Life After Rangers for Walter Smith – SFA Performance Director?


So Walter Smith [delete surname if appropriate] has stated his intentions for life after Rangers. He is to quit Rangers not football, so what lies in store for him after leaving the Ibrox hot seat?

Will he as Craig Brown believes, be the perfect candidate for the role of SFA Performance Director at the SFA. Will he take on a role within Rangers Football Club as youngster John Fleck would love to see. Or will he try his hand at the English game once more after falling flat first time round with Everton?

Smith will vacate the post of Rangers manager in May, passing the baton to messers Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall. But the 62-year-old is not ready to quit football just yet.

“Everybody says I’m retiring but I’m actually leaving Rangers,” Smith said. “I still hope I’ll be able to do one or two things. Maybe not as a manager but I hope to be involved with something.”

And with the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson still on the go at Manchester United at the ripe old age of 68, he still has a few more years left in him.

Smith has won six trophies in the three seasons he has been back at Ibrox and he explained, “I saw it as a short-term job to help recover the period they were going through. The financial problems were kicking in and Sir David Murray asked me to come back. With that in mind I’d appointed younger staff in Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall who would be prepared to take over in a short period. Things have worked out okay and the two of them more than anyone else have encouraged me to stay on longer. But I have to be fair to them. That’s one of the aspects for leaving. The other is the last time I was here I maybe stayed a bit too long.”

The Role of SFA Performance Director?

The SFA, based on the Henry McLeish report, are willing to create such a role, that would oversee the future development of the Scottish game.

“He would be absolutely perfect for it. You couldn’t get a better performance director”, said Craig Brown. “I’ve said to him that I have a better role for him – we’ll give him a job scouting for Motherwell,” said Brown. “I was joking with him, of course. You couldn’t get a better guy to develop the future of Scottish football, because he’s played, coached, and managed at every level.”

“He was assistant coach of the Scottish youth team with Andy Roxburgh, and he was assistant to Alex Ferguson, Archie Knox and me at Mexico in 1986. He’s done everything, and not only that – he’s succeeded.”

Is Smith the best candidate for the job? Does the Scottish game need just ONE person to redevelop the Scottish game?

In reality, Smith at the moment is the only candidate, other than Sir Alex Ferguson himself, who could do justice to the role. And he is of course well-respected within the footballing fraternity in Scotland.

But will the SFA hand him such a role, especially since ditching the Scotland manager’s role to call Rangers’ SOS. They have no other option do they?

A Director of Football role with Rangers Football Club?

Rangers youngster John Fleck hopes that Smith would take on a role at Rangers, possibly as some suspected a few years ago, the role of Director of Football.

“It doesn’t really surprise me that he has said he wants to stay involved in the game,” Fleck told Press Association Sport. “I don’t know what he is going to do or what his feelings are but I’m sure everyone at Rangers will be hoping he stays around the club somewhere. Everyone would like to see him stay as a manager but I’m sure he will be about the club. “He’s a great manager and a great guy and he has played a big part in my development. He will take you aside and speak to you, as will Ally McCoist, Ian Durrant and Kenny McDowall. If he needs to shout at you he will but he is a lot calmer than he used to be. Who knows what he is going to do but hopefully he will still be about the club.”

However Smith’s own comments now look to have put that to bed. He is to leave Rangers, make a clean break from the club he has spent so long at, in his managerial career. And in reality could Smith just settle for an advisory role?

At least with the role of Performance Director with the SFA he can get stuck into the role, with a Director of Football’s role at Rangers, he would be nothing more than a pencil-pusher, an administrator. Certainly not a role worthy of Walter Smith’s experience nor qualifications.

The role of SFA Performance Director for Smith is a MUST, but he cannot do the job all by himself. He needs a small group of managers and/or coaches to work with to help outline the redevelopment of the Scottish game and to implement it. And with Chief Executive Stewart Regan impressing so far, with his proposed shake-up of the refereeing system, we could have the man that helps Scotland get back to the level that, we the fans deserve and the nation that helped shape World Football on the right road to where it belongs, back in the World’s top 20 nations.


About Author


Andy Muirhead is the Editor of Scotzine and the Scottish Football fanzine FITBA. He is the Scottish Football columnist for The Morning Star and has written for a number of other publications including ESPN, Huffington Post UK, BT Life's a Pitch and has had his work featured in the Daily Record, The Scotsman and the Daily Mail.

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