Rangers: Walter Smith will not return in official capacity

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Interview: Rangers manager Walter Smith

Former Rangers manager Walter Smith says he will never return to Ibrox in an official capacity and regrets joining the troubled club's board.

Smith returned to Ibrox in November 2012 as a non-executive director under then-chief executive Charles Green and became chairman six months later.

"I still go to the games now and again, but I would not go back on to the board again," the 66-year-old said.

"I learned it's an environment I'm not particularly comfortable in."

Green took over after administration and subsequent liquidation of the former company that ran the club resulted in Rangers playing in the fourth tier of Scottish football.

But, despite the club since winning two consecutive promotions, boardroom battles and financial problems have persisted.

Smith also believes he should have stood down as chairman much sooner than he did in August 2013.

At the time, he accused Yorkshireman Green and former directors Brian Stockbridge and Bryan Smart of creating a "highly dysfunctional environment".

"I felt at the time that if you could help the club at all then it was the right time to do so," said Smith, who won 10 Scottish titles and led the Light Blues to the Uefa Cup final in 2008.

Walter Smith watches Rangers in November
Walter Smith still attends Rangers matches as a fan

"As it turned out, I discovered it wasn't the right time and I had to leave.

"It was chaotic enough for me to resign. The only embarrassment is I maybe held on a bit too long.

"I should have resigned long before I did, but that happens. It was an error on my own part to get involved.

"I probably shouldn't have joined them at all and I won't go back in an official capacity again."

Present chief executive, Derek Llambias, is a business associate of Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley, who is a shareholder whose recent loans to Rangers have helped keep the Scottish Championship club solvent.

Rangers' board has rejected two takeover offers from American banker Robert Sarver, while prominent Rangers fans such as Douglas Park and Dave King have bought major shareholdings.

Asked if he supported Park in the struggle for control at Ibrox, Smith replied: "Whether they're American or whether they're Scottish, they have to bring an element of trust back into the club again and get the trust of the supporters. Trust is a big factor.

"I don't know enough about anything that's going on in the background at the moment to support one and not the other.

"All I would say is that I wish everyone would get together and rid Rangers of the problems they've had and try to get back on to a path that's more recognisable for Rangers Football Club than has been the case for the last two or three years."

Some Rangers fans have been staying away from games in protest at the boardroom problems.

"I'd be loathe to back a boycott of the club," Smith added. "You don't need to call for a boycott.

"It becomes apparent by the fact they're not going to games that they are unhappy with the circumstances of the club.

"Every club goes through a period of turmoil, although I don't think many have gone through the exceptional circumstances Rangers have, but I'm sure they'll come back."

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