Walter Smith dies aged 73 as tributes pour in for ex-Rangers and Everton boss

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Rangers legend Walter Smith has died, the club has announced.

Smith died at the age of 73 after a rich managerial career that included Rangers, Everton and the Scotland national team.

Gers chairman Douglas Park said it was "impossible to encapsulate" what the Scot meant to everyone at the club.

He added he was battling illness before his death as people took to Twitter to pay tribute, including ex-Celtic star Chris Sutton who described him as a "true gentleman".

During his time in Glasgow, he won 10 titles and also led the Gers to a then UEFA Cup final in 2008.

In a statement, Park said: “On behalf of the Rangers board of directors, staff and players, I convey my deep condolences to the Smith family. Walter leaves behind a wife, children and grandchildren, all of whom are in our thoughts and prayers at this difficult time.

“It is almost impossible to encapsulate what Walter meant to every one of us at Rangers. He embodied everything that a Ranger should be. His character and leadership was second to none, and will live long in the memory of everyone he worked with during his two terms as first team manager.

“I spoke with Walter as recently as last weekend. Even when he was battling illness, he was still able to provide advice and support.

"For that, I am personally grateful. I know that he continued also to maintain dialogue with senior members of staff, including our manager, Steven Gerrard.

“Walter will be sorely missed by all of us at Rangers.

“Winning 10 top-flight titles as manager, five Scottish Cups and six League Cups, as well as leading his club to the UEFA Cup Final in 2008, he will be remembered by the football community across the world.

"His spells as Scotland manager as well as managing in the English Premier League underlined his credentials as one of the great modern day football managers.

“However, for Rangers supporters, he was much more than just a football manager. Walter was a friend to many, a leader, an ambassador and most of all-a legend.”

Sutton, who played for Rangers' bitter Glasgow rivals Celtic, said: "Really sad news to hear of the passing of Walter Smith.

"He was a true gentleman. Thoughts and prayers go out to Walter’s family."

QPR boss Mark Warburton said: "Devastating news to hear of the sad passing of Walter Smith.

"A man who was always on hand to help with advice and support. My thoughts and condolences are with his family at this most difficult time."

And ex-Toffees star Kevin Campbell, who played under Smith at Goodison Park, tweeted: "RIP Walter Smith you were such a great man and I can’t thank you enough for bringing me to Everton. A true football great."

Smith also worked under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United in 2014.

While he left later that year to join the Scotland national set-up, ex-Red Devils star Darren Fletcher said he had a big impact on the players including five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo.

The retired Scotland international told Richard Keys on beIN Sports: "For me it was Walter Smith. Walter Smith joined as assistant manager around Christmas time, New Year time.

"And Ronaldo, you could see the talent, you could see the ability.

"The players were part of the reason he signed in that pre-season game against Sporting Lisbon when he tore us apart.

"We'd just arrived off an aeroplane, jet-lagged from America. That's John O'Shea's excuse! But you could see the talent.

"You could see this charismatic kid, you could see the ability, you could see the drive to become the best player in the world – but he frustrated the life out of everybody.

"Everyone thought if he could learn…

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"Eventually Walter Smith came in and decided not to give fouls in training.

"In general but I think the sole purpose was for Ronaldo. So when Ronaldo's doing his skills, not passing the ball and taking the mick, the lads were fouling him

"Before, the first six months of the season, there'd be fouls given as you'd expect, and Walter said: 'No, no fouls'.

"For two weeks Ronaldo was tearing his hair out and he was going bananas."

  • Premier League
  • Steven Gerrard
  • Family
  • Rangers FC

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