FROMER Rangers manager Walter Smith has joined the new regime at Ibrox by accepting a place on the board.
Rangers, who remain top of the Third Division after beating Peterhead 2-0 at the weekend, last night announced that Smith and retired Glasgow businessman Ian Hart had accepted the role of non-executive directors.
The move is a huge coup for chief executive Charles Green, who has been trying to bring Smith on board since the former Scotland manager launched a takeover bid hours after Green’s Sevco Scotland company initially took control at Ibrox in June.
Smith, who managed Rangers to ten league titles in two spells, described his appointment as a “great privilege”.
In a statement issued by the club, he said: “Serious constructive efforts are being made to rebuild Rangers after a very difficult period in the club’s history and if I can play a part helping that process, I am willing to do so.
“Apart from being a former manager of the club, I am first and foremost a supporter and am no different from the many thousands of other Rangers fans who have shown they’re willing to do what they can to ensure Rangers rises again.
“I must make it clear, however, that I will not be playing any role in the day-to-day running of the club or the team.
“The role I will fulfil is to bring my experience of Rangers and football in general to the board table and that is what I will do.
“The people who purchased the club have shown over the last few months they are serious in their intentions to rebuild Rangers and I am happy, as many other fans have done, to lend my support.”
Hart is another who has been won round by Green. The businessman was initially named by Sevco as one of their investors on the day they bought the assets of the soon-to-be-liquidated Rangers, but he soon issued a denial. Hart said then that his investment had been historical with money “lying about in the youth development department” and aligned himself with Smith’s consortium.
Last night he said: “The board felt there was a need to bring in people with background and experience in the west of Scotland and I am happy to play my part.
“I have been a supporter of the club and youth development programme, in particular, for a very long time and I think this is an area that will become increasingly important to all clubs in years to come.”
The pair join Green, chairman Malcolm Murray and finance director Brian Stockbridge on the board. Green, who has launched a £20million share issue, said: “As head of the executive team at the club it is extremely important to have a board that has the respect of investors and Rangers supporters.
“The consortium I led to buy the club are not Rangers people but there could be none better than Walter and Ian to fill that void and we are delighted they have agreed to become non-executive directors to broaden the skills and qualifications of the board.”