Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute to his 'great friend' Walter Smith 1 month ago

Sir Alex Ferguson pays tribute to his 'great friend' Walter Smith

"Walter was a special person"

Former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has paid tribute to Walter Smith, who died on Tuesday, describing him as a "great friend."

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Smith passed away at the age of 73 having battled with illness and was Rangers' second-most successful manager of all time, having won a host of trophies. He also managed Everton and the Scottish national side.

The Scotsman also spent a brief spell at United, where he was Ferguson's assistant manager, and in a statement on the club's official website, the legendary boss gave an emotional message in which he recalled his friendship with the late Smith.

He said: "Walter was a special person. He fought his illness with great courage. He was a great friend of mine for years and years, I had him as my assistant at United in 2004 and he was also my assistant when Scotland went to the World Cup in 1986.

"In all that time you were dealing with a man with great moral compass in how he lived his life and the friendship he offered so many people. His contribution to football with Dundee United, Rangers, Scotland, Everton and Man United was immense.

"He was only at United a short time. But he was fantastic. I lost Carlos Queiroz to Real Madrid and I knew I needed an assistant so I phoned Walter about it and he came for six months and helped us win the FA Cup against Millwall. He had a wonderful connection with people because he was a great listener, that was one of his greatest qualities.

"He listened and showed an interest in people and helped everyone he could. It's such a loss to the game and to everyone that knew him. I send my sincere condolences to his wife Ethel and his two sons Neil and Steven. I'll miss him greatly."

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Rangers held a minute's silence during their training session on Tuesday as a mark of respect while Steven Gerrard cancelled his press conference ahead of the Gers' fixture against Abderdeen on Wednesday night at Ibrox.

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