Scotland Wales Northern Ireland

You are in: Football: Teams: Everton  
Front Page
FA Cup
Eng Prem
World Cup 2002
Champions League
Uefa Cup
Worthington Cup
Eng Div 1
Eng Div 2
Eng Div 3
Eng Conf
Scot Prem
Scottish Cup
CIS Ins Cup
Scot Div 1
Scot Div 2
Scot Div 3
League of Wales
Rugby Union
Rugby League
Other Sports
Sports Talk
In Depth
Photo Galleries
TV & Radio
BBC Pundits
Question of Sport
Funny Old Game

Around The Uk

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC News

BBC Weather

Wednesday, 13 March, 2002, 10:43 GMT
Smith succumbs to pressure
Walter Smith left as manager of Everton
Smith (l) watched Everton crash out of the FA Cup
Walter Smith's increasingly precarious tenure came to an end on Wednesday as the mounting pressure on the Everton manager proved too much for the board to ignore.

Fans had been growing impatient with Everton's slip down the Premiership. One win in 13 League matches has taken Everton to within one point of the relegation zone.

And the clamour became a roar when Smith's side crashed out of the FA Cup with a limp 3-0 defeat against Middlesbrough on Sunday.

Smith, 54, had been performing a high-wire act at Goodison ever since he was offered the dreaded "backing" from Everton owner Bill Kenwright in January.

The club had lost five straight games either side of Christmas and despite words of encouragement, Smith was tacitly handed two games to reverse the slump.

  Smith's managerial career
1978: Assistant manager of Scottish youth team
1982: Assistant manager at Dundee United
1986: Graeme Souness' assistant at Rangers
1991: Took over as manager at Rangers
1991-1997: Rangers win seven straight Scottish titles
1998: Moved to Goodison as Everton manager
March 2002: Dismissed as Everton boss

Smith escaped battered but intact from his first hurdle, losing to Middlesbrough on New Year's Day before beating Stoke in the FA Cup four days later to act as reprieve.

But the promised transfer funds - alongside money for new training facilities and a new 55,000-seater stadium at King's Dock - proved a smokescreen.

As Everton continued to falter it became apparent that he was living on borrowed time.

Smith landed mercurial Frenchman David Ginola on a free transfer in February.

But the club needed - and fans demanded - players prepared to fight their way out of the mire, not those who struggled to extricate themselves from a paper bag.

And with Smith's other big play-making gamble - Paul Gascoigne - showing signs of advancing years, the manager's position became increasingly untenable.

On Sunday, Middlesbrough coasted to victory with three goals inside seven minutes before half-time and left Everton with just a relegation battle to look forward to.

Everton owner Bill Kenwright
Kenwright ousted Walter Smith

Smith - a tough-tackling defender at Dundee United and Dumbarton in the 1960s and 1970s - arrived at Goodison in 1998 from Glasgow Rangers.

He had presided over an outstanding period of seven successive Scottish championships at Rangers - from 1991-1997 - and two as assistant to Graeme Souness before that.

To welcome him to Everton, Smith was given money by the then chairman Peter Johnson and he bought John Collins, Olivier Dacourt and Marco Materazzi.

But the cash soon dried up and the first seeds of unrest were sown when Duncan Ferguson was sold behind Smith's back and Johnson left to be succeeded by Kenwright.

Smith was again promised money to bolster his squad on the assumption that Everton would strike a media deal.

Downward spiral

But the transaction fell through at the last minute.

Smith signed old favourite Gascoigne from Rangers and brought back Ferguson, who took seemingly permanent residence on the treatment table.

The manager also sold players such as Nick Barmby, Don Hutchison and Collins.

And last summer, two promising youngsters Francis Jeffers and Michael Ball were sold for a combined total of 16.5 m

But the coffers were not exactly fit to burst. Smith spent 4.5m on Tomasz Radzinski but was largely forced to buy at the bottom-end of the market.

He acquired the injury-plagued Jesper Blomqvist from Manchester United and Ginola from Aston Villa.

But Everton's form continued on its downward spiral, and despite support from the players, Smith was finally toppled from his perch.

Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Everton stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Everton stories

^^ Back to top