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I leave with such fond memories

The King of Ewood has left the building, but he departs after providing supporters with plenty of memorable moments

25 July 2020

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After playing a crucial role in Rovers' return to the Championship and scoring that crucial winner away at Fleetwood Town, many would have thought Richie Smallwood's cult status was secured.

But if it wasn't, donning the gloves at West Bromwich Albion the following season ensured the King of Ewood would certainly be remembered for his Ewood Park efforts.

The combative midfielder made an instant impact both on and off the pitch during his three-year stint in East Lancashire, which has now come to an end.

Smallwood totalled 87 outings in Rovers colours, but arguably his most bizarre appearance came at the Hawthorns against a high-flying West Brom side during the 2018-19 campaign.

Despite being known for his tough-tackling midfield displays, Smallwood ended up in goal against the Baggies after David Raya picked up a horror facial injury and all three substitutes were already used.

Not only did Smallwood help Rovers to a point on the road, but he also added a clean sheet to his CV on what was a day to remember for Rovers.

And on departing the club, the 29-year-old admits he'll take plenty of magical moments on with him to his new club.

“It’s sad, but I will only look back on my three years at Rovers with great memories," he reflected to iFollow Rovers in his farewell interview.

“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time here and I suppose all good things come to an end at some point.

“I’ve got so many good memories here, particularly from that League One campaign, but the best memory is getting the club back into the Championship and securing our status for the next season.

“I played my part in the Championship for six months or so, and although I’d have liked it to be longer, I guess it was my own fault for getting send off at Sheffield United!

“Knowing that we’re good enough to keep ourselves in the Championship, and hopefully that’s set the club up for bigger and better things.

“I think the League One campaign was right up there with the best of my career."

Smallwood was a popular character on the pitch and off it, and admits it has been tough to bid farwell to people who he calls friends.

“It’s been emotional saying my goodbyes to everyone because I’ve had such an amazing time with some amazing people," he added.

“I know the league wasn’t where we wanted to be, but we had to do the job in getting out there. I played every game and played with some great players, which always helps win matches.

“It was great, I remember feeling welcomed in as soon as I arrived from top to bottom. I really enjoyed it and have met some great friends."

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