Football: Walker waits for a Norwich offer

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EVERTON are increasingly confident that Mike Walker will be with them for Saturday's FA Cup tie at Bolton Wanderers after the Norwich manager, in outlining yesterday his frustrations at Carrow Road, distanced himself still further from his chairman, Robert Chase.

The Merseyside club will be happy for Walker to be an onlooker at Burnden Park with a view to taking control next week. They are reluctant, especially after what has gone on in the last three days, to hand him immediate responsibility for a cup campaign that represents their last hope of silverware this season.

That assumes that Walker walks out on Norwich. That is an option open to him after they refused Everton permission to talk to him. Asked yesterday if he had been backed into a corner Walker quipped: 'You could say I'm strategically placed.'

He wants to see evidence of the new terms the club are promising. On a basic salary of around pounds 45,000 Walker says he is the worst-paid manager in the Premiership. He earned considerable bonuses as he took Norwich to third place last season, their highest-ever finish, but he says there are no guarantees.

'As it stands one bad season and I could be sacked,' he said of his one- year roll-on contract. 'There is no stability for me or my staff. People are throwing 'loyalty' at me and I am not happy with that. My loyalty after 17 years at Colchester was the sack when we were top of the Fourth.

'Loyalty has to work both ways. I keep reading that I could earn pounds 400,000 but to do that we would have to win the League, the Cup, the Boat Race and the Grand National. I know the club can't go mad and all I am seeking is a fair day's pay for a fair day's work and security for myself and my family. What Everton are supposed to be offering would increase my salary three times over.'

That is grumble number one but just as unsettling for Walker is what he says is a reluctance to invest in the team. 'If it was just about cash I would already have said 'stuff it Mr Chase, I'm off' but I haven't. We have got something going here. We are at the top and I would like to stay at the top with them. I've enjoyed what we have achieved, the European nights, winning in Munich against Bayern. I want more of that but I have to question whether my ambition has outstripped the club's'

Walker was speaking in the boardroom at Carrow Road 'strategically placed' with a photograph of Chase behind him. 'The chairman has not talked to me at length about the situation and that disappoints me. The situation has to be sorted out sooner or later because it does none of the three parties any good to drag it out.

'So far I have not contemplated walking out but perhaps I will be pushed into a decision.'

Francis Lee's expected bid for control of his former club, Manchester City, was 'locked in the legal process,' the consortium spokesman, Colin Barlow (also a former City player), said yesterday.