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Dean Smith: From Bescot to Brentford

4 December 2015

After nearly five years in charge of Walsall, Dean Smith has moved onto pastures new, and will take charge of Brentford from this weekend.

It sees an end to a relationship that, collectively, spanned more than a decade, where Smith played, coached and managed at the Bescot Stadium.

His days as a player began with the Saddlers in 1989, where he spent five seasons with them in the old Third Division.

He left for Hereford United in 1994, and went on to play for Leyton Orient and Sheffield Wednesday, before hanging up his boots in 2005 after a season with Port Vale.

Smith went back to Orient to begin coaching the youth team at Brisbane Road after retirement, and was eventually appointed as assistant to manager Martin Ling.

Read more: Dean Smith can take Brentford into the Premier League – Rasmus Ankersen

In 2009, he joined Walsall in another youth role, and was once again thrust into the assistant manager's position two years later, following the departure of Chris Hutchings. Soon after, Smith was announced as permanent manager.

After successfully securing the Saddlers' League 1 status that year, he gradually moved the club forward and away from the foot of the table. His highlight came in the 2014/15 Johnstone's Paint Trophy campaign, where he led the club all the way to the Final, and a first-ever visit to Wembley Stadium.

Smith's work this season saw Walsall battling it out at the top of Sky Bet League 1, where they occupied top spot for a period. This, along with nurturing the rise of players like Tom Bradshaw and Rico Henry, sees the 44-year-old leave behind a lasting legacy at the club.

He relinquishes his title as The Football League's third-longest serving manager, and begins his tenure at Griffin Park this weekend when the Bees take on Milton Keynes Dons in the Sky Bet Championship.

Brentford currently sit 11th in the Sky Bet Championship, and have been in reasonable form of late, going three matches unbeaten under the stewardship of Lee Carsley.

You can stay up-to-date with Dean Smith's first game as Brentford boss this weekend, by following out matchday Twitter coverage on @SkyBetChamp.

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