Unveiling of Walter Smith statue at Ibrox will be ‘poignant moment’

The legendary manager had two spells in charge of the Ibrox club.

Unveiling of Walter Smith statue at Ibrox will be ‘poignant moment’ – Rangers chairman SNS Group

Rangers chairman John Bennett believes the unveiling of Walter Smith’s statue at Ibrox on Saturday will be “a poignant moment” in the club’s history.

During Smith’s tenure, first as assistant manager to Graeme Souness before taking over as boss, the Light Blues lifted nine league titles in a row, as well three Scottish Cups and three League Cups.

He returned to manage his boyhood club for a second spell in 2007 following spells at Everton, as assistant coach to Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and, notably, the Scotland national team.

Smith led the Ibrox club to the UEFA Cup final a year later before going on to collect a further three league titles, two Scottish Cups, and three League Cups.

He died in October 2021, aged 73 and his legacy will be preserved in bronze on the corner of the stadium footprint between Edmiston House and the Copland Road stand.

The unveiling ceremony takes place at noon, before Rangers face Celtic in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup final at Hampden Park.

Chairman Bennett told the club’s official website: “It is a poignant moment in the history of this great football club to unveil a statue of our legendary former manager, Walter Smith.

“The outpouring of tributes which arrived from near and far following his passing two-and-a-half-years ago speaks to Walter’s stature as both a human being and custodian of our historic football club, and there is no Ranger more deserving in the modern era of being honoured in bronze.

“I would like to place on record our thanks as a club to the artist and sculptor, Douglas Jennings, as well as internal and external stakeholders who have helped facilitate the process since the commissioning of the statue in October 2022.

“I’m sure the day of the unveiling will be one full of emotion for Walter’s wife, Ethel, his two sons, Neil and Steven and the rest of the family.

“The work consolidates the significance of the great man and the place he occupies in the storied history of Rangers Football Club.”

The bronze piece has been designed and sculpted by London-based artist, Jennings, whose portfolio includes a statue of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in London and, in the football sphere, Jack Charlton and George Cohen, both of whom won the 1966 World Cup with England.

A commemorative programme marking the event will be on sale at the unveiling, with all profits going to the Rangers Charity Foundation.

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