Sunday, January 10, 2016

10 January 2007 - Apparently, You Can Go Home Again

On 10 January 2007, Rangers confirmed the return of manager Walter Smith, who had previously led the club to a massive haul of silverware from 1991 to 1998.

Smith originally joined the Glasgow club in 1986 as an assistant to Graeme Souness. The pair provided immediate rewards, delivering the league title in their first season. When Souness left in 1991 for Liverpool, Smith stayed to take the reins and proceeded to win the league for 7 consecutive seasons, including a treble win in 1993. That success came at a price, however--in his 6 seasons in charge at Ibrox, Rangers spent £50m in transfer fees, the most of any UK club over that period.

Smith retired in May 1998, but not for long; he became Everton's manager the next month. But the successes did not follow and he was sacked after three seasons. After a brief spell as an assistant at Manchester United, the Scottish FA tapped him to lead the national team.

Meanwhile, Rangers found it difficult to fill Smith's shoes. His two immediate successors, Dick Advocaat (1998-2001) and Alex McLeish (2001-2006), both started well but soon faltered. And McLeish's replacement, Paul Le Guen, lasted only 10 months, prompting the club to send the distress call to Smith. He repaid them by returning Rangers to the top of the league in 2009 and 2010.

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