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Rangers: Walter Smith made big mistake in signing Basile Boli

When Steven Gerrard led Glasgow Rangers to their 55th league title in 2021, it was the Ibrox side’s first Premiership crown for ten years.

The previous decade has been one of struggle for the Ibrox faithful, seeing their club placed into administration in 2012 following years of living outwith their means and then working their way back through the lower leagues to eventually reach the summit of Scottish football once again.

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Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard reacts after the match

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The decline of the club was down to the ridiculous spending by former owner and chairman David Murray during his 23-year association with the Light Blues.

The Ibrox side were one of the finest teams in Britain during the 1990s, with Graeme Souness and then Walter Smith leading the club to nine league titles in a row between 1988 and 1997. Smith in particular was usually handed a war chest to bring some of the best talents on the continent to Glasgow.

The likes of Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup arrived at Ibrox to much fanfare and became club legends, with Smith splashing out millions to guarantee success, but some signings didn’t have the same impact, despite draining Murray’s bank account.

Basile Boli was one of these players. Smith signed the French centre-back in 1994 having been impressed by his performances as Marseille defeated the AC Milan European juggernaut in the 1993 Champions League final.

Boli cost £2.7m – (roughly £5.9m today) and there were genuine hopes that he could form a formidable partnership with Richard Gough at the heart of the Gers’ defence and lead them to success in Europe.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work out how Smith envisaged, with Boli only staying in Scotland for one season, making 28 appearances which cost Murray just over £100k-per-match. The club did win the league title in Boli’s only season, but he couldn’t settle north of the border and soon moved back to Ligue 1, signing for Monaco.

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Despite Smith leading the team to a host of domestic honours during his first spell at the club, European success eluded him despite spending vast sums of money on Boli and Gascoigne.

Murray made plenty of excellent signings over his 23-year ownership of the club, but Boli wasn’t one of them and it turned out to be a colossal waste of money.

Article title: Rangers: Walter Smith made big mistake in signing Basile Boli

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