Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright says football has lost “a great leader and great man” after the Club’s former manager Walter Smith passed away aged 73.
Smith was in charge at Goodison Park for nearly four years and managed 168 matches after his appointment in summer 1998.
His tenure coincided with Kenwright completing a takeover of the Club towards the end of 1999.
The two men forged a strong and enduring bond and a “real friendship”.
Smith, who won 10 domestic titles across two spells as Rangers manager and had time in charge of Scotland, died on Tuesday following a long illness.
“He was one of the very best people I was lucky enough to meet in my lifetime in football," Kenwright told evertonfc.com.
"A man of loyalty, integrity and great talent. Strong when he needed to be but with a mischievous sense of humour that could ease even the most tense situations.
“Walter and I shared a lot together during the takeover years but among many, many examples of real friendship, one will always stick out.
"We had just... tearfully... agreed his farewell to Goodison, when he slapped his hands together and said ‘Okay Bill, who are we going to get to manage this great club of ours?’
“Even in a moment of real sadness, he refused to put himself first...one of the true attributes of a great leader. And that's exactly what Walter Smith was. A great leader. And a great man."
Smith began his coaching career with Dundee United, the same club where he started as a player, aged 18, in 1966.
He enjoyed success next to legendary manager Jim McLean before assisting Graeme Souness and Alex Ferguson with Rangers and Scotland respectively.
Replacing Souness towards the end of 1990/91 and duly winning the Scottish title marked the beginning of a spectacularly decorated managerial career.
Smith was appointed an OBE in 1997 and grew into one of the sport's most popular and respected figures.
“I send my personal love to Walter's wife Ethel and the family and know that I will be joined by everyone at Everton Football Club in saluting a husband, a dad, a grandfather, and a legendary football manager,” added Kenwright.