Richard is a Leicester boy who lived the dream & played for his home town team on the hallowed turf of Wembley.
Click on the pictures to visit Kates Race for Life page
LTID:How did you get into playing football & from what age? RS:It all started very early from what I'm told. My parents say I was never without a football as soon as I could walk.
LTID:Who were the first teams that you played for as a child? RS:The first team that I played for was the school, Blaby Stokes, we were very successful winning the Rice bowl 3 out of the 4 junior years I was there. Then it was Wigston fields, then Oadby Town, again very successful winning all of the major trophies.
LTID:Did you always want to be professional footballer & if
you hadn’t what career path would you have followed? RS:I was foolish enough to decide football was all that i wanted to do, school and everything else was never taken seriously. As for what other career i would have followed, as Brian Little said, I would have made a great baseball player.
LTID:When you were starting out which footballer was your hero
& why? RS:I remember standing on some railings at the clock tower with my step dad watching the city players parade the Division 2 championship I think in 1982. & as I was pointing Eddie Kelly spotted me and gave me a thumbs up and a wave.....from that day forward he was the man
City were your boyhood
team, what if you couldn’t have signed for LCFC which other club would you have
liked to sign for? RS:Well I had trials at Notts County, Notts Forest and Derby. Not sure that any of those would've gone down well with my family and friends, but Forest did treat me very well, but thats all Iwill say on that!
YTS forms for City in 1988, could you ever have believed then that you would
end up playing at Wembley for them ? RS:You have dreams and visions but seriously playing at wembly for your hometown club in one of the biggest games that the club has ever been involved with.....never!!
LTID:Your first game for LCFC was in April 1990 against Oldham
Athletic what are your memories of that game & do you still have that
shirt? RS:I don't have the shirt but if anyone does I'll buy it off them. As for memories, I was so nervous I think it just passed me by. Making sure I did the right thing on the pitch is all that I can remember, but it was 21 years ago!
LTID:Your first start for The Foxes was against Blackburn Rovers
which was also the last game in Charge for David Pleat, your memories of that
game & the subsequent sacking of Pleat. RS:What I do remember about the game was that Pleat kept calling me Robert, he had a habit of mixing up peoples names, it didnt fill me with confidence but perhaps he had other things on his mind like trying to keep his job. All in all a very proud moment for me.
LTID:What were your impressions of new Manager Brian Little? RS:First impressions were good, like all new managers he said, it was a new start for him and a new start for all of the players at the club. i remember thinking that this is my time. I was very fit and raring to go. Brians line up and tatics suited me and he loved the long throw ins!
LTID:You missed the end of the 91/92 season with a hernia problem
which also ment you missed the play off final v Blackburn Rovers. Did you think
that you had missed your chance or did you still believe you’d get another
chance to play at Wembley? RS:Massive disappointment but Brian took me with the squad to Wembly to give me the experience and it was aproud day for me to be involved but I did feel that maybe I had missed my chance.
LTID:This was the season you got your only goals for the club,
one of which was the winner in the FA Cup 3rd round v Crystal Palace. What do you remember about the
game & the goal in particular ? RS:Both goals were at the Filbert Street end which sits well with me as thats were I used to sit with my step dad Paul sometimes. Until I got brave and ended up in the kop. Natural progression I guess. Palace were the finalists the year before I think so were massive favourites. we hadn't been past the third round for about 100 years it felt like, so to score that goal at the end, in the last minute and avolley I might add, was the highlight of my career. I dont remember too much after that as you can imagine. I can remember not having to buy a beer for a weeks after!
LTID:You did appear again at Wembley the following season in the
Play Off final v Swindon
Town, which some people
including myself rate as the greatest
game we never won. A) What
was it like playing against Glen Hoddle? RS: Playing against one of the most gifted players of a generation was a truly fantastic feeling as we lined up in the tunnel I had to shake his hand and wish him luck as i didnt want the moment to pass.
are your memories of that game? RS:I remember feeling so proud as we walked out, very nervous, but one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. That game was full of every emotion possible. I dont remember too much about the game other than looking at the city fans after the final whistle and seeing them on their feet and on the fence singing and clapping as if we had won. A nice feeling after such disappointment.
LTID:Most people remember the ¼ final v Shrewsbury
Town in the 80’s for goalkeeping
changes, but this season you also went in goal replacing Carl Muggleton v Oxford Town.
Tell us about that. RS:Muggy strained his back just before half time I think and it was before substituTe goal keepers were about. Brian had seen me performing heroics on the training pitch a few times so he said Smudger, get your gloves on. To be fair, i didnt have much to do in the second half but at least I can say i kept a clean sheet for city.
LTID:You played for City in The Premiership can you pick out your
favourite game?RS:To be honest there weren't many good moments that season but playing against Beardsley and Cole in your first Premier league game was a real test of character. Although we lost i really enjoyed that game. LTID:Brian Little left soon into that season to be replaced by
your 3rd City manager Mark McGhee. How would you rate McGhee against
Little & Pleat ?RS:For me McGhee doesn't come anywhere close to Pleat or Little, thats just my opinion, I found him unapproachable and arrogant. But football is all about opinions after all.
LTID:You went on loan to Grimsby not long after this. How did this come about
?RS:I had been out injured for a while and on my way back to fitness when out of the blue Brian Laws rang me and asked if I fancied a month with Grimsby as they had lots of injuries at the time. I just wanted to play football and as Grimsby were in Division 1 I thought it would be good for me.
LTID:You had five seasons at Grimsby, how do you remember your time there? RS:I remember the playing side of things at Grimsby being a great experience, we had some very good players at the time and Grimsby always tried to play good football. We held our own in Division 1 for 3 or 4 seasons and we had top 10 finishes. Grimsby was a small club without much ambition and things finally started to catch up with them
LTID:Injury brought your career to an end, talk us through that. RS:Oh yes the injury! This was the time that I feel out of love with football for quite sometime. I had had a back problem for quite sometime, dating back to my days at Leicester. It got so bad that I could only play and not train and I was laid up after the games to recover for the next game. A decision was made to have a spinal fusion operation done, which is where they fuse together vertabraes in between which the disc was completely dehydrated therefore causing pain.It proved to be the final nail in the coffin as it took me over a year to recover to the point that I could train again. Leenie Lawrence was the manager at the time and he gave me a ridiculously small amount of time to prove my fitness or my contract would not be renewed. And that was that. I left Grimsby and moved straight back to Leicester with my family.
LTID:Do you ever look back and think, “I wish I’d still been
there when O’Neill took over?” RS: I was there under O'Neill but Martin made it clear that I wasn't in his first 11 so I moved fairly quickly after that. But yes of course it would have been fantastic to have been a part of that success, but it was not meant to be.
LTID:how do you remember your time at Leicester City?
RS:I remember my time at Leicester very fondly. I started with them at 9 years old and left at 26. They took care of me, made me part of the club, I felt protective of it when new players came in, made them welcome of course but wanted them to try hard for the club.
LTID:Whats was the best & the worst game you have ever played
in & why ?RS:The best game is pretty obvious I think, although we lost it was an honour to play at Wembley for my home town club, something that I will never forget! The worst was probably the 7-1 defeat at Newcastle earlier that season.Although we did draw 1-1 in the second half!
LTID:What are your current thoughts about the LCFC team ? RS:The team at the moment is showing signs of brilliance and the expectations are growing, but it is still not a side that is complete. Still a lot of hard work to be done on and off the pitch.
LTID:Do you think Sven is the man to take us back to the glory
years enjoyed under O’Neill ?RS:Its a very different feeling to the O'Neill era as they are 2 very different personalities. But Sven has the pulling power for high profile players and that could lead to success. But O'Neill is in a different league I feel, he started with nothing and left with everything.
LTID:Do you still have any involvement with Leicester City
& do you get to The Walkers very often ?RS:I'm not directly involved with the club anymore but I do get invited to ex-player functions etc which is good. I have done commentary on Radio Leicester a couple of times and I try to get to see as many games as I can, although its sometimes hard to find the time these days.
LTID: What’s this we hear about you and nuns? RS: No Comment!!!
LTID:Tell me about your Wife, Kate’s, involvement in the Race for
Life Charity & how can people support this & donate ?RS: In June 2010 Kate was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. The treatment has been gruelling and is still ongoing now, as a family we have found it a very difficult time. To see Kate lose her hair as a result of the treatment and feel so poorly has been hard but the battle continues. It has brought it to our immediate attention the importance of charitys such as Cancer Research UK. Their work is incredibly important and Kate and her circle of friends decided that this was the time, when it is so close to our hearts, to raise as much money as possible. Cancer touches all of our lives, we all know someone who has it or someone who knows someone who has it, please if you can sponsor Kate, as little or as much as you can please do so at www.raceforlifesponsorme.org/kateogleby-smith . It really is important.