Walter Smith: Former Manchester United assistant manager dies age 73

Former Manchester United assistant manager Walter Smith has died at the age of 73.

The club tweeted: “Everyone at Manchester United is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Walter Smith.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Walter’s friends and family at this extremely difficult time.”

Smith was most closely associated with Rangers and Everton but enjoyed time with United during Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign.

Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

When was Walter Smith at Manchester United?

In March 2004, Smith joined Ferguson’s coaching team as assistant manager.

At the time, Ferguson paid tribute to Smith, saying as per BBC Sport: “There are few people in the game with his experience, knowledge and technical ability,” said Ferguson.

“I am delighted that Walter has accepted the chance to join United. His talent and background will be major assets at such a critical time of the season.”

During Smith’s time at Old Trafford, United won the FA Cup, beating Millwall 3-0 in the final thanks to a brace from Ruud van Nistelrooy and a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo.

John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

Smith was out of work having left Everton the year before when he reportedly met Ferguson following the funeral of Douglas Smith – the founder of Drumchapel Amateurs club – in Glasgow.

According to the Herald, Smith said: ”Imagine the situation.

“You are sitting at home, going to a few games as a spectator and getting a little bit frustrated when the best manager in the country asks whether you will give them a hand. I couldn’t possibly turn it down.

”Manchester United have been in [tough] situations like this before and have had the ability and determination to get through it – that is why they have been so successful over the years.”

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.