An in-depth look at Walter Smith

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An in-depth look at Walter Smith

Sir Alex Ferguson: There are few people in the game with his experience, knowledge and technical ability.As everyone will know, Sir Alex is the manager of Manchester United and is one of the greatest managers of all time. For such a well-known legend himself to comment on his old friend Smith like this shows just how much he is respected in the football world. Currently in his second spell in charge of his beloved Rangers, he is thought as one of the greatest managers in the clubs illustrious 138-year history.Walter Smith has reached legendary status in his homeland of Scotland. With a managerial career po se sing so many achievements, it is a wonder he has not received a knighthood from Her Majesty for his services to sport.He grew up in Carmyle but never got a chance to make it as a player at Ibrox. Instead, he enjoyed a modest career at Dundee United, joining them initially in the 1960s whilst finishing his apprenticeship as OJ Mayo Jersey an electrician. After a brief spell at Dumbarton, Smith returned to Tannadice and it was there he began to make his name as a coach.His playing days were first threatened when he was 29 and a pelvic injury limited him to reserve games alongside future Gers captain Richard Gough with the Arabs. At the same time, Smith learned how to guide the profe sionals he was charged with by legendary manager Jim McLean.The progre s he made on Tayside didnt go unnoticed and he soon became coach of the Scotland youth team. In turn, Smith led the side to succe s at the 1982 European Youth Championship and he was Vin Baker Jersey to later work with the under-21s and the full side at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.His first national role went in conjunction with promotion to the post of a sistant manager at United and they went on to win their first championship in 1983.When Graeme Soune s offered Smith the chance to be his a sistant at Rangers, he could not resist and made the switch from Dundee to Glasgow in 1986. They won three league titles together, but when Soune s left for Liverpool in 1991, Smith was hoisted in to the managers role at Ibrox with five games left in the season.A last-day title victory over Aberdeen will live long in the memory for Smith, as it started off another six title wins a row to clinch nine-in-a-row for Rangers, equalling Celtics record from the 60s. Smith was within one game of taking the Light Blues to the Champions League Final in 1993 and won many domestic cups in his tenure. An extraordinary team ethic and pa sion for winning, combined with iconic signings like Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne was Smiths legacy as he left the Gers in 1997 having lost out on ten-in-a-row to Celtic.Smith made the move south to Everton to replace Howard Kendall Matthew Dellavedova Jersey in 1998, but his time at Goodsison Park wasnt as succe sful as at Rangers. Smith spent money on players only to discover that it was money the club did not have. When Duncan Ferguson was sold behind Smiths back he was tempted to quit. The remainder of his time at Everton revolved around selling the clubs top players to balance the books.Under Smith, Everton finished in the bottom half of the table for three consecutive seasons. Thon Maker Jersey The Everton board finally ran out of patience with Smith and he was sacked in March 2002 after an abject 30 FA Cup Sixth Round defeat to Middlesbrough, with Everton in real danger of relegation from the Premier League.At the end of the 2003-2004 season Smith made a brief return to football as a sistant manager to Sir Alex at Old Trafford, and then in December of 2004 his country came calling. Berti Vogts was having an absolute nightmare in charge of Scotland was duly sacked.Despite a revival of fortunes under Smith, hopes of reaching the 2006 World Cup were dashed after a defeat against Belarus. Scotlands world ranking improved by 70 places by the end of Smiths tenure at Hampden. Smith recorded his most famous result as Scotland manager when Scotland recorded a historic victory over World Cup runners up France on 7 October 2006 when they won their Euro 2008 qualifying match 10 at Hampden Park and temporarily led their group by three points. Another legendary 1-0 victory over France came when they travelled to Paris later on in the group. A 20 defeat against Ukraine on 11 October 2006 was Smiths teams first of the campaignSmith returned to his rightful home in January 2007 to replace another failed manager this time Paul le Guen. He could not salvage anything from the wreckage that time, however he almost won the club a quadruple the following season. He won both domestic cups, taking the league to the final day and losing out in the UEFA Cup Final in Manchester.Rangers made up for their league agony with succe s in the SPL the following year and added to it by retaining the Scottish Cup against Falkirk. Last season, Smith secured two-in John Henson Jersey -a-row and the League Cup against St Mirren.With nine SPL titles, five Scottish Cups and five Scottish League Cups Smith is up there with Bill Struth as the greatest manager Rangers have ever had. A historic quadruple in 2008 would have cemented that.Walter Smith keeps himself to himself and leads a very private life. He has so much respect in the game and has such dignity when speaking to the pre s. Let him be a role model for willing coaches and managers starting out in the game.
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