on Alan Smith

"To be joining one of the best clubs in the world is fantastic and I'm looking forward to the new challenges."

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson said he was delighted to have added Smith to his squad.

"I have never been more impressed with a young player, his desire to play for Manchester United is fantastic," said Ferguson. "Certain young people come along with a special determination, and after speaking to him I expect that from Alan Smith. That desire will take him a long way."

He scored in his first match for United, in the 3-1 Community Shield defeat by Arsenal, and scored a total of six League goals as the club finished third in the table.

With Wayne Rooney and Ruud van Nistelrooy becoming Ferguson's first-choice strike pairing, Smith was moved to a holding midfield role and became a regular in the side before suffering a horrific leg break and ankle dislocation during an FA Cup tie with Liverpool in February 2006.

The Yorkshireman made an incredible recovery and returned to action seven months later to make nine appearances as United won the League title for the first time in four years in 2007.

Smith's spell at United came to an end that summer when he joined Sam Allardyce's Newcastle United. His is currently plying his trade in League One with MK Dons.

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Key Points

  • Premierleague.com looks back through the annals of history of the competition
  • A memorable event or match from each day of the year will be selected
  • We remember Alan Smith joining Manchester United from Leeds