Charles Smith has revealed that his special relationship with Eagles fans was a pivotal factor behind his decision to return to Tyneside. The returning favourite, affectionately nicknamed “Prince” by supporters, has signed up for a FOURTH spell with the Eagles having spent a year in Spain with Caja Rioja.
His swashbuckling style and canny knack of being able to provide some instant offensive power was sorely missed last season and he is already champing at the bit to pull on an Eagles vest again. “It feels great to be back in Newcastle and back home. I can’t wait for the season to start and to play in front of the fans again and experience their support once more,” explained Smith.
On his fleeting visits back to the North East last season, one of his first ports of call was to watch his former team-mates in action and he was afforded great reception by the supporters. “It meant a lot to me when I visited the Arena last season that I was still cheered even though I was only watching from the sidelines,” he added. “That kind of love from the fans was important in my decision to return.
“I am looking forward to receiving some applause from them again only this time I might actually be earning it on the court.” His affinity with the fans might be as strong as any player could ever realistically wish for, but Smith certainly isn’t taking anything for granted and knows reputations count for very little unless results are going the right way.
“After missing the last BBL season by playing in Spain I realise that there might be a few new Eagles fans who came along for the first time only recently.
“They might need some convincing I guess if they haven‘t seen me play. I had better make sure myself and the team are playing well and winning,” joked Smith. The forward was also quick to point out that he hasn’t just returned to play out the rest of his career in comfort after claiming the club is on the brink of some big things currently in the pipeline – something he desperately wanted to be a part of.
“I was excited when Fab (Flournoy) contacted me at the start of the summer and asked me back. I felt honoured that I could be part of what could be a real big time for the club.
“We have been successful in previous years, but with the Northern Rock factor and everyone looking to take things forward, it is more exciting now than I have ever known it.
“As soon as Fab explained to me what he wants to put in place here I needed to be part of it and I just can’t wait to get started.”