All band members didn't do very much to avoid Ian Stewart having to step down from the Rolling Stones, perhaps because they thought Andrew Oldham's decision was indisputable and that the olive branch he offered was the only possibility to keep Stu in their ranks. According to Keith Richards "it was a very hard thing. Stu wasn't surprised, and I think he'd already made his own decision about what he would do about it if it turned up. He understood it totally.
We expected Stu to go "Fuck you. Thanks a lot". That was where the largeness of Stu's heart really displayed itself. From then on, OK, I'll drive you about. He was on all the records, he was only interested in the music. To us he never was fired. And he understood it totally. "Don't look the same as you, do I?". He had the largest heart in the world, man. He was instrumental in putting us together and he wasn't about to let us drop because he was put in the background".
When author Stanley Booth worked on his biography on Keith Richards, he played Ian Stewart the tape of Keith saying that Stu's decision to stay as the band's road manager was incredibly big-hearted. Stanley Booth: "I played Stu the tape of Keith saying that about him, and Stu was very touched, so much so that he said "Oh, bollocks", or words to that effect. I figured I could still enjoy what I was doing and stay around. But you have to be a little bitter. After all, it wasn't nicely done. But this isn't a very nice business".
Adapted from the following sources:
Keith Richards, Life, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2010.
Stanley Booth, Keith: Till I Roll Over Dead, Headline Book Publishing, 1994.