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Smith & Barclay special guests at AISA evening

Smith & Barclay special guests at AISA evening

100 AISA members enjoyed the opportunity to discuss everything Arsenal with Arsenal legend Alan Smith and respected journalist, Patrick Barclay.

The past, the current and the future were all debated at an evening with Alan Smith, Arsenal legend, now media pundit and commentator, and Patrick Barclay, who now writes for the Standard, and is one the few journalists who has been the main writer for his discipline for all four quality newspapers in England.

Superbly compered by Tom Watt the evening was by turn amusing, fascinating and occasionally controversial. Alan Smith's insights and stories about his playing career were by a short head the most popular parts of the 90 minute event, but Patrick Barclay's stories and opinions were equally enjoyed by the packed audience, with standing room only for latecomers.

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During Alan Smith's time at Arsenal the team won all three major domestic trophies – two League Championships, the FA Cup, the Football League Cup (in the 1993 'Cup Double') and in Europe the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. Memorably he scored the first goal in Arsenal's League Championship winning victory at Anfield in May 1989, and the only goal of the 1994 European Cup Winners' Cup Final victory against Parma. Alan was Arsenal's top scorer for four consecutive seasons, and the top scorer in the First Division in the 1988–89 season with 23 goals.

He received just one yellow card throughout his entire career and retired from professional football in July 1995. In eight seasons at Highbury, he scored a total of 86 league goals. His first league goals for the club came on 29 August 1987, when he netted a hat-trick against Portsmouth at Highbury. His last came on 12 December 1994 in a 2–1 win over Manchester City at Maine Road. As well as his goals in the 1989 title clinching game and the European triumph of 1994, he scored a hat-trick against Manchester United in the First Division on 6 May 1991.

Patrick Barclay started his career with The Guardian in 1970s. When The Independent was launched in 1986, he was appointed its first football correspondent. He joined The Observer in 1991, and became football correspondent of The Sunday Telegraph in 1996. He joined The Times in February 2009 as its Chief Football Correspondent and became one of the few journalists to be the main writer for his discipline for all four quality newspaper groups in England: Times, Guardian-Observer, Telegraph, and Independent. Barclay left The Times in December 2011 due to cost-cutting measures. In January 2012, he started writing for the London Evening Standard.

Patrick is the author of  "The Life and Times of Herbert Chapman". The Independent review of the book says "Barclay has approached the subject with a mixture of passion and assiduous research. He has the sportswriter’s unfailing tendency to crave the widest possible context but when he applies the wider context to the evolution of football and to how the Britain of the time shaped the Chapman family, the results are extraordinarily rewarding. Barclay traces the first half century of the game so evocatively that one can almost believe he was at some of those early matches".


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