Sheffield Wednesday: Owls head physio Paul Smith ready for family reunion
The Smiths are a tight-knit, football obsessed family.
Brothers Paul and Andy Smith work for two different Championship clubs, but are unashamedly infatuated with one team
“We are a Wednesday family; end of story,” stated Owls’ head physio Paul.
There will, however, be sibling rivalry on show when Wednesday head to Villa Park tomorrow. Paul is five years older than Andy, whose worked as a masseur for Aston Villa since 2008.
But there will be no room for sentiment this weekend, with three points and bragging rights up for grabs.
Paul told The Star: “Andy wants Villa to win because he works there, but the first result he looks for in the other 44 games of the season are Wednesday’s.
“Andy tries to get to Hillsborough whenever he can. He came to a few games last season and obviously attended the Play-Off Final at Wembley. He had a ticket and was sat with the rest of the Wednesday fans.
“His son Logan, who is four, is being brought up as a Wednesdayite, not as an Aston Villa fan!
“Make no mistake about it, we are all Wednesdayites in our family.
“We are very close. We get together when we can. We went out as a family for our dad’s birthday last Sunday which was good.”
When Wednesday and Villa met on the opening day, it was Paul who was celebrating after a late winner by Fernando Forestieri.
Paul admitted: “As soon as the fixtures came out, Andy and I were straight on the phone to each other. We couldn’t believe we had got Villa in the first game at Hillsborough.
“It was so ironic but it was a good occasion and we met up early at the ground.
“We had some banter. He was obviously hoping for a Villa win but we managed to beat them.”
Paul and Andy are following in the footsteps of their father Alan Smith - the legendary ex-physio of both the Owls and England.
“He has been a huge inspiration for us both,” acknowledged Paul. “Both our parents have been extremely supportive of what we wanted to do.
“Our mum and dad are very proud of what we have achieved. They are absolutely delighted for us both and were at the Hillsborough game, which was a proud moment for them.
“Andy and I have both done well with their help and support all the way through.”
Andy, a former pro footballer, landed the job at Villa after completing his masseur qualifications.
“Andy played pro for five or six years but he didn’t quite hit the heights he would have liked but he wanted to stay in the game,” said Paul. “He has really enjoyed it at Aston Villa.
“They got relegated last year but he has spent most of that time working in the Premier League with some top players.
“Andy is very much a football person and the masseur role really suits him. He loves a laugh and a giggle with the lads and does his job very well.
“We have different jobs in medicine. You can be a lot more matey with the lads as a masseur but I’ve got to rule the roost sometimes.
“I get on well with the lads but you have to draw a line somewhere when discipline is concerned.
“But my role suits me and his role suits him so it is perfect.”
Paul spent seven years playing for his boyhood club at youth level before studying physiotherapy. After spells at Barnsley, Rotherham United, Derby County and Notts County, Paul was headhunted by the Owls. His eight-year anniversary is fast approaching.
“It would mean the absolutely world to me if the club gained promotion this season,” said Paul. “It would be a dream come true and the greatest achievement in my career.
“I’ve already managed to be part of two clubs who have been promoted to the Premier League in my career.
“As soon as I joined Wednesday, I said I wanted this to be my hat-trick at some stage.”
Paul was part of the medical team when Barnsley finished as runners up in 1997 and when Derby were promoted via the play-offs in 2007 so he is due another.