‘The club is running through my heart'

Kelly Smith’s career took her to clubs all over the world, but in her heart she always knew there was only one place she that felt like home.

Having grown up in Watford, England’s record goalscorer is a lifelong Arsenal fan and, either side of representing four different American teams, she lifted 20 major trophies across three spells in north London.

Now 38, Smith called time on her playing career at the start of the month, but has taken on a full-time coaching role at the club which “runs through her heart”.

“I’ve had a great career,” she told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “I’ve played in the States for a number of professional sides and I’ve always come back to my beloved Arsenal.

“I developed a good relationship with Vic Akers over the years and there was always only one club running through my heart, which was Arsenal. Every time I’ve left, I’ve always wanted to come back to pull on the red shirt and represent the club that I love.

“I’ve had loads of highlights playing for Arsenal, especially last season when we won the FA Cup at Wembley, the first time that Arsenal Ladies have been to Wembley. Walking up those famous steps to lift the trophy was phenomenal because we weren’t supposed to beat Chelsea.

“They were the favourites and we were the underdogs, but we put on a fantastic display in front of a record crowd at Wembley. Obviously winning the Champions League in an unbeaten quadruple-winning season back in 2001 was a highlight too.

“Those are two which stick in my mind, but every time I’ve played for Arsenal has been a pleasure.”

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