November 25, 2016 by Shane Ireland
Brentford manager Dean Smith has insisted that his boyhood ties to Aston Villa are consigned to the past ahead of his side’s clash against Birmingham City on Saturday.
Smith, born in West Bromwich, grew up supporting Villa before joining Walsall as a youngster in 1989.
But rather than stoking the rivalry, the Griffin Park boss played down his links to Blues’ rivals.
“It was hard not to have noticed the Villa-Birmingham rivalry growing up in the city, but it wasn’t always as much as a rivalry as it is now,” Smith told Get West London.
“My dad was a steward at Villa Park for 25 years, but told me he used to go there one week and St Andrews the following week. That’s how football was back then.
“But I’m not connected to Aston Villa now, I’m all about Brentford Football Club now now, and I’m looking forward to getting our season back on track. I’ve also been involved with professional football since I was 16, and I’m now 45, so it’s been a long time since I was a supporter.”
Blues will hope to retain their place in the Championship play-off spots after last week’s 1-0 win against Bristol City.
Gary Rowett’s side currently sit in 5th place, a point above Norwich City in 6th and two points ahead of Leeds United in 7th.