Walter Smith dies, age 73

Tuesday, 26 October, 2021 92comments  |  Jump to last

Walter Smith, who was manager of Everton between July 1998 and March 2002, has died at the age of 73 following a long illness.

Smith came to Everton on the back of seven very successful years managing Glasgow Rangers. But winning trophies south of the border turned out to be a little more of a challenge. Everton were a fixture in the bottom half of the Premier League throughout his almost 4-year tenure, and he left with a rather dismal 28.5% win rate.

The abiding memory of his tenure is the night Duncan Ferguson was sold to Newcastle Utd behind his back. It was a time of turmoil that saw the ownership of the club finally acquired by Bill Kenwright when his consortium bought out Peter Johnson.


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Rob Halligan
1 Posted 26/10/2021 at 10:12:44
Sad news, Walter Smith has died. Was only 73 years old.
Barry Hesketh
2 Posted 26/10/2021 at 10:13:42
Sad to hear that former Everton manager Walter Smith has died aged 73. Rest in Peace, Walter, and sincere condolences to your family and friends.

RIP Walter Smith

Kunal Desai
3 Posted 26/10/2021 at 10:27:44
Rest in peace, Walter Smith. Such sad news. Very dignified man.
Jim Bennings
4 Posted 26/10/2021 at 10:31:24
RIP Walter.

Never forget the Anfield win!

Colin Glassar
5 Posted 26/10/2021 at 11:57:14
RIP Mr Smith. You were dealt a poor hand at Everton but you always maintained your dignity.
Ken Kneale
6 Posted 26/10/2021 at 11:58:09
Sad indeed at such an age – I hope his family find some comfort in what will be many, many memories over his lifetime.

I shall always admire his dignity whilst at Everton, particularly standing firm with the meddlesome dealings of the boardroom at the time – some things never change at Everton.

Jim Bennings
7 Posted 26/10/2021 at 11:59:11
Nothing but respect for the man that managed Everton at another turbulent time.

Brought some excellent players to the club, and to look back at the 99-00 season, we played some excellent attacking football, Hutchison, Barmby, Collins and two strikers in Kev Campbell and Jeffers.

Peter Mills
8 Posted 26/10/2021 at 12:13:07
Rest in peace, Walter, and sincere condolences to his family and friends.

As others have said, he always maintained his dignity, and stood steady against boardroom shenanigans.

John Pickles
9 Posted 26/10/2021 at 12:16:18
Rest In Peace, Walter, 73 is too young.
Paul O'Neill
10 Posted 26/10/2021 at 12:21:56
A gentleman. As well as his success at Rangers, it's worth remembering that Sir Alex Ferguson saw fit to make him assistant manager at Manchester United.

It wasn't always pretty at Everton and he once played 7 fullbacks in one game, but he wouldn't have allowed 3 goals to be conceded in 13 minutes like Saturday.

Rest in peace, Walter.

John Raftery
11 Posted 26/10/2021 at 12:26:11
A gentleman and a decent manager who brought some very good players to the club at a time when we could still aspire to competing at the top level. They included Weir, Stubbs, Gravesen and Carsley who played a big part in the 4th place finish in 2004-05.
Tony Everan
12 Posted 26/10/2021 at 12:29:34
RIP Walter. He came at a difficult time and, as others have said, operated here with dignity and was respected by Evertonians.
Phil Smith
13 Posted 26/10/2021 at 12:32:55
Sad news. Don't think 73 is young though. If I make it that long I'd be alright with that. His health had been in decline for a while, as he liked a wee drink, so he did well by all accounts.

I saw him out drinking in Glasgow once a good 20-odd years ago. Proper gent and was well thought of by both sides, as he was a proper nice fella. RIP, big man.

Paul Hughes
14 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:07:49
RIP Walter. Always a dignified gentleman despite the turmoil going on at the club at the time. Had little money, but brought in Gravesen, Carsley, Weir and Campbell. Could do with them all now.
James Newcombe
15 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:13:43
Paul #10... No, but we conceded three goals in 7 first-half minutes against Boro in the cup! I think that was his last game, and still probably the worst I've ever seen us play.

RIP to Walter though - he was very highly thought of in the game, not least by Alex Ferguson. He had a bad hand at Everton... Started off with money to spend, and then some very lean times. Signing Kevin Campbell was a masterstroke.

Ray Robinson
16 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:15:09
Despite some dour football at tines and an attempt to ditch Z-Cars and replace it with a Scottish bagpiper, I liked Walter Smith. He had integrity and did his best with a bad hand. RIP, Walter Smith.
Joe McMahon
17 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:15:11
Always a gentleman and managed Everton at a difficult time, taking over a dreadful squad (some things never change). Yes, he still managed to win at Anfield (with a toxic crowd). 73 is certainly not old.

RIP, Walter.

Minik Hansen
18 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:18:04
Even though I started to support Everton later on, I've heard his name mentioned quite a few times. He must've meant something to the club, but he really did try didn't he? May he rest in peace.
Derek Moore
19 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:20:30
Have to agree with Phil Smith. It is sad news but 73 is young now???

I enjoyed watching Walter's better Rangers teams play football; Laudrup was a joy to watch. I was really excited initially when I heard he was heading to us.

Never worked out here or even looked like it was going to, which is a great shame. He looked bang average when shorn of a dominant squad, and we played some dreadful stuff under him.

Smith was allowed to spend big and then promptly had almost all of those players sold from underneath him, so there's a little sympathy there. That said, the Alex Nyarko transfer will live long in my memory, and not for the right reasons.

My thoughts go to his friends and family at this time. Walter will certainly be widely mourned, especially north of the border.

Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:23:54
I just read through the Walter Smith-Everton Manager report.

A reminder of some dark times as Everton fans, but let's look at some of the bright spots, particularly some of the players he brought in, especially the initial part where there seemed to be a bout of optimism in the air.

I remember that first round of transfers with Materazzi, Dacourt & Collins. Promising signings on paper. And who can forget that Unsworth transfer? I think he'd been a Villa player for about 4 hours!

The Ferguson debacle. And we think the board's behaviour is bad now.

Kevin Campbell and the Anfield derby. I have to mention Barmby; my son's first Everton idol. And then mad Thomas Gravesen.

RIP Sir.

David Pearl
21 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:35:38
First off, yes 73 is kind of young now. My dad is 73 and he still does jujitsu twice a week and teaches a kids class every Friday. Guess it can depend on your lifestyle. Personally l will be surprised to make it to 60.

Danny, l remember those first signings of his. Plus a Scottish right back l can't remember. Also remember the bagpipes and being sat in the Gwladys Street stand, row 10 dead centre, his first game and we all had high hopes. Then Collins missed a penalty.

Dacourt and Materazzi were great players and it's a shame they only lasted the one season. Then he had the rug pulled beneath him.

Harry Wallace
22 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:36:02
Fond memories of him and his teams. RIP Walter. Thank you 🙏
Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:41:02
Ray (16),

Integrity – that's a word that sums up Walter. I wish some of the managers we've had since Walter had some of that integrity. He didn't do well at Everton but always kept his dignity and made some good signings.

They were topped by Kevin Campbell whose goals kept us up that season and the one at Anfield gave us the special delight of winning there, although we had to wait another 20 years for the next one.

Goodnight, God Bless, Walter, Rest in Peace.

Kieran Kinsella
24 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:46:51

You're right. He was also gentleman enough to encourage Moyes to take the job, which surprised the media at the time. But that was him, he knew it was a great club and a good chance for Moyes, so he held no bitterness.

Integrity sums him up and he had fabulous success at Rangers. Thoughts and prayers for him and his family.

Jim Bennings
25 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:51:49
Walter made some right canny signings.

The obvious ones: Gravesen, Campbell etc all spring to mind but one of my favourites would have to be Steve Watson, absolute versatility personified and a good footballer to boot.

Jack Convery
26 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:54:07
A gentleman at all times and dignified and modest with it. Gave us the Campbell / Jeffers combo upfront, which looked the real deal for a while. A Scottish great and legend up there. Sincere condolences to his wife and family. RIP Walter.
Dave Abrahams
27 Posted 26/10/2021 at 13:59:55
David (21) was it Alex Cleland?
Kieran Kinsella
29 Posted 26/10/2021 at 14:03:48
I really thought we were going to turn the corner in his last season before that cup game. We were showing a bit of fight like Royle’s team but alas.
Jay Harris
30 Posted 26/10/2021 at 14:03:48
A dignified, Principled man which has been in short supply at Goodison Park in recent times.

RIP Walter and condolences to the family.

Barry Rathbone
31 Posted 26/10/2021 at 14:18:22
He was the last manager brought in to win things. Unfortunately, he was destroyed by the hideous secret very few knew about – we were broke. No longer a major player in the game, he had to endure the ignominy of looking after a sinking colossus. Fortunately, his reputation recovered back in Scotland.

Good man in a crap job here.

David Pearl
32 Posted 26/10/2021 at 14:35:14
Dave, 27, 28

Yes! Good memory there. I just looked it up but it backfired as l now remember John Spencer. An old Chelsea friend of mine used to sing this to me "Oh what a pickle, oh what a stew, when your best fuckin forward is 5 foot 2"!

On paper, we didn't have a bad team... if it was 7 -a-side, we'd of finished higher.

Jim, 25
Yes Steve Watson was a favourite of mine too. Always 100%.

Brian Williams
33 Posted 26/10/2021 at 16:29:15
73 not young?
Maybe it wasn't in the 1940's but in today's world 73 is no age at all.
My brothers 74 and he's as fit as a fiddle, and he can remember his own name and everything!

David Bromwell
34 Posted 26/10/2021 at 16:37:18
Let me tell you gentlemen when you are 77, 73 is certainly not old. Walter Smith was certainly a gentleman, and did his best for Everton. I well remember him narrowing the pitch at Goodison because he thought we didn't have the quality players to perform on a bigger pitch. He also brought in one of my very favourite players in Richard Gough. Although he was at the end of his career he could still play and was a pleasure to watch. I would certainly like to send my condolences and best wishes to his family.
Dale Self
35 Posted 26/10/2021 at 16:55:44
I agree with the overall impression Walter leaves us to remember. They weren't good times but he put up a good fight and got us through.
Don Alexander
36 Posted 26/10/2021 at 17:24:38
Disappointing, very very disappointing news. RIP
Ed Prytherch
37 Posted 26/10/2021 at 17:25:13
I'm 73 and I rode my push bike 16 miles with 6 good hills at almost 15 mph on Monday. I am hoping to last a while longer.
Walter was certainly a gent and will deservedly be well remembered.
Jerome Shields
38 Posted 26/10/2021 at 17:34:46
Gerry Quinn
39 Posted 26/10/2021 at 17:36:42
Sincere condolences to his family. I, for one, did enjoy him being our manager, always had the fans in mind.

As for being 70, that's me too – I still behave like a 10-year-old. Also, play a bit of golf and, when one of my partners asks me "Did you see where that went?", then my standard answer is, "Yes, I saw it all the way out... but I can't remember!"

RIP, Walter Smith.

Eddie Ng
40 Posted 26/10/2021 at 17:38:49
In retrospect, if we could have players like Campbell, Gravesen, Carsley, Hutchison, Barmby, Ferguson, etc in our current team, we would be very fine! RIP, Walter.
Mike Gaynes
41 Posted 26/10/2021 at 17:47:34
Seen from afar, he was a man who generated tremendous respect and an impression of honor and dignity. Condolences to the entire Everton family.

Yes, 73 today would be considered young. As one who almost didn't make 60 and is now healthy and roaring into 65, I will be disappointed in myself now if I don't hang around to 85 or so just to aggravate my wife.

Mike Gaynes
42 Posted 26/10/2021 at 17:52:48
Tommy Carter
43 Posted 26/10/2021 at 18:10:09
RIP Walter. I remember being overwhelmed by his appointment and the signings he made in the summer of 1998. It seemed like the opportunity to move on quickly from the disaster of the 1997-98 season.

Although Bakayoko and Nyarko were spectacularly bad signings, his record in the transfer market was good and he brought in some good players to this club.

The problem in his first season is that we didn't have anybody who could score. Once Kevin Campbell was added, we finished the season incredibly well.

A midfield in the days of 4-4-2 of Barmby, Dacourt, Hutchison and Collins was incredibly strong.

Unfortunately there was an incredibly unstable regime behind him and he was soon having to sell all of the better players and shop in the bargain basement for replacements.

He also inherited some extremely bad apples and the toxic but influential contingent of younger players within the squad was something that undermined his early regime. Cadamarteri, Dunne, Ball, Jeffers. Good players but bad characters.

A good man who represented our club exemplarily.

Jerome Shields
44 Posted 26/10/2021 at 18:14:04
I think you're right: Kenwright had conditions of sale, where Moshiri put in the money and Kenwright was able to continue as before. Moshiri probably got his shares at a discount and did not look what he thought was a gift horse in the mouth.

His attempt at control was a reaction to his money going south under Kenwright. I think this is a natural reaction to losing money. I can do as well as they can. When he adopted this attitude, Kenwright & Co let him have enough rope to hang himself.

Silva was not such a bad appointment, but he was an honest man amongst gangsters at Finch Farm. The Saha Summer did him in, as Brands proved to be a man of straw.

Anthony Dove
45 Posted 26/10/2021 at 18:20:43
Sad news. His appointment was a real coup at the time, as he was then regarded as one of the top managers in the game. It didn't really work out for a variety of reasons.

I never thought much of his "bad cop" sidekick, Archie Knox.

Kieran Kinsella
46 Posted 26/10/2021 at 18:31:14
Kevin Campbell pretty much sums up the predicament Walter found himself in:

He said: “When I first got to Everton and spoke to him, we spoke about everything.

“Everton were supposed to be getting a new training ground and he said: ‘I'm not going to hold my breath. I've been promised stuff I've never got' so I just replied: ‘Welcome to football!' We both just burst out laughing. He got on with it and never moaned that he didn't get the support he deserved or what he was promised and he just got on with it."

And on a more personal level:

"“He made me captain as well, the first black captain of Everton, which is something that I'm so proud, and he was instrumental in all the good parts for me so I cannot thank him enough – it's such a sad, sad day.”

Seems like a long time ago now but this wasn't all that long after people hurled bananas at John Barnes and obviously Campbell suffered horrific abuse in Turkey. Again shows Walter had integrity.

Lee Courtliff
47 Posted 26/10/2021 at 18:50:01
RIP Walter. And condolences to his family and friends.

Steven Astley
48 Posted 26/10/2021 at 18:58:52
RIP Walter. Such a gentleman. You came highly regarded and, if I may say, our own equivalent back then of a "Hollywood" manager. You brought me some happy times and fond memories as an Everton supporter.

The hope you gave us with your first wave of signings, Materazzi, Dacourt, Collins... I don't think it's been matched since.

John Boon
49 Posted 26/10/2021 at 19:08:02
I actually met Walter Smith due to the strangest of circumstances. My Scottish wife and I were on a trip to Phoenix about 9 years ago. We were in a travel stopover and she got in a conversation with another lady. I had my Everton jacket on and, being in my usual impatient "Let's go" mood, I walked over to say just that: "Let's go!"

The other woman looked at me and immediately said, "Oh, my husband managed that team." I didn't know just what she meant until I realised that she was looking at the badge on my Everton jacket.

Still surprised, I said "Everton?" She said "Yes," and pointed to her husband, Walter Smith, who was in another aisle, reading a brochure. As soon I saw him, I went "Wow, Walter Smith!"

He was extremely polite and we talked for a good 20 minutes about his career and Rangers and Everton etc. He was on his way further south to meet his brother at a family wedding. I actually invited him to stop over on the way back. That was the highlight of our month-long stay in Arizona, also the first day of our trip.

Yes, he was young to go at 73. I know of one poster who does not like me ever mentioning my age but here goes. I have just come in from my daily bike ride to be greeted by the same aged 82-year-old wife. I would never have met Walter Smith if she had not been a yackety yack Scot who could get to speaking to anyone, at any time, anywhere. She married an impatient scouser 56 years ago.

RIP, Walter Smith, you made my day on a day to remember and more important: "You managed Everton."

It has also made me understand that, relative to life itself, a 5-2 loss to Watford is so insignificant... well, at least until we beat Wolves.

Kieran Kinsella
50 Posted 26/10/2021 at 19:22:09

That's a nice anecdote mate. Thanks for sharing that. Good to hear from someone who can confirm in person that he was the gent he seemed to be from afar.

Soren Moyer
51 Posted 26/10/2021 at 20:22:35
RIP Walter. This terrible news certainly makes the past few days even more awful. Condolences to his family.
Chris Corn
52 Posted 26/10/2021 at 20:51:05
I accept I am a hypocrite for this because I personally thought he should have gone after the Tranmere cup debacle. However, My brother wrote a letter to the club around 2000, possibly around this time venting his frustration.

Walter personally rang my brother. Initially the conversation was a bit fractious as he must have thought my brother (who had represented Everton to youth and reserve team level) was just another moaning unknowledgable fan. Once he realised he represented the club, my brother said it was a great honest, candid conversation.

He even conceded that Unsworth tended to "panic in posession" when he was asked why DU just hoofed it up the pitch continually. He also put him in the picture re his frustration over financial constraints preventing him buying true quality.

I also know of a similar anecdote via another friend.

What manager would do that now under those circumstances.

I know there was covid contact to vulnerable fans from players and manager last year, which was admirable but those were wholly different circumstances.

Smith was a decent man with honesty and integrity. RIP gaffer.

We could do with Archie's bat back to install some work ethic and discipline. Instead we have Jose Baxter probably passing round a bong.

Paul Birmingham
53 Posted 26/10/2021 at 20:53:28
RIP Walter Smith, a true gent and it’s a sad day for football. Deepest condolences to his Family.
Gaute Lie
54 Posted 26/10/2021 at 22:24:17
RIP Walter Smith. My condolances to his family. He did a good Job at Everton with very limited resources. Hope hes at peace now.
Mike Rees
55 Posted 26/10/2021 at 22:56:17
RIP to Walter Smith. He may not have been the successful manager we were all hoping for; but he was a solid decent man who did the best he could under difficult financial circumstances faced by our club at that time.

Sincere condolences to his loved ones..

Ian Linn
56 Posted 27/10/2021 at 01:12:34
RIP Walter Smith, condolences to your family.
Ron Marr
57 Posted 27/10/2021 at 01:15:46
RIP Walter Smith. Amazing record with Rangers.
Mike Gaynes
58 Posted 27/10/2021 at 02:49:21
John #49, nice story. Cherish that memory.
Steve Brown
59 Posted 27/10/2021 at 07:53:14
Great story John, I really enjoyed reading that.

Walter Smith was the right manager at the wrong time. The 90s was when Everton stopped being a serious club and the embodiment of that was Johnson and Kenwright.

Brian Murray
60 Posted 27/10/2021 at 09:06:18
It’s been said on here his first batch of signings had us believing ( again ). I asked Kenwright outside Goodison on the last game of a particular season as them shower where about to parade down queens drive with two trophies why the hell wont he give out best player a decent contract ( Hutchison ) but give a 31 year old Campbell a new five year one. Nothing changes eh. His last game in the cup at boro we made an ageing Paul ince look like platini. R.i.p. Walter.
Martin Reppion
61 Posted 27/10/2021 at 10:15:48
If you haven't read Pat Nevin's autobiography, you should.

In it he mentions that, as a kid, he was invited to a summer school and trial for kids at Dundee United. Whilst there, a young player/coach left the first-team group and gave the 13-year-old Nevin a personal session to improve his kicking technique. That was the first time he met Walter Smith.

A generous football man, happy to give his time freely to help a young wannabe player. RIP.

Kieran Kinsella
62 Posted 27/10/2021 at 11:39:24
I was quite excited when I’d heard we’d pushed ahead of Sheff Wed to snap up the 7 time Championship manager at Rangers who’d also taken them to the champions league final four. Ultimately due in large part to matters out of his control it didn’t work out. But I have some fond memories of his era.

1. The first summer. After gambling on kids like John Oster a year earlier. I was on holiday in Perugia when I heard of our interest in Marco Materazzi. Granted I knew little about him though I’d seen him train a few days before. Then there was John Collins, the Rolls-Royce of Monaco. The kind of cultured midfielder we’d lacked since Steven and Sheedy. Olivier Dacourt — the next Viera. Just the quality of the players excited me. I thought we were ready to return to the big time. And regardless of Everton, all of them showed their quality elsewhere.

2. That Newcastle game. It was November and we were yet to win a home game. Worse still, behind Walter’s back, the club had sold Big Dunc to our opponents prior to the game. We finally got a break with a penalty and a young lad Walter had taken a chance on — Michael Ball — stepped up and slammed home the winner.

3. Kevin Campbell. He’d been frozen out at Arsenal but had a decent spell at Nottingham Forest before a troubled spell in Turkey. We were on the verge of relegation but Walter knew a good player when he saw one and rolled the dice. Super Kev almost single-handedly saved us from the drop.

4. Manchester United. They’d just won the treble and, after our struggles the year before, I was crestfallen and terrified of playing them in the season opener. My late Uncle Jim — a wise fellow — seeing my angst, assured me it would be okay. I spent much of the game hiding behind the couch but Walter inspired a hard-fought gritty draw against arguably the best team in the world.

5. Ibrahima Bakayoko. I had a mate in Manchester who was a Southampton fan. He came to Goodison Park every year for the Saints game. The tight wad refused to pay up when I bet him we’d win 6-0 under Joe Royle as we won 7-1. He also had the last laugh a year before when Kevin Davies tormented the Howard Kendall Mk III team. I was anxious on our next visit as our dribbler with no end product had failed to score a goal. But again, Walter came through for me as Bakayoko made a dizzying run and scored the winner as I stood in the Park End — his first goal for the club. There was a moment of shocked silence during which one old fellow shouted “About bloody time!” Then pandemonium.

Thanks for the memories, Walter.

Jack Convery
63 Posted 27/10/2021 at 11:57:11
Lovely piece by Tom English on the BBC sports website today. Well worth a read.

Lots of heartfelt tributes for Walter, since the announcement of his passing and well deserved too.

Mike Gaynes
64 Posted 27/10/2021 at 17:35:21
This brief tribute from Richard Gough is worth a read as well:

With Walter Smith at Rangers, I had the best years of my life

Peter Fearon
65 Posted 27/10/2021 at 17:58:02
The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft... well, you know the rest.

"Legendary Manager" Walter Smith may be mourned across Planet Football, as the BBC and others claim, but I will remember him as the singular worst manager in our history.

I recall most of all his inane analysis of poor results, which were usually punctuated with repeated use of the word 'disappointing'. It was a flawed appointment from the start.

Everton were in dire financial straits while Smith's reputation had been made at Rangers, which had spent more on players than any other club in Scotland and England combined. He stacked Everton with superannuated has-beens looking for one last place to hang their hats while selling talented young players like Michael Ball and Richard Dunne.

The darkest day was against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup. On the teamsheet that day were Paul Gascoigne, Scot Gemmill, Alec Cleland and Jesper Blomqvist. A nightmare 7-minute spell put us 3-0 down before half-time – and we never looked like achieving more than damage control.

After the game, he blamed the fans for the atmosphere of doom at Everton, suggesting it was our expectation of success that was the problem. If only we would get used to losing, that logic went, things would look better.

Not long after, he was mercifully sent packing along with his Rottweiler sidekick, the bullying Archie Knox. RIP Walter.

Tommy Carter
66 Posted 27/10/2021 at 18:34:16
Peter Fearon.

I think to call Smith out as the worst manager in our history is absolutely and incredibly disrespectful. Also, it’s very inaccurate.

I’m not going to name others that were worse as it’s obvious.

Walter served our club with integrity and utmost professionalism. He made some good signings and he made some bad ones. There were moments when the football was incredibly dull and ultimately he failed to move the club or team forward in his time with us. He certainly didn’t take it any further backward then when Kendall left in 1998.

Moyes came in and quickly injected some energy and youth. Walter trusted experience and know how. Moyes felt that immediately decreasing the age of the squad would improve us. Undoubtedly it did. I don’t even think Walter was a bad Everton manager, it just never really happened for him at Everton for a number of reasons.

As I’ve stated earlier, the younger players, although talented, were causing problems behind the scenes and were never likely to have long term futures in the game at the highest level. In fact, apart from Dunne - none of them went on to have any kind of career beyond everton. And we generated some nice transfer fees from these players.

Most players he bought were improvements on what was already there. Especially that initial transfer window when it appeared there was money available.

How ironic that Dacourt and Materazzi were almost too physical for the English game.

I would say that he was a goal scorer and a decent keeper away from us being a top side that season. Materazzi and Dacourt may have settled better in terms of discipline in season 2 and Collins, Barmby and Hutchison all became top performers in 1999/2000. The signs were there towards May 1999 that Walter was building something special with Everton. It was quickly dismantled that summer.

The better players left. Not even to top clubs or for top fees. Dacourt to Lens and Materazzi to Perugia. Jeffers put a transfer request in and Walter was left having to field the ancient centre back pairing of Richard Gough and Dave Watson (long finished at this point) in an opening day fixture versus the best club in world football. As stated above. Walter got us a point.

Richard Gough and Joe-Max Moore. That was all he could get to the club that year until later spending a fee on Stephen Hughes. That’s what Walter was working with. Obviously and in hindsight Gascoigne and Ginola were poor signings. But they were gambles that never paid off. And he was gambling with buttons, so hardly a risk. Who else was available on free transfers?

God bless you Walter. You’re one of us

Michael Kenrick
67 Posted 27/10/2021 at 18:43:55
Well done, Peter Fearon...

Unfortunately, that's exactly the Everton Manager I remember! Enough of all this saccharin lovey-dovey stuff. Time for a few home truths. Well said!

Tommy, his league position and win record with us were simply attrocious. At the end of the day, that's what defines a manager.

James Newcombe
68 Posted 27/10/2021 at 18:57:38
I remember seeing the Teletext headline of ‘Everton Sign Ginola” or words to that effect, and being very excited. Then I read the article and was quickly deflated when I realised he was 37!
Tommy Carter
69 Posted 27/10/2021 at 19:04:10
Michael. They weren’t good. We agree on that. But they were no worse than what Kendall served up in 1997/1998, Joe Royle was on the verge of delivering prior to the sack in 1997. Mike Walker. And not forgetting Moyesie finishing the 2003/2004 season one place above relegation.

There’s no ‘lovey dovey’ stuff from what I can see. Just people who can acknowledge a decent man doing his job under difficult circumstances.

Yes, the Middlesbrough game was abysmal. It got the man the sack. That’s the reality of what happened. He took us to a point where he deserved the sack and he got it. Tranmere 2001 was also a very dark moment. As was City thrashing us over the festive period of 2000/2001. Other than that, I can’t recall any frequent disasters. There were poor performances. There were also some decent ones. We gave a decent account of ourselves in derby games for the most part.

In the 1999/2000 season I went to every home game. We only lost to Arsenal, Newcastle and Middlesbrough I think? Someone please correct me if I’m wrong as that is just from memory.

We were stuffed by a last min equaliser vs Chelsea I seem to recall and otherwise recorded some memorable victories. The Derby game was one we should’ve won too after Westerveld kicked the ball against Hutchison in the last min.

I think every single Evertonian would consider 3 defeats at Goodison in a season the achievements of an half decent Everton manager.

John Raftery
70 Posted 27/10/2021 at 19:06:57
Calling Walter Smith the worst ever manager at a club which employed Ian Buchan, Mike Walker, Howard Kendall version 3.0 and Marco Silva must be a wind-up.
Kieran Kinsella
71 Posted 27/10/2021 at 19:07:11

I honesty thought he was a decent bloke and manager while alive. He went back to Rangers after all their financial trouble started and got a team to the UEFA cup final comprised of the likes of Kirk Broadfoot and Kevin Thomson. No mean feat. He also very nearly qualified with Scotland in a nightmarish group alongside Italy and France. Clearly his Everton spell was unsuccessful, but he had his moments even at Everton and broadly speaking had a successful managerial career.

For contrast, I misremembered a thread earlier this year as Billy Bignham dying when everyone seemed to say he wasn't a good manager and no one liked him. Upon review, I now realize he didn't die and it was just his birthday. But if and when he does pass on, my view of him won't suddenly become sugary sweet.

Tommy Carter
72 Posted 27/10/2021 at 19:14:55
@71 Kieran

Great point Kieran.

And an interesting one. In getting to that final his team knocked out the same Fiorentina side that had put us to the sword earlier in the competition. (Possibly the round before).

That followed one of the worst performances by an Everton team that I have seen in my lifetime (Fiorentina away). Certainly worse than any performance an Everton team entered under Walter Smith.

Mike Gaynes
73 Posted 27/10/2021 at 19:25:00
"De mortuis nil nisi bonum" ("Of the dead say nothing but good").

-- Chilon of Sparta (6th century BC), one of the Seven Sages of Greece

"Stop talking down on dead people shit gone come back and haunt you every time!"

-- Meek Mill

Matt Byrne
74 Posted 27/10/2021 at 20:17:00
Walter inherited a team that had survived relegation by the most slender margin. He was tempted by the chance to revive one of English football's traditional aristocratic clubs but was misled by the owners and was allowed to spend money we didn't have.

The incomings were a mixed standard but the likes of Dacourt, Gough, Gravesen and Campbell were strong additions whilst the likes of Hutchison did well for him.

He was treated disrespectfully by Peter Johnson over the Duncan Ferguson sale behind his back whilst the likes of Jeffers, Ball and Barmby were sold with the club in an eternal financial plight, making it difficult to build a team.

Moyes did inject a fresh approach but let's respect Walter for being a decent coach, a good man and for doing his very best for our club at a difficult time. Condolences to Walter's wife and family from all us Blues.

Joe McMahon
75 Posted 27/10/2021 at 20:40:26
Well said, Tommy C! As a person, I thought he was dignified in difficult circumstances. But (and this means something) he won at Anfield (in front of their crowd). Rangers knocking out Fiorentina who we didn't thanks to the awful first leg. He got them to a European final, which also has to be applauded.

Also, re worse Everton performances, please don't forget the 4 -1 loss to Southampton 4 years ago and the defeat to Shrewbury Town in the FA Cup the year they were relegated to the conference. It's Halloween in a few days, and they were horror at its worst.

Peter Fearon
76 Posted 27/10/2021 at 20:46:42
Tommy Carter,

I respect your recollection of Smith's management. I'm only sorry I missed all the attractive football you must have seen.

Here's the odd thing about our attitude to death. If this thread had been started while Walter Smith was still alive, there would be almost universal agreement that his period as manager was best consigned to the dustbin of football history. But, because the man has passed on at 73 – the older I get, the younger that sounds – we reach for the rose-coloured specs.

The thing I despised his management for most was that, close to the end, he made me ambivalent about the comparatively few wins we had because each one extended his tenure another few weeks.

Incidentally, Richard Dunne and Michael Ball both had good careers after Everton – in their best positions – and I don't think either was again punished for laughing on the team bus.

Tommy Carter
77 Posted 27/10/2021 at 21:12:15
Peter Fearon. If you you believe that the issue with some of the younger players at Everton around that period was laughing on the team bus, then I'm afraid you're woefully under informed.

As for your other comments on opinions about a man who has just lost his life, I will not dignify this with any kind of direct response other than to say I do not know many Evertonians who speak so negatively about the man.

Nobody is saying his management of EFC was a raging success and that is not the point being made by Evertonians, anywhere, as far as I can see.

It's more appreciation of a decent man with a very strong track record in Scotland who served our club with dignity and who has sadly died. That day comes for us all and it is only natural to reflect and remember that this was a man who did his best for our football club.

Tommy Carter
78 Posted 27/10/2021 at 21:19:37
@68 James

He was 35 and, 3 years prior, had won PFA and football writers Player of the Year.

Although it doesn't fit your narrative to be accurate, perhaps you should consider including facts rather than fiction in future posts.

He was signed for free. It didn't work. Walter got lost his job not long after.

Dale Self
79 Posted 27/10/2021 at 21:22:35
Decent Matt, very decent of you.
Peter Fearon
80 Posted 27/10/2021 at 21:40:40
Just for the record, Richard Dunne and Michael Ball, missed training on New Year's Day 2000 after they went to a party the night before. Smith, who could put them down with the best of them incidentally, fined them two weeks' wages and suspended them for three days.

Dunne was accused of laughing on the team bus travelling home after Everton's exit from the then 'Worthington' Cup at the hands of Bristol Rovers. He was dropped by Smith for the subsequent next match against Ipswich Town.

Booze culture and or gambling culture was much more common in certain clubs at that time. Dunne also got into trouble at Man City for staying out late before matches.

Tommy Carter
81 Posted 27/10/2021 at 21:46:07
You've obviously got an agenda, Peter, which I won't indulge any further.
Andy Crooks
82 Posted 27/10/2021 at 23:04:40
Some really good comments on this thread. Some appalling. "The worst manager in our history", is ill-informed and attention-seeking.

" Time for a few home truths", on a thread that is a tribute to a decent man is, frankly, vile.

James Newcombe
83 Posted 27/10/2021 at 23:28:22
I don’t have an agenda Tommy - thanks for the correction.
Kieran Kinsella
84 Posted 28/10/2021 at 03:44:08
Andy Crooks,

You're a gentleman mate. I think Michael and Peter are taking the view that if we'd started a thread on Walter a week ago most people would have had negative remarks and they feel it's phoney to change your opinion once someone passes away. Personally, I think they've misread this thread as most people carefully worded their responses to talk about the man as opposed to the Everton manager.

Moreover, I realize I'm in a minority but I do think he was a good manager based on his career as a whole and a decent man so I disagree with them on both counts but you know, everyone has their perspective right. If they want to have their say, better for them to be honest even if it's unpalatable to you and me, than to pretend they think otherwise.

Tommy Carter
85 Posted 28/10/2021 at 07:03:33
@84 Kieran

I've never known any real negative sentiment towards Walter Smith from our supporters. There's a general acknowledgement that his time here wasn't a success and that's about as far as it goes.

So I disagree. Any thread about Walter at any point after 2002 and I think there would be a mixed bag of comments but generally positive about the man but underwhelmed by how his teams performed.

I certainly do not think, had a thread about Walter been posted 12 months ago, that someone would call him out as the worst manager in our history. Which is just nonsense.

Andy is right, attention-seeking. Trolling.

Paul Swan
86 Posted 28/10/2021 at 07:45:24
Maybe another case of the right manager at the wrong time which the club seems to be world leaders in. Walter Smith's achievements can never be taken away from him but it just did not work out with us with all the off-field nonsense we were involved in.

But if we are talking about the worst managers in our history, I am today overjoyed to see that that con man Koeman has been sacked from ‘his dream job'. I wouldn't even wish him inflicted on the Geordies. At least Walter represented our club with some dignity.

Larry O'Hara
87 Posted 28/10/2021 at 16:04:13
I have no first hand knowledge that this 100% true but a friend was told this by somebody who turned up on a Monday at the old Bellefield training ground during the Smith/Knox era to do some electrical work. Knox and Smith seemed, shall we say, slightly the worse for wear as it was early Monday morning. A big bag of footballs was produced and Knox or Smith (forgotten who) emptied them all out in front of the players and said “get on with it, we’ll be in the office”. If true, this might well explain the fact that during the Smith era the team didn’t look properly trained….Of course maybe things were better on Tuesdays…😁
Derek Knox
88 Posted 29/10/2021 at 03:36:30
Apologies for not posting sooner, but have not been too good myself again, and haven't looked in to TW that much. Being a fellow Scot I only remember Walter Smith with admiration and respect, who took the position of Manager at a difficult time, and although things didn't exactly flourish on the field of play, he always transmitted that air of dignity and professionalism.

As with all things Everton, even, or more especially, now, we as loyal fans are never privy to what is going on behind the scenes, and rarely ever know the 'real story' but are left to feed off scraps of 'Chinese Whispers and Tittle Tattle Gossip' and make of them what we will.

However I digress, RIP Walter, a true gentleman !

Kieran Kinsella
89 Posted 29/10/2021 at 04:16:15
Derek Knox

Hope you're feeling better mate. Meant to ask if you've seen Brian Cox in the HBO show Succession? Dundee lad becomes Rupert Murdoch/Trump like megalomaniac. I told my Dundee born mother it explains a lot lol

Derek Knox
90 Posted 29/10/2021 at 04:39:21
Kieran, yes quite bit better thanks, must be an age thing, you try to stay as healthy as you can and something, or ailment, always tries to get in the way of it. I haven't actually seen the series but am well aware of it, I do however have access to the whole Series Collection, so one of these cold winter nights when there is little else on, or to do, I will 'catch up'.

I usually watch the BBC News every morning and funnily enough he was being interviewed about the Series, yesterday morning, and of course to promote his new Book. Generally when they have a ' Celebrity ' on the show for an Interview (many of whom I have never even heard of) it is to promote a Book/Show/Film/TV Series. Almost like a game of Charades this isn't it ?

Take care mate, and thanks for asking !

Peter Fearon
91 Posted 29/10/2021 at 13:54:29
Actually I do have an agenda. A little but of reality.

It's likely that few of us on this thread knew Water Smith personally, whether he was a saint or a sinner, so most posts about him being either a prince of a man or a fall-about drunk have no real basis. I imagine he was probably an outstanding human being absent evidence to the contrary.

That has nothing to do with his performance as manager. Yes, he had success elsewhere. But those of us who remember the actual matches, results, desultory style and atmosphere of gloom cannot possibly think of him as in any way successful at Goodison Park.

Sorry, if you do think that you either weren't there or should checked out for EOD.

I will say this: That screw-up Mike Walker comes pretty close for the worst manager title. One big difference is that there came a time when Walker admitted his deficiencies in the role. Smith blamed everyone else including the fans.

Someone went all the way back 60+ years to Ian Buchan, claiming he was worse. Management was very different then. Buchan was little more than a trainer. The board really managed the the team – and a horrible job they did in those days too.

Andy Crooks
92 Posted 29/10/2021 at 22:09:36
Peter, this was a thread lamenting the death of a former manager. What you got from adding " a little bit of reality", I really don't understand. But, I guess you got something. Why not write a piece detailing why you think he was the worst manager in our history and we can debate it.
Not sure when the funeral is, maybe wait till after that?
Dale Self
93 Posted 29/10/2021 at 22:58:25
Just don't call him Waiter Smith! Walker was worse.

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