Neil Lennon: Tribute to football legend Walter Smith.

Loyal72

Well-Known Member
Lennon said: “My thoughts are with Walter’s wife Ethel, his boys and the rest of the family.

“Walter was a great man, first and foremost. He was a class act with how he dealt with people and the respect he showed everyone.

“No one was ever in any doubt how big a Rangers man he was. What he did for the club, his incredible success, will rightly never be forgotten.

“But I always appreciated how well he spoke of Celtic too. He had nothing but respect for the club and its history.

“Of course the rivalry was always there, as it should be. But Walter always spoke well, carried himself brilliantly. He was very dignified.”

He added: “I learned a lot from Walter. I knew I was going up against a Rangers legend when I became Celtic manager.

“I relished the challenge but I was just starting out, while Walter had already done so much and earned the status as one of Scottish football’s best ever managers.

“I respected his longevity as a top boss, his success, and more than anything else, his mental strength.

“Walter was a really intelligent football guy. He was always immaculate in his appearance.

“We had seven derbies in that 2010-11 season. It was a titanic year and we got pipped at the post in the league and also lost to Rangers in the League Cup.

“It was still a great learning experience for me and I picked up a lot that season going up against Walter.

“There were also a few moments in the heat of battle when he’d glance across the technical area and give me one of his famous glares, as if to say, ‘Are you sure?’.

"After derbies we would briefly meet up with our backroom staff. But you hardly got time to really talk.

“But I’d study Walter and how he went about the job.

“The longer I was Celtic manager the more I understood how good he was under the intense scrutiny and pressure.

“It was only after he left Rangers that I’d meet him at functions and events and get to know him better.

“Just before the lockdown, I sat with him and Graeme Souness for a couple of hours at a charity dinner. I really enjoyed that.”

Lennon was aware of the seriousness of Smith’s illness and he said: “I tried to keep up to date with how Walter was doing.

"I knew he hadn’t been well for a period of time.

“He turned up at that golf event and it made everyone’s day, we all took a lift from seeing Walter.

“Just to see him out and walking about was great. I was delighted to see him, as always.

“I’d heard a few days ago that things weren’t great. But the news today has still come as a big shock.

“I’m upset because I respected Walter a lot.

“He was a massive figure in Scottish football. But people will also speak about him in just as great terms as a person, and rightly so.

“I’ll never forget how Walter helped me during some of my toughest times.”
 

Arkansasgerstill

Well-Known Member
There are many times I don't understand where Lennon's head is, but with this he has demonstrated just what a remarkable man Walter Smith was. He bridged gaps in life that many of us think are unbridgeable, and even in death he is doing the same. To be so admired by your opponent is a rare commodity. A nod to Neil Lennon for articulating his own interfaces with Walter so well.
 

watty200

Well-Known Member
Nice words from Lennon.

We've heard glowing tributes from Brown, Lawwell, and now Lennon (all bitter rivals) but it shows how well appreciated and respected Walter was, regardless of the team he represented. A true gentleman, loved by all.
 

Loyal72

Well-Known Member
Yeah, this one really highlights just how good a man he was.

It's the recurring theme, Walter was a father figure to all, stern but fair, and always willing to talk or help.
 

Paulski55

Well-Known Member
That’s a proper tribute from that man.

I think that, behind all the bravado and the noise ups and even the hatred he has shown towards Rangers, you could see how much Lennon admired Walter. I think they got on pretty well, himself, Walter and Ally.

That’s a real deal, heartfelt tribute there and it’s massively surprising to actually type those words, but there you go!
 

Macca

Well-Known Member
Official Ticketer
That’s a proper tribute from that man.

I think that, behind all the bravado and the noise ups and even the hatred he has shown towards Rangers, you could see how much Lennon admired Walter. I think they got on pretty well, himself, Walter and Ally.

That’s a real deal, heartfelt tribute there and it’s massively surprising to actually type those words, but there you go!
Football is football, human beings and decency are thankfully very different
 

Davie Weir

Well-Known Member
Very few people are held in high regard by both sides of the old firm but it’s very clear that Walter Smith was one of them.

A legacy left behind which is bigger than any rivalry and a true legend of the game lost
 

ICA_86

Well-Known Member
I didn’t like it at the time but I always thought Walter and Lennon seemed close, but it all makes more sense to me the more I hear today.
 

Artful Dodger

Well-Known Member
Today has been terrible but it’s been lovely to read (and sad) how much of a friend and great man he was. Praise where praise is due.Some touching words from Neil Lennon well done sir.
 

Hammy

Well-Known Member
Lovely words.

Today has put things into perspective tbh. Was no fan of Lennon in a football environment but take him out, when he takes a step back he can talk well and shows respect. Fair play to him here.
 

Texas ranger

Well-Known Member
That’s a proper tribute from that man.

I think that, behind all the bravado and the noise ups and even the hatred he has shown towards Rangers, you could see how much Lennon admired Walter. I think they got on pretty well, himself, Walter and Ally.

That’s a real deal, heartfelt tribute there and it’s massively surprising to actually type those words, but there you go!
Lennon has taken a lot from Rangers fans over the years, much of it deserved given some of his behavior. But reading that, I think it really gives an insight to what it’s like to manage a Rangers or Celtic, especially if you come from the cauldron background. The pressure must be incredible at times and handling it must be more than difficult. It just adds to the long list of endearing attributes of Walter Smith that he was around that environment so many years and did nothing but demonstrate his professionalism.

I think the all around reaction of the football world today tells you everything about the man. People like Walter don’t come around very often. It’s a special talent that unites everyone.
 

Scarface

Well-Known Member
I'm sure there will be quite a few, who on this forum, we dislike and vent our anger.

But, there is a genuine respect for Walter regardless of football rivalry.

Shows you how much class and dignity Walter had.

Fair play to Lennon though.
 

LiviLoyal

Well-Known Member
That’s a really excellent tribute to be fair to Lennon. He’s far from my favourite person in football but he’s spoken very well there and it’s clear how much respect he had for Walter. Fair play.
 

Hammy

Well-Known Member
Lennon has taken a lot from Rangers fans over the years, much of it deserved given some of his behavior. But reading that, I think it really gives an insight to what it’s like to manage a Rangers or Celtic, especially if you come from the cauldron background. The pressure must be incredible at times and handling it must be more than difficult. It just adds to the long list of endearing attributes of Walter Smith that he was around that environment so many years and did nothing but demonstrate his professionalism.

I think the all around reaction of the football world today tells you everything about the man. People like Walter don’t come around very often. It’s a special talent that unites everyone.

Good post that. Let’s be honest, all being done, Lennon came from a particular background and was so consumed in winning with Celtic/beating us. He certainly didn’t help himself a lot the time but there’s been times both sides went too far and got carried away in the rivalry.

But underneath it all, there’s a respect there. Take Lennon out of the pressure cooker environment and he seemed to have a genuine affinity for Walter and Ally. It’s nice to read.
 

somervillain

Active Member
That is not unexpected. Underneath it all he got on well with Walter and Ally (despite the odd tiff with the latter).
Bit off topic, but that 'shame game' was blown way out of proportion, even by Scottish football media standards. Calls for government summits and draconian legislation (railroaded through a year later) all because of a few handbags between Lennon and McCoist.
 

WATP3006

Well-Known Member
It’s a sad day when it takes such a tragedy to unite us all for what will be a small moment. It is a testament to the man that Walter Smith is that we have seen such an outpouring of grief from all of Scottish football and further afield.

He epitomises everything it means to be a Rangers man and the way he carried himself whether win, lose or draw was part of what made him the man he is, in my opinion.

I’m sure he gloried in the rivalry and the success he had over Celtic as much as we all did but he done it with a class and respect that so many could learn from, and hopefully we all can.

Walter was a class act and a proper man in every sense of the word, it’s undeniable with the reaction that his sad passing has caused.

This will probably fall on deaf ears but let’s enjoy the rivalry, the ups and down, the highs and lows that football gives us but behave in a manner that would be befitting of the Legend that is Walter Smith.
 

So Mote It Be

Well-Known Member
And on this day of all days, it goes without saying; well done Neil Lennon.

That is the measure of how great a man Walter Smith was.

Those words are not brief, bog-standard, nor media-bytes.

Those words are genuine.

They are well thought out & they are meaningful.

Various quarters can talk of “crossing the divide”, but when a man such as Lennon speaks in such heartfelt terms, those are the words that should be heeded.

And to that sentiment, we are indebted to Walter.

He transcended this.

And what a comfort that is.
 

Rob the Ranger

Active Member
Very few people are held in high regard by both sides of the old firm but it’s very clear that Walter Smith was one of them.

A legacy left behind which is bigger than any rivalry and a true legend of the game lost
I think the only players/managers who get the "privilege" of not being hated by the other side are the ones who are respectful of each other.An example from them would be Billy McNeil who was respectful to us regarding our clubs achievements.
 

petepoto

Well-Known Member
I have said this before about Lennon but worth repeating I suppose here.

See when he is outwith being the manager of a football club...I actually he feel he talks a lot of sense and seems an alright chap. Some of his behaviour when on the booze and when in football has been pretty deplorable to say the least. He has issues for sure that make him that way.

However, good words from Lennon there. Be hard pressed to find anyone who did not have nice words to say on Smith. Legend.
 
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