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I'll quit Rangers if summer cutbacks scupper 3-in-a-row bid, vows Walter Smith


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WALTER Smith admitted last night he could quit the Ibrox hotseat rather than accept the cutbacks he fears will ruin his chances of three in a row.

The Rangers manager was speaking after being named Clydesdale Bank Manager of the Year at a plush ceremony in Glasgow - and with his side now just 90 minutes away from securing a second successive SPL crown.

But while Smith - who was with his team captain Davie Weir, voted SPL Player of the Year, and Dundee United's Davie Goodwillie, who lifted the Young Player award - closes in on this year's SPL title he continues to fret over the bank's plans.

The money men intend to slash the Gers manager's budget for the next campaign if no new owner is secured in the coming weeks.

And yesterday he not only warned that the cost-cutting measures will make it almost impossible for Rangers to win next year's title, he also confessed that the prospect of staying on to fight a losing battle might force him into retirement.

Smith said: "Retirement is a nasty word for some people and it might be for me as well but you've got to enjoy what you're doing.

"I'm enjoying it at the moment but I don't know that I would if we were to enter a situation where it's even harder to maintain the success we've had recently.

"If that happens it would take away some of the enjoyment. I find that as I get older I take the defeats harder."

And Smith said the next few weeks will be decision time for the bankers, the club's would-be buyers and also for himself and his backroom team.

The 62-year-old returned to the helm three-and-a-half years ago when he answered a plea from former chairman Sir David Murray.

In that time he has transformed the fortunes of his team, winning two League Cups and two Scottish Cups as well as leading Rangers to a UEFA Cup Final and last season's SPL title.

But he said: "When I came back Sir David told me he'd be putting the club up for sale so I knew there was going to be a bit of upheaval. I think we've been through that now but I feel the summer must bring it to an end.

"Everyone has to start making a decision one way or the other and I mean the people who have been talking about buying the club here. If no one buys it then I'll need to sit down, take everything into account and make my decision.

"Then again I might get sacked and that would take it out of my hands."

Smith is adamant that, if no buyer comes forward, the current plans to further restrict his spending will have a catastrophic effect.

He said: "Under the current circumstances, next year will be very difficult. If nothing changes, if there is no buy-out or anything like that, it will be a very tough season for us.

"I don't know if it would be my hardest season because I haven't faced it yet. But we have had a situation here where our squad has been cut down and down.

"The players have been together throughout all this and the bond they have has helped us through the different problems.

"But next year is totally dependent on what happens in the close season. It is difficult to gauge what is going to happen.

"If there is no change at all, and the plan which is in place at present is implemented, then it will be an extremely difficult season for the club."

Smith says he has already been forced to reduce a 28-man squad to a core of just 16 senior professionals.

But six of them - Kris Boyd, David Weir, Nacho Novo, DaMarcus Beasley, Kirk Broadfoot and Stevie Smith - are out of contract this summer.

And the manager said: "Right now we don't know if we will even have the same group next season. We have the capability to offer them new contracts but we have not reached agreement with any of them yet.

"It would be unlikely we will have the same squad. We will have to get other players. We might only be able to replace those who leave.

"I don't think we will lose all six, we might get half of them staying. But we can't answer that yet.

"That is one of the main problems at the moment. I can put together a pre-season schedule but I can't plan for buying someone if I don't know if the finance is there for it."

Smith admitted the on-going crisis is sapping his enthusiasm for the job - and urged the bankers to rethink their summer strategy.

He said: "The main thing for me is the impact the cutbacks will have on the club and whether I'll have the enthusiasm to do that again.

"Maybe it will take someone younger to have the desire to handle all this.

"As a manager you get motivation from players a lot of the time.

"At Man United, Sir Alex works with Wayne Rooney, Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic. That keeps you going.

"What we're looking at here is downsizing. The boys here have been fantastic in their approach to everything I've asked them to do and to have lost only two league games is a tremendous achievement.

"They have kept me going. However, it's not only me but the players and the staff who need a bit of help now by bringing in new players who will give us some freshness and a different outlook.

"All these things have been pointed out to the bankers but they only look at the financial side of things whereas I'm inclined to look at the team."

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Here's more;

Walter Smith collected the Clydesdale Bank Manager of the Year award at a glitzy bash in Glasgow last night.

He hopes to lift the big one at Easter Road on Sunday to complete one of the greatest seasons of his 19 years as a manager.

On the face of it, things could hardly be more perfect.

And that, as it turns out in this time of crisis at Ibrox, might just be Smith's biggest problem of all.

Yesterday the Rangers boss talked of his own achievements throughout a turbulent last 12 months and somewhere, below a sense of personal satisfaction, lay a troubled soul.

It is almost as if Smith sees himself as some sort of 'enabler' to the very people he regards as carrying a threat to the future of the club he loves.

By doing his job so well he is, in fact, allowing these shadowy figures to push on with plans to squeeze his squad until the pips squeak.

No new players for two years? What's the problem? With Smith at the helm Rangers have continued to clock up titles and trophies in the face of these savage cutbacks and, indeed, are on course once more for another £12million Champions League pay-out.

The men with their fingers on the purse strings might even have momentarily loosened their grip to pat each other's backs as Smith's side saw off Hearts to move within 90 minutes of a second straight title.

But yesterday Smith attempted to slap them back to reality before it really is too late for this club and their 62-year-old manager.

His message to the money men was cold and clear: He cannot take much more of this.

What's more, his team can't be stripped back further or allowed to stagnate any longer.

Should this warning fail to register with those currently calling the shots then Rangers will lose more than just their title next season. They stand to cut adrift the man who has glued their broken club together all this time.

Smith said: "They see the team winning the League Cup and with a good opportunity to win the league and probably think that whatever they do isn't going to have a major impact or be a damaging influence.

"Unfortunately, they don't realise just what it takes for an Old Firm team to be successful. We've handled it all right this season but unless we get a little bit of help in terms of increasing our pool of players it'll be very difficult for us to recreate that again.

"That becomes a factor in any decision I make about my future."

Smith will not be drawn any further on that particular question. Not yesterday at any rate.

He insists he is still to make his mind up.

But he is certain about one thing. Without a new owner riding to the rescue in the next few weeks, Rangers are about to be forced by Lloyds Group into a new round of cost-cutting that he believes will cripple the team, perhaps for many years to come.

Smith said: "Rangers have had periods when they've gone a long while without winning championships and I would hope we wouldn't be going back into that situation.

"There's not a full realisation of the exact impact the implementation of the plan for next year will have.

"I can appreciate the reasons why the plan was put in place but I'll never agree with it. If there is continued downsizing then that will impact on our ability to succeed at a time when we need to succeed - it's a fairly straightforward situation."

In contrast, behind the scenes the situation at Rangers could hardly be more confused.

And yet, against this backdrop of uncertainty, Smith will manage one of his finest triumphs if he can haul his team over the SPL line at Hibs.

Little wonder then that he is quietly satisfied with his own contribution.

He said: "With everything going on at Rangers, it has been a very unusual season for me.

"It has been happening for 18 months now since every player was told they were up for sale in the January window.

"It has been in the last 12 months the effects have kicked in. There have been awkward situations - people not sure about the future of the club and their place of employment.

"Management is difficult under those circumstances but my players have made it easier for me.

"They have not let things affect them and have kept their focus."

In fact, they have defied their own manager who feared he was asking too many of these players to go back to the well too often. In their own way, they too have enabled the bankers to continue to pillage the club.

"In the first year we had a group of 27 or 28 first-team players. Now we are down to 16 really," Smith says in a matter-of-fact manner as he contemplates how much tighter this squeeze might yet become.

There are still no guarantees, for example, of how much of the Champions League bounty the bank would be willing to give back to the manager should entry be secured.

Smith said: "It would free up a little bit more money but even then you are not talking about a lot.

"The whole object of the plan is to get the debt down. So we won't have a lot of money at the end of the season if things remain as they are.

"If you get success on the pitch, you would hope to benefit from it but it doesn't seem as if the team will benefit greatly from any success we have."

There is one obvious solution.

http://www.<No links to this website>/football/spl/rangers/2010/04/20/rangers-boss-walter-smith-sounds-new-warning-over-future-if-club-is-not-allowed-to-build-on-success-86908-22198355/

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its just not appreciated how tough its been working under these constraints. Schellick have been chucking money all over on a new manager, players n Robbie Keane and still whinge we are winning the title on dodgy ref decisions

so Walter has the constraints plus I think he was tricked into letting Pedro go as he expected to get Obertan or a different player on loan as a consequence of Pedros' sale....then you have that lot with their dodgy ref screams all over the press detracting from the good performances we have had to put in to get where we are plus Mopes constant digs we were playing unattractive non attacking football never mind our vastly superior goal difference

altogether very frustrating for Walter and the squad on all fronts :angry:

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ffs smith, it was only last october that you started a media frenzy by claiming the banks were running rangers football club

then about 7 weeks ago you claimed the debt was exaggerated, now your threatening to chuck it if the club downsizes

make yer mind up ffs

Exactly what I was thinking, I cannot see what he is trying to acheive with such comments. Contradicting himself once was bad enough, but to go back on his word again...?

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ffs smith, it was only last october that you started a media frenzy by claiming the banks were running rangers football club

then about 7 weeks ago you claimed the debt was exaggerated, now your threatening to chuck it if the club downsizes

make yer mind up ffs

Exactly what I was thinking, I cannot see what he is trying to acheive with such comments. Contradicting himself once was bad enough, but to go back on his word again...?

Walter is a clever man, he will say something at the right time for the right reason, look back when he has opened his mouth and the outcome of it, and read between the lines, he is telling those that might be interested in buying the club to get of their fat arses and do something about it.

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i also love how people mention the fact that rangers havent bought a player for 18months

when smith went on that spending spree after the kaunas shambles, we ended up with a squad that was far too big for a domestic campaign alone, we had a first team squad of almost 30

the fact is, even our current squad should be good enough to beat EVERY scottish team,

the "no new players for 18months" might be a blessing in disguise, how much wages were we spunking away on 12 first team squad members that cannot even make the bench for matchdays

take nothing away from the current squad, they have been fantastic in getting results this season, but as the best squad in scottish football we SHOULD be

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Personally, WShas come out with this to gee up the silent buyers ou there. If the league is tied up on Sunday then the financial position of the club is stronger due to CL money.

This is a timeous reminder that new funds are needed ... Badly &urgently.

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If we don't retain and add players we will struggle in the Champions League again.

we will struggle anyway. No matter what way you look at it we don't have the quality that others have.

Any fund for players wouldn't be great so neither would the new purchases ... You pay peanuts you get monkeys.

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If we don't retain and add players we will struggle in the Champions League again.

we will struggle anyway. No matter what way you look at it we don't have the quality that others have.

Any fund for players wouldn't be great so neither would the new purchases ... You pay peanuts you get monkeys.

I'd like to think if we added a couple players, especially in the wide areas, we would at least finish 3rd. This year was an embarassment!

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If we don't retain and add players we will struggle in the Champions League again.

Never mind the Champions League, we will struggle in the SPL!

If celtc were to improve, we would struggle to win the league.

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If we don't retain and add players we will struggle in the Champions League again.

Never mind the Champions League, we will struggle in the SPL!

If celtc were to improve, we would struggle to win the league.

Lose players like Davis or Bougherra, don't replace them, or replace them with a lower calibre of player, and we are in trouble.

This squad needs to keep a hold of it's better players, and add more.

Fcuk know's what we will have come the start of next season?

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If we don't retain and add players we will struggle in the Champions League again.

Never mind the Champions League, we will struggle in the SPL!

If celtc were to improve, we would struggle to win the league.

Lose players like Davis or Bougherra, don't replace them, or replace them with a lower calibre of player, and we are in trouble.

This squad needs to keep a hold of it's better players, and add more.

Fcuk know's what we will have come the start of next season?

Absolutely. It's vital we hold onto Davis and Bougherra. Although I'm not very optimistic about holding onto Boughy.

In terms of additions, the only one we know we'll have is Webster and even though he has had a good season, questions remain about his fitness.

Adding at least one wide player is vital! We did add one this season, but Rothen was a flop.

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Didn't read every word.. But where does it say he'll chuck it? He admits it will be difficult. That's not chucking it. Difficult times ahead for sure. I don't see him leaving.. and don't see how he has contradicted himself either.

He must be extremely frustrated at this time. And God knows where we would be without him? If we don't get a buyer before next season, I suspect we will need Walter even more than we did this year.

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Walter is a very intelligent man and his comments and views are voiced with a sense of purpose and motive.

The effects of further downsizing and cutbacks would be fatal for the clubs on the field success for seasons to come and the bankers must be forced to look beyond the balance sheet.

This is partly what I believe WS is trying to get across. The sale of yet more established players without bringing in quality replacements and actually improving the squad will see results suffer, attendances dwindle, merchandise sales fall, and all other sorts of negative implications. ( This is what the bank must be forced to realise ).

I certainly don't embrace and agree with all of Walters footballing philosophies but I have nothing but trust and admiration in what he has done and continues to do for this great club. Walter Smith has been our eyes and ears at board level, our leader in the media and our hero in delivering success on the pitch in such trying circumstances.

We should all be thankful for the wonder that is Walter Smith because without him we might be reading banners with quotes like 'At least Le Guen could cook' ?

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