Everton Football Club is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the Club’s former manager, Walter Smith OBE.
Smith, who was in charge at Goodison Park between July 1998 and March 2002, has died at the age of 73 following a long illness.
The Scot was a tremendously popular figure at Everton, players and staff unanimously warming to Smith’s genial and empathetic nature.
Smith was demanding and competitive, too, and he came to Everton following seven enormously successful years managing Rangers.
He was appointed at Ibrox late in the 1990/91 campaign and duly won the first of seven straight league titles as manager – extending the club’s run to nine successive championships.
Smith, who was born in the town of Lanark on 24 February 1948, managed 168 Everton matches.
Highlights included a 1-0 win at Liverpool in September 1999 and the 5-0 victory over Sunderland three months later which began Bill Kenwright’s tenure as owner on a perfect note.
Smith attracted a number of talented footballers to Goodison but was synonymously contending with a period of relative financial austerity and unable to recreate the success he enjoyed with Rangers.
His first job back in football after leaving Everton was as assistant to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
And it was during his short spell at Old Trafford that Smith – awarded an OBE in 1997 for services to football – won his first English domestic honour in the 2004 FA Cup.
He was named Scotland boss in December 2004 and won seven and drew five of 16 matches in a 25-month reign.
Scotland were top of a European Championship qualifying group featuring Italy and France when Smith resigned in January 2007, unable to resist the pull of Rangers after being asked back for a second spell in charge.
He added three more Scottish league titles between 2008/09 and 2010/11, his final season as manager, after guiding Rangers to the 2007/08 UEFA Cup final.
Smith began his professional football career as a defender with Dundee United in 1966.
He had nine years at Tannadice before leaving for Dumbarton, returning two years later in 1977 but forced by injury to retire at the age of 29.
Smith worked as assistant manager for Scotland’s Under-18 and Under-21 teams and gained his first club coaching experience next to revered Dundee United boss Jim McLean.
When McLean and Smith won the league title with Dundee United in 1982/83 it marked only the second time in 18 years a club other than Celtic or Rangers were Scottish champions.
Smith assisted Scotland manager Ferguson at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, shortly after joining Rangers when Graeme Souness was appointed Ibrox boss.
Souness left in April 1991, Smith taking over on interim terms and handed the post permanently after edging Aberdeen in a title race that boiled down to a final-day match between the two clubs that Rangers won 2-0.
Smith is statistically Rangers’ second most successful manager, behind only Bill Struth, after accumulating 10 league titles and 11 domestic knockout trophies across his two spells.
The thoughts of everybody at Everton are with Walter’s wife and children and grandchildren and friends.