By Alex Stevens

Alan Smith has claimed that he does not blame Leeds fans for jeering him after he joined Newcastle.

The former Elland Road striker played 172 games for his boyhood club before the Yorkshire giants suffered financial meltdown.

With Leeds having just been relegated from the Premier League, Smith was offloaded to United for £7million in 2004 and then switched to Newcastle for £1.7million in 2007.

The 35-year-old converted midfielder, who now plays for for League Two outfit Notts County, faced Leeds for the first time in 2009 during a pre-season friendly for Newcastle.

Responding to a question about the response he got from angry Leeds fans, Smith told Four Four Two: “It wasn’t too bad. I’m not silly – I don’t live in a world where I think football fans would be complimentary about players who leave their club.

“If I had been a Leeds fan and one of the players had left for a rival club, I’d probably have booed. But if nobody cared when I left and wished me well because they weren’t bothered about me going, I’d have failed as a player.

“Leeds are the club I support. I’ve never spoken about leaving, but I don’t need to justify it given the circumstances at the time.”

Smith also revealed to Four Four Two that he did not want to quit Leeds 12 years ago at a time when he was an England international playing at the club he had supported.

“I would probably never have left if we hadn’t gone down, but Leeds were trying to sell me to the highest bidder,” he said.