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Don Deal: Tommy Smith signs for MK Dons

Experienced defender becomes signing number six...

28 July 2023

Club News

Don Deal: Tommy Smith signs for MK Dons

Experienced defender becomes signing number six...

28 July 2023

MK Dons have completed the signing of centre-back Tommy Smith on a free transfer.

Smith, 33, has spent the past two weeks training with the Dons following his departure from Colchester United last month, and has now made his move to Stadium MK a permanent one.

A product of Ipswich Town’s Academy, Smith has totalled 440 professional club appearances to date across spells with the Tractor Boys, Brentford, Colorado Rapids and, most recently, Colchester, with whom he wore the captain’s armband.

Smith is also an experienced New Zealand international with 50 caps to his name. He has represented the All Whites at the World Cup and the Olympics while he also became their youngest-ever captain in May 2012.

He becomes the Club’s sixth signing this summer, following the arrivals of Alex Gilbey, Cameron Norman, Nathan Harness, Craig MacGillivray and MJ Williams.

“It’s brilliant to get the deal sorted and over the line,” Smith said in an exclusive first interview with iFollow MK Dons. “I’m delighted to be here and hopefully I can help contribute to a successful season.

“I got a call from the Gaffer to see if I’d be interested in coming in to train and I jumped at the chance. I have enjoyed my couple of weeks here so far, getting to know the manager and the players, so it was an easy decision to sign.

“This is quite a young squad and I know the Gaffer wants me to come in and use my experience as much as I can, on and off the pitch. First and foremost, I want to contribute on the pitch and help the team get points on the board but naturally I’ll try and be an experienced voice and help the players around me.”

Born in Cheshire, Smith began his football career with Ipswich Town, progressing through their youth system to sign professional terms in August 2007, shortly after being named the Tractor Boys’ Young Player of the Year.

He spent time on loan with Stevenage during the 2007/08 campaign, before making his professional debut for Ipswich Town in their Championship fixture with Preston North End at the start of the following season.

Smith spent a total of 11 professional years at Portman Road, totalling 267 appearances as well as scoring 23 goals and providing 11 assists. He was named Ipswich’s Player of the Year in 2013 and helped them reach the Championship Play-Offs in 2015.

During his time in Suffolk, he enjoyed loan spells at Brentford and Colchester United. He would later join the U’s permanently but not before a 22-month spell in the USA with Colorado Rapids – Smith joined the MLS outfit in January 2018 and played 64 games for them before returning to the UK in November 2019.

Smith signed a short-term contract with Sunderland in February 2020 but, owing to the Coronavirus pandemic, never made an appearance for the Black Cats. Instead, ahead of the 2020/21 season, he returned to Colchester, penning a permanent deal with his former loan club.

Spending the past three seasons in Essex, Smith totalled 101 games for the U’s, scoring three goals and providing two assists. He was also Colchester’s club captain last season.

Head Coach Graham Alexander said of his new signing: “Adding Tommy’s abilities on the pitch, as well as his character off it, will be a big thing for us. He’s a no-nonsense defender, who will go in where it will hurt but he’s also someone who is tactically aware and can pass that information on to the team.

“He played in the pre-season game against Barnet and then came with us to Germany. We liked how he trained and how he interacted with everybody. He also showed us how motivated he is to contribute to the team this season.

“Already, in the short space of time that he’s been with us, we have seen him pass on the experience and knowledge he has from playing at a higher level and internationally. However, he’s not coming in to just be a mouthpiece for us – he’s motivated to be a valuable player for us.”


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