Former Ipswich Town favourite Tommy Smith on his ‘crazy’ move to Sunderland

Tommy Smith has signed for Sunderland on a deal to the end of the season. Picture: SAFC

Tommy Smith has signed for Sunderland on a deal to the end of the season. Picture: SAFC - Credit: Archant

Former Ipswich Town central defender Tommy Smith has described the ‘crazy’ circumstances which saw him sign for Sunderland earlier this year.

Tommy Smith has signed for Sunderland on a deal to the end of the season. Picture: ARCHANT/SAFC

Tommy Smith has signed for Sunderland on a deal to the end of the season. Picture: ARCHANT/SAFC - Credit: Archant

Smith, who came through the Ipswich academy and played 268 times for the Blues before departing in 2018, was a free agent after leaving MLS side Colorado Rapids and joined the Black Cats having previously trained with Ipswich’s Under 23s on his return to England.

He’s yet to make his Sunderland debut, though.

“One of their centre-backs had picked up an injury. I wasn’t meant to sign until the Monday, but I got a phone call on the Friday lunchtime saying ‘we need you to sign today so you can be in the squad tomorrow’,” Smith told US Sports Scholarships.

MORE: An iconic skipper, a homegrown quartet and the joker in the pack - the Ipswich players signed up for coronavirus charity game“That was crazy. It was almost like a deadline day scenario where they had a deadline to hit on the Friday so I could be involved. It was great to be involved and the atmosphere… there are 30,000 in League One and that just shows the passion that the fans have here. I left the MLS in October, played internationals in November but hadn’t played any games since.”

He added: “I’d kept myself fit but unless you’re playing matches, you can’t get that match sharpness back. I was just getting there, and the manager had told me he thought I was looking sharp, and then the season got suspended. I was obviously very disappointed, but at the same time football is very minor in the grand scheme of things.”

Ipswich boss Paul Lambert was asked about the possibility of bringing Smith back to Town on a number of occasions and, while a potential move is understood to have been discussed, a deal was not done.


You may also want to watch:


Lambert said at the time: “Tommy’s got his own career in the States after whatever he’s had here and you can’t keep revisiting that. It’s crazy. You’ve got to move on.

“The lad done great here and was terrific but you have to move on. Football doesn’t wait for anyone.”

Most Read

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter