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The Stevenage manager, who won the MLS Cup during his time with the Rapids in America, had limited experience of the businessman despite coaching a side owned by 'Silent Stan'

By Jamie Dunn

Stevenage manager Gary Smith had little experience of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke during his time in charge of the businessman's other football club, the Colorado Rapids.

Smith, a former Arsenal scout, was placed in charge of the MLS side after becoming a part of the coaching staff due to the Gunners' partnership with the Rapids.

The 43-year-old eventually became manager of the side and won the MLS Cup in 2010, but had very few exchanges with the man known as 'Silent Stan'.

"He came to the final when we won the championship in Toronto and I had a very brief interaction [with him] after the game," Smith said ahead of Stevenage's FA Cup fifth round tie against Tottenham.

"Of course he was excited that we’d won and we’d brought back the first silverware to the club ever, so he showed some excitement at that.

“And I saw him when we were presented with our championship rings at the Whitehouse, when we saw President Obama, and had a little bit more dialogue with him there, but [he was] quite quiet and reserved, and lets everybody get on with it, but unfortunately too much because they got rid of me!”

He added: "I think his sport that he enjoys mostly is basketball, and he owns the [Denver] Nuggets, and I think his actual understanding and appreciation of the game and rules [of football] is not necessarily that of maybe owners who have been around for donkey’s years in this country."

Smith left the Rapids following a series of disputes with club directors, but does not believe Kroenke was involved in the decision not to renew his contract in November 2011.

He continued: "As I said, I had no interaction [with Kroenke], if we’re just specific about that period of time, that looking back on I was probably a bit too vocal in the press about and I will have learnt an awful lot from. Like I said, I had a fantastic time there.

"Stan’s involvement, from my knowledge, was negligible. He obviously puts a chief exec [executive] in place to deal with the day-to-day running of that football club, and that individual was my contact and my negotiation point in the future.

"I don’t know what went on behind the scenes, I have no idea.”

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