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Mike Walker Jan - Nov 1994

Nicknamed "The Silver Fox", Walker is remembered for some extremes of emotion at Goodison Park... and for the shortest tenure of any manager in the Everton hot seat to date – just 10 months. 

His career as a goalkeeper that eventually took him to Watford and Colchester United was nothing to write home about, although he did earn 45 caps for Wales at U23 level and made the bench eight times for the full Welsh national team.

He had a few good seasons with Watford, when they won the old Division Three Championship (1968-69) and reached the FA Cup semi-final (1969-70).  This was followed by a long spell with Colchester (451 appearances), during which they twice won promotion from Division Four (1973-74 & 1976-77).  He became a player-coach at Colchester before hanging up his boots after 656 matches (none of which were in the top flight).

Walker got his first chance in management at Layer Road after serving as team coach for Colchester, the highlight of which was reaching the Division Four play-offs in 1986-87.  From there he moved on to Norwich City and four seasons as their reserve team manager.  Then he struck it lucky: In his first season as team manager, Norwich City reached the heady position of 3rd in the Premier League, qualifying for the Uefa Cup.

When Howard Kendall resigned over the Dion Dublin affair in 1994, Everton made their very open courtship of Walker who was being praised for his management of the Canaries.  After a month of haggling while Jimmy Gabriel acted as the Toffees' caretaker-manager, he accepted the Goodison post, much to the chagrin of Norwich, who successfully campaigned for compensation from Everton.

Despite a memorable debut game for the new manager – the 6-2 hammering of hapless Swindon Town – Everton were soon paying their own price for this bold move as a relegation battle crept up on them.  It left Everton needing to win their last match of the season, at home to Wimbledon, which they did in a game that has gone down in the annals of Goodison Park history as one of the most thrilling and horrifying the Grand Old Lady bore witness to. 

After that miraculous survival, the only way was up... but not for Walker's charges.  One of Everton's worst-ever starts to a season saw them go 12 matches without a win, and the hounds were being readied to chase the Silver Fox out of his Goodison lair.  A solitary win against West Ham had many claiming that the corner had been turned, but it was too little too late.  In November 1994, Walker was unceremoniously sacked by then chairman Peter Johnson and replaced with Joe Royle who would oversee a remarkable upturn in the club's fortunes and an FA Cup triumph just six months later.

FactFile

Born Colwyn Bay
Date of birth 28 November 1945
Nationality Welsh
Appointed 7 January, 1994
Joined from Norwich City
Left Everton (sacked) 8 November, 1994
Played for Reading, Shrewsbury Town, York City, Watford, Colchester United
Previously managed Colchester United, Norwich City, APOEL
» Wikipedia Entry

Everton Record

Season Pld W D L GF GA Pts Final Pos. Win %
1993-94 17 5 4 8 20 28 19 19th 29%
1994-95 14 1 5 8  9 24  8 17th 7%
Tot/Avg: 31 6 9 16 29 52 27 18th 18%


Previous Management Record

Season Team Pld W D L F A Pts Win %
1993-1994 Norwich City 65 31 16 18 97 91 109 48%
1986-1987 Colchester 62 29 10 23 84 72 97 47%


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