Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In Sign Up
Text:  A  A  A
[the Goodison Gazette]

Season 2001-2002

Everton call time on Smith
12 March, 2002

Walter Smith: parted company with Everton this morning

Walter Smith's troubled reign at Goodison Park is over after a brief statement this morning confirmed his dismissal after 3 years and 8 months in the job. Speculation had been building since lunchtime on Tuesday that Bill Kenwright had taken the bold decision of relieving Smith of his duties following a succession of terrible results and even worse performances.

The club refused to make any further comment until they are in a position to name Smith's replacement whom they hope will be current Preston boss, David Moyes. After Everton announced that they had made an official approach for the 38 year-old Scot, officials at Deepdale confirmed that they had given Kenwright permission tohold talks with Moyes.

On the termination of Smith's contract, Kenwright admitted that it was not an easy decision to make, particularly given the obvious respect and friendship that existed between Smith and himself.

Walter Smith was, and is, one of the most honest and honourable men in football," he said. "He brought a stability and dignity to Everton when we desperately needed it most. Obviously the decision was not taken lightly but it was felt it was in the best interests of the club as it battles to preserve it's Premiership status." Everton have nine games remaining in the Premiership season and the deadline for incoming transfers expires next week, which makes the swift appointment of a replacement all the more urgent.

For Smith's part, he confessed to being disappointed but wished the club well for the future. His assistant manager Archie Knox has taken temporary charge of team affairs but is expected to follow his former boss out of Goodison when the new regime arrives.

Walter's job had been under threat since January by which time five straight defeats had decimated the cushion between Everton and the pack of clubs struggling at the bottom of the Premiership. Success in the FA Cup 3rd and 4th rounds, a home win against Sunderland and some gritty away draws seemed to have saved his job, but as the performances of his team worsened considerably despite the arrival of four new midfield players, there was increasing discontent among the fans.

The three games against Leeds, West Ham and Middlesbrough (all three of which featured depressingly inept football from his players) were the final straw for the supporters, who, having witnessed the collapse at The Riverside in the FA Cup Quarter Final, finally turned on Smith and called for his head. A return of just one away win all season, 7 points from 39 and a mere 4 goals from the previous 12 league games effectively made his position untenable.

With Kenwright seemingly facing little choice but to give the fans what they wanted, a report at the Everton page of "From the Terrace" surfaced yesterday stating that Smith had resigned and that Moyes was the favourite to repace him. There was no official confirmation until 11 a.m. this morning, but the story continued to leak throughout Tuesday to the point where it was all but confirmed in the Wednesday editions of the leading national broadsheets.

A short statement read outside the Park End entrance to Goodison gave official confirmation that Walter Smith was no longer in the hotseat. It is unclear whether or not he will be receiving a comensation package from Everton for the premature termination of his contract. Some rumours suggest he will receive around £1m, others say he has waived any such claims. Smith himself said: "We have not discussed compensation. I don't know where those stories have come from."

Smith joined Everton in July 1998 when Peter Johnson stole him from under the noses of Sheffield Wednesday. Despite the turmoil of Johnson's last year at the Goodison helm, which included the sale of Duncan Ferguson behind his back in November 1998, Smith steered Everton clear of relegation, thanks largely to the masterstroke of signing Kevin Campbell on loan from Trabsonspor the following February. Together with his partnership with Francis Jeffers, Campbell's 9 goals in 8 games were the crucial factor in the preservation of the Blues's top-flight status.

Everton finished 14th that season and, following a crippling injury crisis, 16th in 2000/01. But it was the season in between, 1999/00, that raised the most question marks about Smith's ability to return the Blues to the big time. In 7th place with 12 games to go, Smith's side suffered a nosedive in form and eventually finished a lame 13th, letting a top 10 finish slip on the last day of the season with a 2-0 home defeat by Middlesbrough.

In all, his record as Goodison boss was P 143, W 41, D 42, L 60

More on this story from:
The Official Everton Site - Walter expresses his disappointment
The Echo
Sporting Life
Sky Sports


by Lyndon Lloyd


We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.