European Football: Walker's wiles are triumphant: Norwich City's European achievement has left Bayern feeling bitter. Trevor Haylett reports

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The Independent Online
AS THEY came together in a spontaneous embrace of shared jubilation and joy on the Carrow Road pitch on Wednesday night, Mike Walker, the Norwich City manager, and Jeremy Goss, his unlikely goalscorer who brought about the downfall of Bayern Munich, could both reflect that it was not always this good.

In the same week six years ago, Walker was sacked by Colchester because Jonathan Crisp, his chairman, considered his pass-and-move principles were not conducive to promotion success. They had just won six games on the trot to join the leaders of the Fourth Division, and Walker had just been named manager of the month.

For Goss, the transformation is equally as stark: with little more than 100 League appearances in 10 seasons before the start of the present campaign, he has on many occasions tried to leave the club.

The problem for the midfield dynamo whose equalising goal against Bayern gave the Canaries a place in today's Uefa Cup third-round draw was the shortage of potential buyers. 'There was interest once from Barnsley and I went up to look around, but it was something of a culture shock and I couldn't understand what people were saying to me,' he said.

Now there would be interest far and wide. But Barcelona and Benfica? 'Someone wrote that they were looking at me, and what twaddle it was,' he went on. 'The article is pinned to the dressing-room wall, and it gives the lads a good laugh.'

As in the first round, this latest two-legged success was a triumph for Walker's planning and playing methods, although you won't find Lothar Matthaus, the Bayern sweeper and Germany's 1990 World Cup- winning captain, in agreement. 'If people now say we lost to a top-class team, then they are wrong,' he said. 'Norwich are a very, very average side.'

A more impartial observer would have it that Walker's players and tactics won the day. 'I looked at it closely in the summer and I thought we would be able to surprise a few people, because I knew we had the players to adapt to the European game,' he said. 'I can't deny it was a big shock when I was sacked at Colchester. I went to see the chairman expecting a new contract. The following season he got his wish to take the club out of the Fourth Division - they were demoted to the Vauxhall Conference.'

Walker was only out of work for four days before Norwich gave him a job as reserve-team coach under Dave Stringer, who he replaced 18 months ago.

This homely club still find it hard to accept their place in the spotlight. Arriving for work yesterday morning to be met by a phalanx of press men outside Carrow Road, Stringer, now the club's general manager, queried: 'What's happening, has someone been sacked?'