Smudger speaks in Stornoway

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Gordon Smith returned to the club that had never left his heart only to have it broken by former Rangers owner Craig Whyte.

The former Gers star, part of the club’s treble winning team of 1978, returned to Ibrox for an ill-fated seven month spell as Director of Football in 2011 which ended under a cloud as Smith departed as the club slipped into administration.

But the 58-year-old has repeatedly laid the blame at former owner Whyte’s door both for lying to the club’s loyal supporters and to him during his second, heartbreaking stint at Ibrox.

Smudger was in Stornoway this week as the latest Rangers legend invited for a full-house question and answer session at the Lewis and Harris Rangers Supporters Club in the town.

As he opened his heart in an exclusive chat with the Stornoway Gazette this week he confessed he had regrets about his most recent spell at the club.

“Very much so,” he reflected. “My main one is going back as I didn’t foresee what was coming.

“I went back in all good faith to be the Director of Football. I had met Whyte one day and told him what he needed in regards to someone reporting on the football side outwith the manager with a more independent view. He later contacted me and offered me the job.

“At that time I had every faith and confident he could take the club forward.

“I did ask him at the meeting if he was there to sell it on or stay on and he insisted he wanted to stay for a good length of time.

“So I was thinking of the job as a four or five year job. I was putting in medium to long term strategies in place but he never let me get on with it.

“He was saying the big tax case was hanging over us and we couldn’t do certain things until it was resolved and each time I asked him if we were going to go into administration and he would just say ‘it depends on the big tax case.’

“In reality we were in administration before the big tax case was ever decided. It was his management of it which was wrong but he was spending money. He did put money out for transfers and he increased wages by quite a bit but the main thing of that was to get players on contract, for value, to sell on.

“That was the short termism and I wasn’t involved in that as I was looking at medium to long term.”

With the club struggling in administration and teetering on the brink they were seemingly hauled back from the abyss by Charles Green who bought Whyte’s shares.

Of course this story didn’t have a happy ending either with Green, who visited Stornoway himself earlier this year, stepping down from the club and selling his shares on after being linked with a secret deal with Whyte amidst a host of accusations and controversies.

For the full interview see this week’s Stornoway Gazette, out now.