Smith: These are strange times

  • Touching gesture: Jonté Smith receives a handmade glass cabinet from Cheltenham Town fan Geoff Bryant to commemorate his maiden hat-trick in professional football.

(Photograph courtesy of Cheltenham Town)

    Touching gesture: Jonté Smith receives a handmade glass cabinet from Cheltenham Town fan Geoff Bryant to commemorate his maiden hat-trick in professional football. (Photograph courtesy of Cheltenham Town)


Jonté Smith is adapting to life without competitive football.

The Cheltenham Town striker’s career has been on hold since all elite football in Britain was suspended until at least April 3 as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

All games in England’s Premier League, English Football League, Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship, plus in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, have been postponed.

The Premier League said play will start on April 4 subject to “conditions at the time” while the EFL hopes to resume play a day earlier.

“It’s a strange time for football right now; I can’t remember in recent history a time where football was suspended all over the world,” Smith told The Royal Gazette.

“The governing bodies are going to have to come up with a decision based off of the health and safety of everyone.

“However, they can’t make an informed decision until the respective country comes out the other side of this Covid-19 outbreak, so we all just need to be patient, listen to the guidelines set out by the Government, doctors and, more importantly, think of others.

“From my understanding it’s less effective on the younger generation, but can easily be passed on to parents, grandparents, who are more at risk.

“I hope that everyone can take into consideration the effect that it could have on families, even though it may not be as detrimental to you personally.”

Among the proposals reported to be under consideration is having matches played behind closed doors, however, Smith said he would be against such as a move.

“I don’t think playing behind closed doors is the answer, football is nothing without the fans,” the Bermuda forward said.

“They have such an impact on each game with the songs that they sing, the way they drive their teams on cheering during play. As players, we feel that extra push when we play.”

Meanwhile, Smith said he was humbled by the kind gesture of a fan who presented him with a gift commemorating his maiden hat-trick at the professional level. He netted a treble on his full debut to inspire his team to a 4-3 win over West Ham United Under-21 in the EFL Trophy last October. Cheltenham supporter Geoff Bryant presented Smith with a glass cabinet he had made to house the match ball.

“I was deeply touched to receive this type of gift from a fan,” Smith said. “It was a big moment for me when I scored my first professional hat-trick, and to now have a display case to commemorate that moment for ever means so much to me.” It shows what the game means to the players and the fans.”

Smith, who signed for the Sky Bet League Two side on transfer deadline day last August, has had his contract extended until the end of the season.

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Published Mar 18, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Mar 17, 2020 at 8:04 pm)

Smith: These are strange times

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