Defender Matt Smith says the time was right for him to leave Brisbane Roar and denies his departure is linked to the club’s recent coaching change.
Smith left Brisbane on Saturday after four years and over 100 appearances for the Roar. The captain was granted a release from his contract and has joined Thai outfit Bangkok Glass.
Smith told FourFourTwo he had been considering a move overseas for some time.
“I felt it was the right timing for me and my family at this stage of my footballing career,” the 32-year old said.
“It has been something that has kept coming up during my time at Brisbane, an opportunity presenting itself. However, previously I never thought the timing was right but knew at some stage of my career it could be an option.
“After last year’s Grand Final, my family and I started discussing our future and what we thought would be best for our family and recently been more attune with the idea.”
After winning the double last season, the Roar has struggled this season and coach Mike Mulvey was replaced in November. Dutchman Frans Thijssen has been appointed as caretaker manager.
Smith said his exit from Brisbane is nothing to do with the club or the coaching situation, and admits it has been hard to leave the Roar.
“It was simply a decision that my wife and I decided would be the best for our family and my footballing future,” he said.
“It was very hard, Brisbane has played a massive part of my life over recent years and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to play and captain this great club.
“Some players go through their whole career without silverware success and to achieve so much when I came into professional football late has been highly rewarding.
“The negotiations took some time, but I am grateful and thankful to Brisbane Roar and the FIA Sports Management team for getting the situation handled.”
Smith exits the A-League after winning a swag of trophies and PFA honours, and three caps for his adopted country.
“I have had some fantastic experiences and memories at the Roar,” he said.
“From the three championships, two league wins, 36-game unbeaten run, Asian Champions League campaign, so many. But the day-to-day training and environment with the players, coaching staff, club and fans have provided me with many happy memories.
“The fans and supporters have always been great with me and the team. The messages I have received in recent days has been extremely humbling.
“They have played a massive role in my experiences. I thank them for always believing in me and the club and I am sure they will continue to play an important role into the future.”
The Portsmouth junior believes the Roar can make a decent challenge in the A-League and Asian Champions League if they stay focused and work hard.
“I see day-in-day-out the attitude and belief in the group and by staying focused, disciplined and continuing to work hard, I am extremely confident that can finish the season strong.”comments