Football: Everton rivals in harmony

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The Independent Online
RELEGATION may cast a rare shadow across Everton tomorrow but Goodison's longer-term future has brightened, following an agreement between the club's suitors, writes Henry Winter.

Peter Johnson, the chairman of Tranmere Rovers, has agreed to work with a consortium fronted by Bill Kenwright, the West End impresario and a Goodison director; Johnson will underwrite a planned rights issue to raise pounds 10m. The Moores family, who hold the key to any takeover, issued a statement yesterday backing the deal.

The Everton manager, Mike Walker, aware that even victory over Wimbledon tomorrow may prove insufficient, promised that his team would battle to the end. 'A club like Everton, they say, shouldn't go down but if you don't have enough points it's because you're not good enough,' the former Norwich manager, said. 'We have one opportunity to put that right. It will be a big knock-back if we're not in the Premiership but as far as regrets about coming to the club - there are none. It's a massive club.'

There was little encouragement for Walker from the Dons' camp. 'We want to finish in the top six places as the players earn extra bonus money,' Warren Barton said. 'It will not be our fault if Everton are relegated. It will be as a result of their efforts all season.'

Walker's predecessor, Howard Kendall, yesterday agreed to coach Xanthi. The Greek First Division club were founded in 1967, but have achieved little of note.

Peter Schmeichel may be fit to take his place in Manchester United's goal at Wembley next week. Gary Walsh, understudy for the injured Dane, will have to wait before learning if he is to feature in the FA Cup final. 'Peter thinks he has a chance and it is right for us to give him that chance,' Alex Ferguson, the United manager, said.

Fifa, the game's worldwide governing body, has warned the Cameroon FA that it must sort out its internal wrangling or face possible suspension.