Football: Norwich anger as Everton appoint Walker: Canaries manager's exit on eve of Cup leads chairman Chase to complain to authorities of illegal approach from Goodison

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The Independent Online
MIKE WALKER was confirmed last night as the new Everton manager after a day of drama in which he walked out on Norwich City and immediately faxed the Merseyside club to declare his interest in succeeding Howard Kendall.

He will officially take over with a three-and-a-half-year contract on Monday from the caretaker manager, Jimmy Gabriel, and will meet his new players before today's FA Cup tie at Bolton Wanderers, which he will watch from the stands. Norwich, furious that he quit just 24 hours before their tie at Wycombe, have reported Everton to the Premier League and the Football Association, claiming an illegal approach and demanding severe penalties.

At a Goodison Park news conference Walker acknowledged that his new club were struggling but said: 'With a little bit of work and attention I am sure we can return to our rightful place. Everton have always been synonymous with what I call the right way of playing and hopefully it will be a good marriage.

'I would have liked to have finished amicably with Norwich but you have to make a decision and I am quite happy with it because I know what I wanted. I am ambitious and there was only one decision to make. If I get things right here the sky's the limit. With due respect to Norwich they are a small club and could not give me the possibility of reaching so high.'

John Deehan, Walker's assistant, will take charge for Norwich's game at Wycombe and will be given the opportunity to prove himself. 'It's a sad situation because we've had 18 very successful months but it's Mike's decision and I wish him well,' he said.

The caretaker manager said he had never known players to be so happy at a club as the present Norwich squad but last night, in the wake of Walker's departure, some were considering their future. Their winger, Ruel Fox, said: 'I thought at the beginning of the season after qualifying for Europe we would go farther and farther but now this has happened it does not look as if things will get better. It's a big blow to morale and I'll be thinking seriously about my future.'

After denying a second Everton request to speak to Walker, the Norwich chairman, Robert Chase, had an hour-long talk with his manager on Thursday night. Walker, who had five months of his existing contract to run, failed to win the long deal he was seeking but was promised substantial bonuses even if the club was not as successful as last season, his first in charge, when he led them to third in the table and a place in Europe for the first time.

Afterwards Chase remained confident that Walker would be in charge at Wycombe. But at 10.15 yesterday morning he left his letter of resignation with Chase's secretary and drove home. 'He did not speak to me or any of his staff or his players and that is disappointing,' Chase said. 'I'm surprised he walked out the day before an important game but these things happen and we have to live with them.'

Walker then faxed Everton requesting the opportunity of an interview for the job which had become vacant when Kendall resigned on 4 December when he was denied funds for new players.

Chase claims to have 'watertight' evidence supporting his charge that Everton made an illegal approach. Next week the Premier League directors will decide whether to recommend that the FA hold a disciplinary inquiry. Norwich have the support of other clubs, one of whom wrote to Rick Parry, chief executive of the Premier League, yesterday saying Walker should be prevented from working for any other club until Norwich had agreed his release.

Parry says that has to be the way forward if the game is to have integrity and says a registration of managers is a 'priority' for 1994. He added: 'On the face of it if there is evidence of newspaper articles referring to a club's interest that can be construed as an indirect approach. It would be a new departure for us to say a manager could not work at another club but it's a question of how seriously we want to look at this.'

The Everton chairman, Dr David Marsh, said he was prepared to face the FA and to explain his club's stance. He said he had no wish to respond to Norwich's criticism but added: 'We were naturally encouraged by the remarks made by the Norwich chairman on 14 December in which he clearly indicated that if Mike wished to end his contract or talk to any other club they would not stand in his way.'

Ray Clemence, the former Liverpool goalkeeper and Spurs coach, is expected to take his first managerial post at Barnet in the next few days. He will work in tandem with Gary Phillips. Teddy Sheringham, out since October, has had another setback after two operations on damaged knee ligaments.

Wolves have signed Chris Marsden, the Huddersfield midfielder, for pounds 150,000 plus a further pounds 100,000 depending on appearances.