With Norwich City, Mike Walker achieved great things. He almost led them to the title and did help the Canaries into Europe, beating the mighty Bayern Munich in Germany in the process. He became a wanted man and Everton were the team that convinced him to leave.
Unfortunately it turned out to be a huge mistake for both parties.
We've already looked at AVB at Chelsea, Roy Hodgson at Chelsea and Christian Gross at Spurs over the past three days at managers who have been in the right place at the wrong time. Today it's Mike Walker's turn.
The CV: Mike
Walker's playing career was restricted to the lower leagues. The
Colowyn Bay-born goalkeeper is best remembered for spells at Colchester
United and Watford. In 1970 Walker helped Watford reach the FA Cup semi-final. After retiring Walker went into management. He guided Colchester to the Third Division Play Offs in 1987. His big
break though came when he succeeded Dave Stringer as Norwich City manager.
Welshman was an instant success at Carrow Road. In 1993 Walker's
Canaries finished third in the Premier League. Norwich topped the table
in early March before been overhauled by Manchester United. The top
was rewarded with European football. Norwich enjoyed a sensational run
in the UEFA Cup. City beat Bayern Munich in the Olympic Stadium. A
sublime Jeremy Goss volley sealed a historic win for the Norfolk club. Norwich became the first British side to beat the German giants on home
soil. With Walker's stock at an all
time high Everton came calling.
The Nightmare: Walker's
made a dream start to his Toffees career. His first game in charge saw
a hapless Swindon Town thrashed 6-2 at Goodison. That was as good as
it got for the grey-haired boss. The silver fox was powerless as Everton plunged down the table. A disastrous run saw the Merseysiders win just three of 15
Premier League games. The collapse put Everton on the brink of
relegation. Their fate would be decided on the last day of the season. Only a win against Wimbledon would save the Blues' top flight status. It
looked like curtains when the Dons raced into a two-nil lead. A whole
generation of Evertonians had never experienced second tier football. The club was last relegated in 1951. Were the Crazy Gang about
to end this proud record?
Somehow Everton manage to save themselves. A Graham Stuart brace sandwiched Barry Hornes' piledriver
as Goodison went wild. Walker must have thought the 3-2 win would
signal better times. Those hopes were soon dashed as his side made a dreadful start to the following season. The struggling Toffees didn't win a league
game until November. Rooted to the bottom of the league, the board had
no alternative. After only 10 months at the helm Walker was fired. His managerial
reign is the shortest in the club's history. The statistics don't
make pretty reading. Mike Walker won just six of his 31 games
as Everton boss.
Iconic Moment: The Wimbledon comeback. A rare highlight in a troubled reign.
What happened Next? In 1998 Mike Walker returned to Norwich. His second spell in charge ended when the Canaries failed to gain promotion to the Premier
He briefly managed Cypriot club Apoel Nicosia before drifting out of
the game. Walker's son Ian also made his mark in the Premier League.
The goalkeeper played for Tottenham, Leicester and England.
Joe Royle succeeded Walker at Goodison. Six months later Everton had avoided relegation and won the FA Cup.