Liverpool fans never attacked my ambulance, insists Alan Smith

The former Manchester United player dismissed one of the most depressing football tales in the latest issue of FourFourTwo magazine.

Liverpool fans never attacked my ambulance, insists Alan Smith

In the Anfield clash of United and Liverpool in February 2006, Smith suffered a horrible injury, breaking his leg and dislocating his ankle as he attempted to block a free kick from John Arne Riise.

With the usual bad blood bubbling between supporters of the clubs, rumours quickly spread after the game that Liverpool fans had attacked the ambulance taking Smith to hospital, throwing bottles and rocking the vehicle from side to side.

At the time, a spokesperson for the Merseyside ambulance trust confirmed an attack to the BBC: "It did not result in any delay in transferring the player to hospital but the trust cannot condone this type of behaviour while administering emergency treatment."

But Smith now insists no such thing took place.

"It didn't happen - fans were still in the ground. I went back to Liverpool a few years later with Newcastle and had a great reception.

"I had loads of mail from fans after the injury, including a lot from Liverpool.”

Reports of the injury at the time suggested Smith was given a general anaesthetic before he left the stadium so may not have been aware of all that happened en route to hospital.

Nevertheless, the player bears no ill-will towards Liverpool and praises the way his rivals handled his career-threatening injury:

“Liverpool's medical staff were great. They were worried because there was no blood flowing that I could have had a club foot. Some might say I might as well have in my left foot now.

"It wasn't Riise's fault and he came to see me. The dislocated ankle was worse than the leg break because I snapped ligaments and there were complications.”

Smith also told FourFourTwo that the injury proved a turning point in his career and life.

"I knew I was never going to be the same player. I've appreciated every game I've played since that injury, I know how close I was to being finished."

“I attacked my injury as another challenge and it proved to be the biggest challenge of my career, keeping me out for 15 months.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox