Smith admits he was close to Rangers exit
• Manager believes his job was under serious threat• Smith stayed to protect his assistant Ally McCoist
Walter Smith has revealed his position as the Rangers manager was under serious threat earlier this year as the club looked to cut costs. Earlier this week Smith agreed to work on without a contract when his current deal expires in January.
Rangers have been under pressure to reduce their debt, which stands at £31m, and Smith knew the manager’s salary was an area where potential savings could be made. However, he lifted some of the pressure in May by ensuring Rangers reached the lucrative Champions League by clinching the club’s first Scottish Premier League title in four years.
Smith is keen to hand over the reins to his assistant Ally McCoist, who has also agreed to work on a non-contract basis along with the first-team coach Kenny McDowall. And the 61-year-old admits he may have walked out of the job himself but did not want McCoist to have to deal with the financial cuts during his first months as a manager.
“I don’t think there is any doubt my position was being considered in the early part of this year,” said Smith. “The easiest thing in the world for the financial people to do is to cut costs by getting rid of a manager and bringing in someone else on a lesser wage.
“But from my own point of view there was never a feeling that I wanted to leave. On a purely personal basis, the perfect time for me to leave would have been at the end of last season. But there is a lot to be handled in these kind of situations. I did it at Everton and it’s not an easy job. Therefore I would have felt as if I was leaving Alistair and Kenny to deal with that kind of thing and that would not have been right.”
The former Scotland manager added: “Ally gave up an awful lot to take up the job at Rangers and I’ve made no secret of the fact that, when I leave, I would like him to get the chance to take over.
“I might not be leaving for a few years yet anyway. Then again, I might be leaving in a few weeks. These are the circumstances we are in.”
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