Walker shocked Gunn got City job

PUBLISHED: 12:28 23 January 2009 | UPDATED: 16:02 10 September 2010

Mike Walker admitted he was taken aback at Gunn’s appointment.

Mike Walker admitted he was taken aback at Gunn’s appointment.

Michael Bailey

Ex-manager Mike Walker has admitted he is surprised Bryan Gunn has been handed the reins at Norwich City. Gunn's coronation on Wednesday as the latest man to step into the Canaries hot seat could have been mistaken for a Carrow Road reunion, with John Deehan and Ian Crook previously together at Carrow Road during the 90s.

Ex-manager Mike Walker has admitted he is surprised Bryan Gunn has been handed the reins at Norwich City.

Gunn's coronation on Wednesday as the latest man to step into the Canaries hot seat could have been mistaken for a Carrow Road reunion, with John Deehan and Ian Crook previously together at Carrow Road.

In fact, during the 90s, with Deehan as assistant manager plus Crook and Gunn doing the business on the pitch, Norwich's new managerial team is steeped in links to the most successful period in the football club's history.

Walker was the man in charge during those heady days of European football - but he admitted he was taken aback at Gunn's appointment.

“I am surprised to be honest,” said Walker, speaking from his home in Cyprus. “Bryan phoned me and told me about it. He has not been involved in the football side of things for a while, and it seems that after one game in charge, you're made the manager.

“So I'm a little bit surprised, but these things happen at Norwich.”

Like Gunn, Walker was a goalkeeper-turned-manager having played between the sticks for Watford and Colchester United, before stepping into first team management off the back of five years in charge of the Canaries' reserve team.

His first spell in the Canaries' top job brought success still talked about at Carrow Road, but with Gunn's remit for this season simply to keep Norwich in English football's second tier, Walker feels it is difficult to predict whether City's new 'dream team' will work.

“It is very hard to say. He has no experience but we all know he has a great personality, so time will tell,” said Walker. “There were various names being mentioned and I thought that would be the way to go, but Bryan is someone they know and there is a lot to be said for continuity.

“You don't know how he'll take to it. Obviously he is a big celebrity in Norwich as a player, but being a manager is different. Hopefully he does do well because they are in a tough position. He has been used to success with Norwich in the past so hopefully that will rub off on the players.

“The result on Saturday was a tremendous result but it is only one game. You can't guarantee success and it is a challenge, but that's not to say it won't work.”

The former City boss believes the decision to bring Ian Crook back to the club he served for 11 years as a player is a wise one, along with Deehan's return to the club he managed following Walker's departure in 1994.

“Ian Crook is a good choice,” he added. “He was at Norwich for the bulk of his career, a really long time, and he was a very good servant.

“He's got a lot of experience in coaching now, in Australia and in Japan. He has done his stint abroad and he is a very astute guy. He wanted to get back and try his luck in English football and the fact it is Norwich is a real bonus for him.

“Some players you look at and think they're going to go into management or coaching. Mark Bowen hasn't done too bad, has he? But I wouldn't have said at the time he wanted to go into coaching. With Ian, I'm not surprised he went into that side of things. He was quite a deep thinker about the game.”

“John's move makes sense. Obviously I took John to the club as a coach and we were successful together. He's moved on and done different jobs in different capacities and I'm sure his experience will be something Gunny will lean on.

“And that's the same with Chippy. Bryan has got good people around him.”

Walker is currently out of football and while he did not consider putting in a call to the Norwich board at news of the managerial vacancy, he did admit Crook's return left him with a wry smile.

“There was some talk at one point if Ian Crook ever went back, I would go back with him,” said Walker. “But it didn't get mentioned again and it never materialised. I guess the fact Ian's back now is slightly ironic, but that was not something majorly on my mind.”

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