Cheltenham Town doc is Everton fan (but he's backing Robins in FA Cup)
HE might have been a staunch Everton supporter since his days growing up in the North West.
But Cheltenham Town team doctor Alistair Smith has promised he will cheering on the Robins when they meet the Premier League giants in Monday night's FA Cup tie.
The 42-year-old dad-of-three has admitted to having split loyalties for the Whaddon Road clash.
But after 20 years spent living in Gloucestershire and 16 working as team doctor – tending to injured players – he has adopted the club as his own.
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Alistair, a Stroud-based GP, said: "I started supporting Everton as a youngster when I was at school. At the time Liverpool were at their prime and so I suppose I was drawn to supporting the underdog.
"Theirs is still the first score I look out for in the results so when Cheltenham drew them in the FA Cup I was made up.
"But of course I'll be supporting Cheltenham – I don't think the gaffer would let me forget it if I turned up wearing my Everton blue!"
He added that since moving south from St Helen's 20 years ago he had been drawn in by the family atmosphere at Whaddon Road and often took his three young daughters to home games.
"Cheltenham Town is a fantastic club and I think even if I wasn't team doctor I would still be coming down here to support them," he added.
"It's the kind of place where there are no big egos – everyone pulls together. Sadly the stadium is not often full, but when it is there is a great atmosphere and I'm sure it will be like that on Monday night.
"I'm hoping for a high-scoring draw so we can get a rematch back at Goodison Park where Cheltenham will win it on penalties."
Also at the stadium for the highly-anticipated match will be brothers Ryan and Jed Dicks, from Cinderford, who won tickets through an Echo competition.
Ryan, 13, who has been supporting the Robins for three years, said: "I'm really looking forward to it.
"It will certainly be the biggest game I have ever been to see at Whaddon Road.
"My prediction for the result is a 2-1 win to the Robins."
Police have warned fans to park legally if they are coming to the sellout match, which kicks off at 7.45pm.
"Any vehicle causing an obstruction or parked illegally will be subject to enforcement action and, if necessary, towed away," said a force spokesman.
There will be a free park and ride service running to and from the racecourse before and after the fixture. For more information go to www.ctfc.com
â More match news p38-40.