Divided loyalties for ex-Hereford United star Ben Smith at Crawley Town

Ben Smith starred in an FA Cup tie at Leeds in the 2007-8 season which he says was the most enjoyable of his career.

Ben Smith starred in an FA Cup tie at Leeds in the 2007-8 season which he says was the most enjoyable of his career.

First published in News Hereford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

FORMER Hereford United star Ben Smith admits he won’t know whether to laugh or cry after the final whistle on Saturday.

Smith is now a Crawley Town player and victory over Hereford at the Broadfield Stadium could relegate United from the Football League.

And three points for Crawley against United could clinch automatic promotion for the Reds.

“It’s a huge game for both teams for very different reasons,” said Smith, who is out of contract at the end of the campaign.

“We are in with a chance of automatic promotion and are a point better off than Torquay. We need to win.

“It’s in our own hands and if we pick up more points than Torquay, then we’ll be promoted. It might happen on Saturday.”

Smith has been recalled from his loan spell at Aldershot Town by caretaker boss Craig Brewster.

“I hope to help Crawley in whatever way I can to gain promotion. We need to go up.”

The ex-Bulls favourite is a Hereford United fan and is, of course, good friends with Jamie Pitman.

He has chatted about the Bulls’ plight with Steve Guinan, who watched Hereford’s draw with Plymouth on Good Friday.

“I have spoken to Jamie fleetingly since the changes at Edgar Street and I know Richard O’Kelly,” said Smith, who has just passed his Uefa B coaching course. “Everyone who knows Rich will say that he’s a top quality coach and his enthusiasm is superb.

“Rich went into a near-impossible situation because he’s got to work with the players he’s got.

“He hasn’t had a lot of time or room to bring players in.

“I spoke to Steve Guinan who went to the Plymouth game and I bumped into Rich and Jamie when they came down to watch a Crawley game.”

Smith says the most enjoyable season of his career was when the Bulls secured automatic promotion from League Two in 2008.

“I am a Hereford United fan and that day at Brentford was special and that season has been the most enjoyable of my career,” he said.

“We’ve not too many good days since then. I think everyone who supports Hereford is a bit disappointed with this season — but that’s football.”

He said that relegation from the Football League would be heartbreaking for United’s fans but it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

“I know that some people think that relegation from the Football League is like the end of the world — but it’s not.

“You only have to look at the likes of Luton to see that the Blue Square Premier is a really strong league.

“If you are playing good football and getting wins, it doesn’t matter what league you play in because the crowds will come and watch.”

He said: “In my ideal situation, Crawley will win on Saturday to go up and Hereford will beat Torquay on the last day to remain in the Football League.”

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