DEFENDER Manny Smith has returned to former club Wrexham after his contract at Gateshead FC was cancelled on compassionate grounds. 

Manny Smith (Charlie Waugh)
Manny Smith (Charlie Waugh)

Smith joined the Tynesiders from the Welsh outfit last summer and enjoyed an impressive first season at the International Stadium, scoring five times and picking up five Man of the Match awards in his 47 appearances for the club.

However, due to personal reasons, Gateshead Football Club have agreed to cancel the 28-year-old centre-back’s contract, allowing him to be closer to home with the Dragons.

Gateshead manager Neil Aspin commented on the situation: “At the end of the season, all contracted players, including Manny, were happy to stay at the club.

“That situation obviously changed when I received a phone call from the player asking for extra days off because of a personal situation. Specifically he asked if he could have Thursdays off which we couldn’t really cater to as that is an important training day when preparing for Saturday’s game.

“Obviously this is something Wrexham could offer Manny with it being much closer to his home and family than Gateshead.

“So I then had a situation as a manager when I had to see whether I wanted to keep a player that would have been restricted at Gateshead or whether we felt it would be better to let him go to Wrexham.

“In the end we felt letting him go was the best decision for both parties as we only want players who are 100 per-cent focused and committed to Gateshead FC. Unfortunately, due to something above all of our control, Manny could not guarantee that.

“In order to make the process as smooth as possible, we agreed to cancel the player’s contract which was an incredibly tough decision because Manny is a very good player and it’s disappointing to see him leave under such circumstances.

“We hope the fans respect and understand the reasoning behind it and rest assured, we are looking to bring in suitable, quality additions to the squad ahead of the new season.”

Gateshead would like to thank Manny for his fine contributions to the club and wish him the very best for the future.