Walker close to Everton pay-out

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The Independent Online

The season could yet have a sweet twist in the tail for Mike Walker, who stands to gain up to £100,000 if Everton beat Manchester United to win the FA Cup - even though he was sacked by the club in November and has played no part in their march to Wembley.

Walker's lawyers are negotiating compensation with Everton for the remaining two years of his contract and are close to reaching a settlement. That claim will take account of bonuses; Walker was due to receive £100,000 for winning the Cup and £25,000 for finishing runners-up.

The final sum has still to be agreed, but seems certain to be around £350,000. Everton want a swift resolution because the whole Walker affair has been a financial embarrassment. After a complaint of poaching from his former club, Norwich, the Merseysiders were found guilty of luring Walker away, fined £75,000 and ordered to pay Norwich £50,000 in compensation and costs.

Walker quit Carrow Road on 7 January 1994, claiming he wanted greater security. Later that day at Goodison, he signed a three and a half year contract on a salary of £150,000. He lasted 10 months and was replaced by Joe Royle.

At Liverpool High Court on 1 March a "consent judgement" was reached, whereby Everton agreed to pay Walker compensation for the rest of his contract.

Even though his dismissal came two months before the FA Cup third round, his legal team has argued that he is still entitled to a bonus. "The fact that he is no longer manager would not preclude him from receiving a bonus if it was written down and Everton were successful at Wembley," said a legal spokeswoman, Diane Burleigh.

"He could argue that he was in charge at the start of the season when new players were brought in and the tactics laid down for later success."