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Dean Smith

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Norwich Career: 2021-22 (Head Coach)
Current Club: Charlotte FC (USA) (Head Coach)
Date of Birth: 19/03/1971 (West Bromwich)
Nationality: English


Mere days after being sacked as manager of Aston Villa, Dean Smith was unveiled as Norwich City's new manager on 15th November 2021, replacing Daniel Farke.

Smith began his playing career in the old Fourth Division with Walsall, making 166 appearances in defence between 1989 and 1994. He scored twice for Hereford. He was sold to Hereford United for a club record £80,000 in 1994 for whom he made 146 appearances, scoring 26 goals.

His next destination was Leyton Orient whom he joined in August 1997 for £42,500. He went on to play 309 games for Orient, scoring 43 goals. He joined First Division Sheffield Wednesday in February 2003 and was appointed club captain the following summer. However a clear out of personnel saw him leave at the end of the 2003/04 season having made 62 appearances and scoring once.

In July 2004 he moved to Port Vale and made 13 appearances before retiring in January 2005 to become the youth team coach at Leyton Orient. He was promoted to Assistant Manager towards the end of the 2004/5 season. He got his UEFA Pro License in 2008.

He left Orient, along with manager Martin Ling, in January 2009. In July 2009, he returned to Walsall as their Head of Youth. On 4th January 2011 he was appointed caretaker manager following the sacking of Chris Hutchings. 17 days later he was given the role until the end of the season. He saved the Saddlers from relegation. The following seasons were more successful as they flirted with a promotion push, reached the Football League Trophy final in 2015 and was named Manager of the Month in August 2015.

Brentofrd signed him as manager on 30th November 2015. They finished ninth in the Championship and tenth the following year despite sales of stars like James Tarkowoski and Toumani Diagouraga. The following season they finished seventh with an attractive form of playing.

Smith joined boyhood favourites Aston Villa as manager on 10th October 2018. They finished the first season winning the Championship play-offs over Derby to win promotion to the Premier League. The first Premier League season saw them narrowly avoid relegation despite spending a net total of £144.5million. Further expenditure the following campaign saw them finish eleventh and reach the Football League Cup final. The sale of Jack Grealish and injuries to key players hindered the 2021/22 campaign and Smith was sacked on 7th November 2021 after a run of five straight defeats.

Smith's first game in charge was on 20th November 2021 and finished in a 2-1 win over Southampton in the Premier League, lifting Norwich off the bottom place. However he could not prevent them from being relegated at the end of the season.

Smith was sacked by Norwich on 27th December 2022 after a run of three defeats in four games which equated to three wins in 13 games. Even when the Canaries had been unbeaten earlier in the season, the team's style of play wasn't convincing leaving fans questioning what Smith's style actually was. He then lost the support of the crowd with fans leaving matches early and booing the manager. The final straw, and Smith's final match, was a 2-1 defeat against 10 man Luton at Kenilworth Road. Norwich City said "As the club continues to work towards its on-field objectives this season, the board believe that it is the right time to make this transition. The club will now work to identify and appoint a new head coach that is able to deliver both the level of performances required to challenge at the top end of the league whilst implementing a consistent style of play." Assistant manager Craig Shakespeare and first-team coach Liam Bramley also left Carrow Road.

Within a fortnight of his departure from Norwich, he was linked with the vacant manager's position at Portsmouth following the sacking of Danny Cowley.

On 10th April 2023 he was appointed interim manager of Leicester City, replacing Brendan Rogers, until the end of the 2022/23 season. He has eight games to save the Foxes from relegation with them two points from safety. Smith said "I’m really happy to have the opportunity to lead the team during these final weeks of the season. The challenge in front of us is clear, but it’s one myself and my coaching team have experienced before and, with the quality in this squad and the number of games remaining, it’s very much achievable. Our first job is to rebuild confidence and instil belief in the team and I’m looking forward to getting to work with the players this week. Saturday will be a big test, but it’s the kind of occasion that reminds us all what it means to be a Premier League club, competing on the biggest stages against the best players in the world. I know we’ll be well supported by our travelling fans. We have to connect with that and give them a performance they can be proud of. We go there positive, looking for points." Craig Shakespeare and John Terry also joined Leicester as part of Smith's team.

He secured just nine points from the eight games for which he was in charge and Leicester were relegated on 28th May 2023 despite beating West Ham 2-1. Smith wasn't kept on by Leicester who appointed former Manchester City assistant coach Enzo Maresca as their new boss.

On 28th June 2023 Football Insider reported that Sheffield Wednesday were in talks with Smith about their vacant manager's position.

On 12th December 2023 he was appointed as head coach of Major League Soccer club Charlotte FC. The 52-year-old has signed a two-year deal at the Bank of America Stadium with the option of extending by a further year. He is said to have impressed the club's hierarchy during the interview process.  Smith said "Throughout the interview process, it was clear that this is an ambitious club with the right ingredients for success," Smith will take charge of the MLS side ahead of the 2024 season, which is expected to get underway in February - only Charlotte's third ever. Sporting director Zoran Krneta said “Dean is a well-respected manager with over a decade of professional coaching, including at the highest level of the game in the Premier League, and we’re delighted to welcome him to Charlotte FC. He has proven track record of sporting success across multiple levels of professional football and his man management style will be welcomed by our locker room."

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