Fans pay their respects to Walter Smith outside Ibrox

Fans pay their respects to Walter Smith outside Ibrox

November 3, 2021

Fans pay their respects to Walter Smith as his funeral procession passes Ibrox before the legendary manager – who won TEN league titles during two spells with Rangers – is laid to rest after dying aged 73

  • Walter Smith died on October 26 in hospital but his family have chosen not to open up on the causes
  • On Wednesday, the legendary manager was laid to rest as his funeral procession went past Ibrox
  • Supporters gathered outside the Rangers stadium to pay one final tribute to their former manager Smith

Thousands of fans gathered outside Ibrox to pay tribute to Walter Smith, on the day one of the greats of Scottish football is laid to rest.

Smith died on October 26 in hospital at the age of 73 but his family have not said what the specific cause was. News of his passing prompted an outpouring of tributes from across British football.

An array of flowers, scarves, shirts and letters of condolence were left outside Ibrox, the Rangers stadium, on Wednesday afternoon. 

The supporters cheered and applauded as the procession passed the stadium where Smith enjoyed the finest years of his managerial career. 

His cortege drove past Ibrox at 3.15pm on Wednesday before travelling on to a private service.

Walter Smith’s funeral possession passes by Ibrox, where thousands of fans have gathered to pay tribute 

Smith enjoyed the finest years of his career as a manager at Ibrox – he won 10 titles with Rangers in his time at the club

Rangers fans cheered and applauded as Smith’s procession went past Ibrox and the crowd of supporters who had gathered

Tributes were paid to Smith outside of Ibrox, the Rangers stadium, on the day of the iconic manager’s funeral

Fans laid flowers, scarves, shirts and flags outside Ibrox in tribute to Smith after he passed away on October 26

Thousands of fans gathered outside the iconic stadium, wanting to pay one final tribute to the legendary manager 

Smith was best known for his storming spell at Rangers where he dominated the league with 10 titles as a manager over two spells.

He also spent time in charge at Everton, taking over at Goodison Park between 1998 and 2002.

From there he took a position as fellow Scot Sir Alex Ferguson’s assistant at Manchester United in 2004, during which time they won the FA Cup.

But he moved into international management from 2004 to 2007 and saw Scotland beat France in October 2006 – shooting them up the rankings by 70 places.

On the day of his passing, Smith’s former player and assistant Ally McCoist said on talkSPORT: ‘He means everything to a lot of folk.

‘He was my boss, my coach, my second father and then turned into one of my best friends. The loss is absolutely incredible.

The legendary Smith is most familiar for his time at Rangers, winning 10 league titles across two spans as manager 

Smith also worked in England as an assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United after his spell as Everton boss 

‘The good thing is he’s not in pain. I went to see Walter recently, I spoke to him at the weekend and we knew that it would be a matter of time.

‘But it still does not take away the pain and the grief. I could sit here and tell you about Walter Smith until the cows come home.

‘But what I will say he was the best husband, father friend, everything you want from a man. I can’t tell you how devastated I am.’

Rangers paid tribute to Smith with a minute’s silence before the clash with Aberdeen on October 26.

Rangers said: ‘The passing of Walter Smith has touched every member of the Rangers family and the club can today update that plans are being put in place for a public memorial service.

‘The memorial will take place on Friday 19th November at Glasgow Cathedral. Please note, this will be an invite-only event. The service will be available for free via RangersTV.  

A minute’s silence was held before Rangers’ clash with Aberdeen last month and a banner was held in Smith’s honour

A photo of Smith appeared on the big screen as well as ‘always remembered’ on the ad boards around Ibrox Stadium

‘A private, family funeral is to be held for Walter on Wednesday 3rd November, prior to the public memorial. As a club, we ask this privacy is respected by all supporters, the wider public and the media. 

‘The club would like to put on record its thanks to our supporters, supporters of other clubs and the wider community for their kind words and support at this difficult time.’ 

Smith’s death sparked an outpouring of grief and heartfelt tributes. Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said: ‘Thank you for all your wisdom, support and friendship. You meant the world to everyone at Rangers.’

In a club statement announcing the news, chairman Douglas Park added: ‘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. 

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard (left) and his assistant Gary McAllister (right) laid a wreath in memory of Smith last month

‘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. 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.’ 

As a defender, Smith played more than 200 games for Dundee United, where he began his coaching career under Jim McLean at the age of 29 when a pelvic injury forced him to retire early.

He also turned out for Dumbarton and was assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson at the 1986 World Cup, but it was as a manager where Smith made his mark.

Smith won 21 major trophies with Rangers during his two spells as coach, including the 1992 Scottish Cup (pictured)

Smith celebrates his sixth title with Rangers in 1996 alongside Archie Knox (left) and Paul Gascoigne (right)

Smith became Scotland boss in 2004 and oversaw a period that saw them jump 70 places in the world rankings 

After moving from Tannadice to Rangers in 1986 as Graeme Souness’ number two, he took sole charge in 1991 and embarked on a near-decade of dominance – including the domestic treble in 1993 – to equal Celtic’s record of nine successive titles in 1997.

He was awarded an OBE for services to football the same year. Smith assisted Ferguson once again in 2004, joining Manchester United’s coaching staff. 

Following the end of his second stint as Rangers manager, Smith had a three-month spell as Ibrox chairman in 2013 but resigned the position.

Rangers confirmed in March that Smith was recovering in hospital following an operation.

Later in life Smith was a described as a devoted husband and father of two sons and grandfather – often appearing at games in recent years with the youngsters. 

Smith was Scotland Under-21 boss before he accepted a role as Graeme Souness’s assistant at Rangers in 1986

Smith kept a tight lid on his private life, with his wife Ethel and sons Neil and Stevie rarely speaking publicly.

Little is know about Ethel, but apparently Smith said one of the toughest moments in his life was telling her he would return to manage Rangers after quitting Scotland. 

Smith is survived by his Ethel, Neil and Stevie, and his grandchildren.

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