Football: Walker's world turns full circle

That was the week that was
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The Independent Online
A turbulent week in the life of Clive Walker ended with the former Chelsea, Sunderland and Brighton player adding an unexpected postscript to his love affair with the FA Cup on Saturday.

The evergreen 40-year-old, whose exploits with giant-killing Woking thrust him back into the spotlight last season, lost his first management job when Micky Adams took over at Brentford. Walker had been assistant to Eddie May, but both were shown the door to make way for the new man's backroom team.

He had barely had time to contemplate his future, however, when his ex- Brighton chum Steve Cotterill was on the telephone offering to take Walker on as a player with the Vauxhall Conference club Cheltenham.

Cheltenham were gearing up for their first-round tie against Tiverton Town and after assessing his fitness in a midweek appearance as substitute, Cotterill threw Walker into the fray at half-time on Saturday - just after Tiverton had equalised. True to his reputation, Walker popped up two minutes from time to score the winning goal.

"You cannot miss out on the chance to add someone with his experience and talent to the squad," a delighted Cotterill said.

"He wants to stay in coaching and if a job comes up he will apply for it, so it might be only a short-term arrangement. He could be here until the end of the season but it might be just a month or even a week.

"But he will play for us in the meantime and it will be good for our younger players to see how an excellent professional like Clive goes about his job."

Woking, third-round losers to Premiership Coventry last season, fell at the first hurdle this time, beaten at home by Southend.

Ilkeston milk a precious moment

Ilkeston Town's defeat of Boston United may not have been the most eye-catching among Saturday's first-round FA Cup results but for the Derbyshire side it represented a major day in the club's history.

For the Dr Martens League Midland Division team, victory over their Unibond League rivals gained the club a place in the second round for the first time following two failures in the 1950s.

Ilkeston lost 2-0 to Rochdale in 1951 and 5-1 against Blyth Spartans five years later in their only previous attempts.

"It was a fantastic day for us," the bar manager and club director, Ray Smith, said, paying special tribute to the chairman, Paul Millership. The furniture manufacturer had saved the club from extinction after the local council sold their former home ground for housing development in 1988.

"Without Paul, we'd have gone under without a doubt," Smith said. "But he found us a new ground and every bit of its development has been down to him, the stands and everything. The club house alone cost pounds 100,000."

Millership also hired the former Mansfield manager, Keith Alexander, to look after team affairs. He has recruited several players with League experience, including the former Arsenal apprentice Nicky Law, as well as Darren Huckerby's highly rated younger brother, Scott.

He has also set up a productive YTS scheme to give the club a sound foundation for the future, the next step of which, they hope, will be promotion to the Dr Martens League Premier Division.

Matt Carmichael, the 33-year-old former Lincoln and Scunthorpe striker, was the hero of the hour with two goals on Saturday, his 84th-minute winner sparking joyful scenes among a record 2,500 crowd - four times the normal attendance at the New Manor Ground.

RUMOURS

Fact and ction from the Sunday papers

The opening of Ron Atkinson's new Sheffield Wednesday cheque book is expected any day now with his former club, Aston Villa, thought likely to be first to cash in. The People says Steve Staunton is Big Ron's opening target, although both the Express and Mirror reckon he has Ugo Ehiogu in his sights to shore up Wednesday's leaky defence.

The News of the World, meanwhile, suggests Atkinson is to groom David Platt as his successor, with Arsenal prepared to let their former England captain go for pounds 2m. Once Platt is established, Atkinson could fulfil the People's prophecy and dump Wednesday a second time in favour of Wolves.

The Mail on Sunday headlines on a return to Tottenham for Jurgen Klinsmann but as a player only, even though they predict that the manager, Gerry Francis, will be out within a month. Their belief that Alan Sugar will look abroad for a replacement supports the Mirror's theory that Bobby Robson will free himself from Barcelona just in time to take over at White Hart Lane.

That would scupper the News of the World's idea that Liverpool will make Robson their management supremo with Nils Arne Eggen, the coach of Rosenborg, in charge at team level and Roy Evans moved sideways to head up Liverpool's football academy.

Barcelona, meanwhile, are named by the Mail as Manchester United's chief rivals in the pursuit of River Plate's Chilean striker Marcello Salas, with bidding to start at pounds 10m.

Closer to home, the People says Leicester are planning a knock-down pounds 3m offer to remove Trevor Sinclair from Queen's Park Rangers and forecasts a pounds 2.5m bid by Middlesbrough for Bologna's Russian international Igor Kolyvanov.

FAMILY

TREE

Greg Rioch is the first to admit that his career has benefited from his having a famous footballing father. The 22-year-old full-back began at Middlesbrough's school of excellence while Bruce was in charge and followed dad to Millwall, signing schoolboy forms and winning an FA Youth Cup medal as an apprentice.

"The first step is often the hardest, just getting your local club to pick you up," he said. "It helped me to have a father who was known in the game, because people watch you all the time."

There are no guarantees, however. When Bruce Rioch left Millwall to manage Bolton, Greg moved to Luton only to be rejected by David Pleat, who released him on a free transfer to Peterborough.

Posh let him move on again after 25 games, but their loss has been Hull City's gain. As club captain under Mark Hateley, Greg's career is on an upward curve, regardless of Saturday's loss in the FA Cup.

With an uncle, Neil, who also played professionally, Greg always stood a chance of following dad into the game. But there are other football connections in the family. Matty Holmes, the former Blackburn player, is a cousin on his mother's side.

Missing...

Marco Gabbiadini

(Panionios)

Once Jim Smith had added Deon Burton and Francesco Baiano to the ranks of his Derby strikers, it was inevitable his long-serving former Crystal Palace forward would find opportunities even more limited than last season, when he started only six matches. The 29-year-old part-Italian - his father hails from Bergamo - was freed after scoring 68 goals in 227 games for the Rams, joining the Greek club Panionios in August. First Division Stoke are reportedly keen to bring him back to England, but the Greeks want a pounds 500,000 fee. The Nottingham-born player joined Derby for pounds 1.2m in January 1992 only three months after signing for Palace from Sunderland.

Paolo Vernazza

(Arsenal)

Arsene Wenger's latest "foreign" capture is, in fact, a north London boy and a product of Arsenal's youth programme, although his father is from Parma. Eligible for both England and Italy, the 17-year-old midfield player made his debut in the below-strength side that beat Birmingham 4-1 in the Coca-Cola Cup and is hoping to make a second appearance, against Coventry this week.

What would the fans at Deepdale give to have Alan Shearer wear the shirt in which Tom Finney once brought their club such fame? Alas, the Preston Front is unlikely to figure in the career profile of England's finest... Not unless the football-loving Colin Buchanan (alias Hodge) can talk him into a job swap.

The 1st Eleven

Eleven current managers/coaches who have played in World Cup finals for England

Steve Coppell (Crystal Palace)

Terry Fenwick (Portsmouth)

Trevor Francis (Birmingham)

Glenn Hoddle (England)

Mark Hateley (Hull)

Steve McMahon (Swindon)

Peter Reid (Sunderland)

Bobby Robson (Barcelona)

Bryan Robson (Middlesbrough)

Chris Waddle (Burnley)

Ray Wilkins (Fulham)

GOOD BOYS . . .

THE NATIONWIDE'S

LEADING SCORERS

Chris Hay 14

(Swindon)

Pierre van Hooijdonk 14

(Nottm Forest)

Jimmy Quinn 14

(Peterborough)

Brett Angell 13

(Stockport)

Gary Bennett 12

(Chester)

Martin Carruthers 12 (Birmingham)

Rodney Rowe 12

(York)

Robert Taylor 12

(Brentford)

. . . and BAD BOYS

THE SEASON'S RED AND YELLOW CARDS

Oldham Ath

Wycombe

Bristol Rovers

Darlington

Southend

32

32

33

29

31

2

2

1

4

2

FIRST DIVISION TEAM OF THE WEEK

JASON KEARTON

CREWE

SIMON BARKER

QPR

MARK SNIJDERS

PORT VALE

ALAN MacDONALD SWINDON

LINVOY PRIMUS

READING

GEORGI KINKLADZE

MAN CITY

PAUL COOK

STOCKPORT

DON HUTCHISON

SHEFF UTD

GRAHAM BRANCH

TRANMERE

PAUL MERSON

MIDDLESBROUGH

DAVID JOHNSON

IPSWICH

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