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
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.
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