Ian Walker (footballer)

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Ian Walker
Personal information
Full name Ian Michael Walker
Date of birth (1971-10-31) 31 October 1971 (age 47)
Place of birth Watford, Hertfordshire, England
Playing position Goalkeeper
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1989–2001 Tottenham Hotspur 260 (0)
1990Oxford United (loan) 2 (0)
1990Ipswich Town (loan) 0 (0)
2001–2005 Leicester City 140 (0)
2005–2008 Bolton Wanderers 0 (0)
Total 402 (0)
National team
1990–1993 England U21 9 (0)
1996–2004 England 4 (0)
1998 England B 1 (0)
Teams managed
2011 Bishop's Stortford
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Ian Michael Walker (born 31 October 1971) is an English former professional footballer who played as a goalkeeper. His former clubs include Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Bolton Wanderers.

Club career[edit]

Tottenham Hotspur[edit]

Walker for many years was the number one goalkeeper for Tottenham Hotspur, starting out with them as a trainee and having two loan spells, for Ipswich Town and Oxford United. Walker made 312 appearances for Tottenham Hotspur and won the 1999 League Cup after beating Leicester City 1-0 at the old Wembley Stadium. Walker handed in a transfer request in September 2000 after losing his place in the first team to Neil Sullivan.[1] He played his final game for Spurs against West Ham United on 31 January 2001.[2]

Leicester City[edit]

Walker signed a four-year contract with Leicester City in July 2001 for a fee of £2.5 million, rising to £3 million depending on appearances.[3] His first season at the club ended in relegation to the First Division,[4] which he felt may have ruined his dreams of an England call-up for the 2002 World Cup.[5] Walker had an impressive season with Leicester as they regained promotion to the Premier League, earning his first England recall in six years in May 2003.[6]

He struggled with life in the Premier League, particularly in a match against Aston Villa at the Walkers Stadium on 31 January 2004, in which he conceded five goals in 18 minutes.[7] Walker put up such a poor display in the match that he was confronted by a Leicester fan who ran onto the pitch, telling him he "didn't think he was fit to be a Premiership player."[8] On 10 February 2004, Walker scored a bizarre own goal in a match against Bolton Wanderers to give them a 1–1 draw at Leicester.[9] Despite comfortably saving Kevin Davies' shot, he lost grasp of the ball as it crawled over the goal line.[10] He did make a comeback performance in a goalless home draw against Wolves on 28 February,[11] putting up a "world-class save" to deny Kenny Miller.[12] Walker pledged to stay at Leicester despite their relegation from the Premier League in the 2003–04 season.[13] He was released from Leicester City on 6 May 2005, after the club could not afford him a new contract.[14] Walker spent four years at Leicester.

Bolton Wanderers[edit]

Walker joined Bolton on a one-year contract. Walker was the goalkeeper for Bolton's first ever European match away from England against Bulgarian team Lokomotiv Plovdiv, which was also his debut.[15]

International career[edit]

Walker was capped by the England national team four times, making his debut in 1996 against Hungary. His most infamous game was against Italy in a qualification match for the 1998 World Cup where he is widely believed to have been at fault to a Gianfranco Zola strike. England lost this game to Italy 1–0 at Wembley Stadium. He backed up David James at Euro 2004 but was overtaken by others in the pecking order.[16] Despite Walker's club Leicester suffering relegation from the Premier League, he played his first England match in seven years as a 61st-minute substitute for Paul Robinson in a 6–1 win over Iceland on 5 June 2004, which was also his last international.[17]

Managerial career[edit]

On 14 March 2011, Walker was appointed as manager of Bishop's Stortford who were playing in the Conference South.[citation needed]

In April 2012, Walker joined his former Bolton teammate Nicolas Anelka at Chinese Super League side Shanghai Shenhua and became their goalkeeping coach.[18] On 2 January 2014, Walker became the goalkeeping coach of Shanghai East Asia, another Super League team in Shanghai.[19] On 15 May 2014, Walker signed a new contract with Shanghai East Asia, keeping him at the club until the end of 2017 season.[20] Walker continues to coach the 1st team goalkeepers at Shanghai SIPG FC. Walker has produced two national team goalkeepers for China,Wang Dalei from Shanghai Shenhua in 2012/13 and Yan Junling from Shanghai SIPG in 2014/15,both continue to be in the national squad with Yan Junling who is still coached by Walker the China number 1 goalkeeper.

In the 2018 season Walker was the goalkeeper coach when Shanghai SIPG won their first league title ever.

Personal life[edit]

Walker is the son of Mike Walker who was also a goalkeeper and managed Norwich City and Everton.[21]

Walker attended Great Cornard Upper School. He and his former Page Three wife Suzi lived in a mock-Tudor mansion in Cobham, Surrey, as featured on MTV Cribs.[22] After the birth of daughter Sophie in 1998, Suzi suffered Post Natal Eclampsia,[23] and is an ongoing sufferer of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.[24] He became a father just months after the death of his mother Jackie after a long battle against cancer.[21]

In November 2006, Suzi admitted Walker had met dancer Samantha Thurman, 33,[25] from Miami on a property investment trip to Las Vegas in May.[26] In September 2007, Walker and Thurman had a son named Jaxson. They currently live in Shanghai.[27]


  1. ^ "Spurs accept Walker transfer request". BBC Sport. 15 September 2000. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  2. ^ "Hammers held by Spurs". BBC Sport. 31 January 2001. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  3. ^ "Leicester sign Walker". BBC Sport. 9 July 2001. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Man Utd relegate Leicester". BBC Sport. 6 April 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Relegation ruins Walker's hopes". BBC Sport. 29 April 2002. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  6. ^ "Ian Walker". BBC Sport. 17 May 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  7. ^ "Leicester 0-5 Aston Villa". BBC Sport. 31 January 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Walker escapes FA action". BBC Sport. 2 February 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  9. ^ "Leicester 1-1 Bolton". BBC Sport. 10 February 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  10. ^ "Adams consoles Walker". BBC Sport. 10 February 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  11. ^ "Leicester 0-0 Wolves". BBC Sport. 28 February 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  12. ^ "Cotterill praises Walker". BBC Sport. 28 February 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  13. ^ "Walker makes Foxes pledge". BBC Sport. 16 April 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  14. ^ "Levein rues losing star players". BBC Sport. 14 May 2005. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  15. ^ "Lok Plovdiv 1-2 Bolton (agg 2-4)". BBC Sport. 29 September 2005. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
  16. ^ "Walker raring to get going". BBC Sport. 29 July 2004. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  17. ^ "Clockwatch: England 6–1 Iceland". BBC Sport. 5 June 2004. Retrieved 16 February 2010.
  18. ^ "阿内尔卡携4人进申花教练组 前队友出任门将教练 (Four men followed Anelka to join Shenhua's coaching team, Former teammate became the goalkeeping coach)". Netease. 12 April 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2015.
  19. ^ "官方公告:东亚俱乐部与前英格兰国门伊恩沃克签约 (Official: Shanghai East Asia signed with former England national team goalkeeper Ian Walker)". Shanghai East Asia F.C. 2 January 2014. Archived from the original on 2 January 2014. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  20. ^ "官方公告:东亚俱乐部与伊恩沃克续约至2017赛季! (Official: Shanghai East Asia extended Ian Walker's contract to 2017)". Shanghai East Asia F.C. 15 May 2014. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Spurs star's mum dies". The Mirror. 5 November 1997. Retrieved 25 May 2018 – via The Free Library.
  22. ^ Venning, Nicola (17 October 2006). "Living in the past (with all mod cons)". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 May 2010.
  23. ^ Info on Health, Medical News, Healthy Living, Healthy Eating, Health News, Diet, Cancer, Cholesterol, Depression, Kidney, Migraine, Smoking Archived 27 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ Suzi Walker – Celebrity Agents, International Celebrity Agents, Personal Management & PR To TV/Radio and Sports Stars Archived 11 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  25. ^ "Bolton keepers blonde catch". The Sun. London. 17 May 2007. Archived from the original on 29 January 2007.
  26. ^ "The Sun Online – The Best for News, Sport and Showbiz – The Sun". The Sun. London. Archived from the original on 22 January 2007.
  27. ^ Newman, Paul (19 October 2013). "Ian Walker on some of his Chinese players: 'Lazy, out of shape and won't train in the rain'". The Independent. London.

External links[edit]