New Years Eve will be the last day that summer signing Paul Smith will be on the books of Walsall FC. In a bizarre revelation Smith has told of how Walsall would continue to pay his wages while on loan with Gillingham until January 1st 2006.
He signed forms when he left terminating his contract on this date. Smith was seemingly offered a verbal contract offer by either Gillingham Chairman Paul Scally or then manager Neale Cooper. Now however Scally has stated there is no money in the budget for no players so Smith will enter the new year unemployed having cancelled his last 18 months of employment with the Saddlers.
Smith left Walsall after going back on a verbal agreement with Walsall that he would move to the West Midlands area. He never moved and picked up injuries from the long commute from Kent. He would not be involved in training every day with the Walsall squad.
It must be said that Smith has been badly advised. In today’s football climate if you sign a contract termination with one club to join another then surely a pre-contract agreement must be signed with the new club? Smith being 34 years old will now find it near impossible to find himself a league club, especially with his reluctance to leave his family home. This might see him joining a non-league Kent team where maybe he can get on the coaching/managerial ladder. One thing for sure though is that this will hit his pocket. He was expected to be on around £2,500 a week at Walsall, he wont be able to command anywhere near this now.
The surprising thing is is that this news has only surfaced now. You would have thought he would have been telling everybody he was available at the end of December. Maybe Walsall had asked him not to say anything so fans would not find out about us paying another teams player wages. Although its better to do this for 3 moths than have a unwanted player on your books for 18 months. Its good for us as a club but i must feel sorry for Paul Smith. Ok his move here did not work out but he is a well respected pro and has been a Gillingham legend who surely deserved to be treated better by them.
Wish him all the best for finding a new club.