Archive for January, 2002

Walsall 2 Wimbledon 1

roger6 @ 12:19 am Tuesday 29 January 2002

What’s going on? 2 games in charge for Colin Lee, and now 2 wins. Jorge is back on the goal trail. And super Jimmy Walker displaying the form of his life. Jim made four superb saves during last night’s win over Wimbledon, whilst Leitao and a towering header from Matt Carbon did the business at the other end.
Neil Ravenscroft – It’ll do, mainly because it was positive and there was plenty of fight. Four times last night Andre played good balls inside the full back and three times Wrack and once Byfield never moved for them. Did anyone notice Lee having a go at Wrack all evening for presumably not getting up and down well enough and not giving us width when we were under pressure (Wrack didn’t look happy at the end). Did you also see Lee and the bench screaming at them for being too deep towards the end? How times change! Holdsworth, Carbon, Bennett and Mattias magnificent! Wacker as dependable as ever.
Boris – it wasn’t a great performance, but you don’t take a tasty team like wimbledon by luck alone. There was desire, patches of good play, but most of all, attack-minded tactics. Wimbledon were very good (remember they turned over blues) but wacker only had to
make make two or three good saves. neither side made that many chances.
Paul G – Fair play to Carbon and Holdsworth who did a great job in the 2nd half but the facts are a bottom half team with 4 key players missing made us look like chumps for most of this evening. We need 110% improvement if we are to stay up.

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Sensational start for Lee

roger6 @ 12:20 am Saturday 26 January 2002

An extraordinary week for Walsall Football Club ends in the most astonishing way – a 2-1 FA Cup success against Premiership Charlton with Colin Lee just a few hours in the manager’s hotseat. Did the lads win it for Sir Ray? What did Colin Lee say to the players to end a run of just one away win all season? And what must under-fire chairman Jeff Bonser make of it all tonight as he settles down to vote for Darius in Pop Idol?
From radio reports it sounds as though Jimmy Walker was the hero of the Valley, making three blinding saves in the first half and saving a second half Graham Stuart penalty. By then Jorge Leitao had celebrated his recall to the starting eleven with a spectacular opener after just five minutes, before doubling the lead early in the second period.
Lee made four changes from Sir Ray’s last line-up, bringing back Pedro, Brightwell, and Byfield as well as Jorge, and pulling Wrack back into midfield.
Walsall’s reward is a 5th round home tie with big spending Fulham. The chat between the chairmen may well be interesting – two men with completely opposing views as to whether football clubs are worth investing in.
Congratulations lads and Colin Lee. If he continues in this vein and keeps us up, is a Lordship on the cards?

Colin Lee Named New Boss

roger6 @ 12:21 am Wednesday 23 January 2002

lee caption

Ex Wolves manager Colin Lee has been named the new Saddlers boss at a lunchtime press conference at Bescot. The widely leaked news was finally made official, to nobody’s great surprise. It is expected Lee will name his coaching staff in the next few days – with speculation linking him to Steve Bull or Andy Sinton.
Meanwhile former boss Sir Ray Graydon continues to hold his head high above the murky stench that engulfs the Walsall board, with today’s comments that he will help Lee in any way he can. “People have been so kind to me,” he said. “The rapport I have had with the supporters has been beyond my wildest dreams. I have felt a warmth from the people of Walsall. That is something you just cannot buy and something I will cherish.”
UptheSaddlers.com wishes Colin Lee all the best in his appointment and will not cast judgement until the end of the season – 16 games to prove the board’s decision was the right one.
Lee’s managerial record is as follows.
Torquay, April to July 2001, P6 W2 L1 D3
Wolves, May 1998 to December 2000, P115 W44 L34 D37
Watford, March 1990 to November 1990, P35 W7 L18 D10

Sir Ray Sacked

roger6 @ 12:21 am Tuesday 22 January 2002

A disgraceful day today for Walsall Football Club with the news that the club have sacked the most successful manager in their history – Sir Ray Graydon.
In a pitiful statement on the club website owner Jeff Bonser announced the decision to sack Graydon was a bid to bolster Walsall’s slim chances of avoiding relegation.
Graydon himself issued a brief statement paying tribute to the Walsall supporters, in a typically dignified end to his three and a half year Bescot reign.
Many supporters believe the fault lies not with Graydon, but with the board’s persistent refusal to invest in quality players of 1st division status. Graydon has received nothing in the way of transfer funds throughout his stay at the club. No other club in the league can boast that their transfer record was set in 1979 – twenty three years ago.
Paul Taylor, the club’s director of football, has also offered his resignation, but is staying on to help Graydon’s successor. In a statement contrasting sharply with Ray’s modesty, Taylor claimed “My knowledge of the playing structure of the club, from top to bottom, will be invaluable to Ray’s successor during his ‘settling in’ period.” It is Taylor who has recently attracted fans’ criticism for a series of controversial foreign signings who have subsequently failed to break into the first team.
Resident upthesaddlers.com columnist The Doffer today called the sacking the worst day in Walsall’s history

West Brom 1 Walsall 0

roger6 @ 12:22 am Monday 21 January 2002

In a game overshadowed by football’s sad loss of Jeff Astle, Walsall went for an all-out defence and came unstuck, going down to a Jason Roberts’ goal four minutes before half time. Whilst we kept the score down to one, the Saddlers performance was very dispiriting for any fan – as there seemed to be no hope of us getting a goal. Which, in the position we’re in the league, is what we need, in order to gain points. Basic stuff, but on the evidence of yesterday, some people need telling. Views from the fans:
Brad Pedjaski – An appalling performance. I went with a few Baggies who could not believe just how bad we are. Not a single effort on target, not one decent attacking move, not an ounce of spirit. Very very poor. We need to string three wins together now just to catch up with the pack. It aint gonna happen boys.
Dave Hawkes – I have tried to remain slightly positive and optimistic lately (honest) but after today I am resigned to relegation. One defeat does not make a season maybe, but that was dire. We were pathetic. We couldnt pass, theres no movement, Wrack and Angell dont work, and Angell should stay on the bench for away games, Andre was shite, expect him to disappear in a few weeks and never be seen again. Herivelto made no difference, and Jorge was the same. We are full of rubbish players and have no idea how to win or get points. We cant even graft together like Rotherham etc because no one knows what formation, players, tactics we are going to play from one game to the next. We are clueless and a joke. We are worthy of our small club tag at the moment because we are playing like a bunch of amateurs. Oldham here we come…
Phil G – It seems like our game plan was to try and get a 0-0 draw.
Once they scored, the ref might as well blown for full time, as we wouldn’t have scored if we’d played till next Sunday.
Why wasn’t Keates in midfield to give us some bite? Andre and Biancalani were a joke. Is Graydon saying these two are better than Simpson?
A lot of todays problems have got to be put down to Graydon and Nicholl. Their whole strategy for todays game was negative. After 10 minutes our defence was hoofing the ball into the stand as anything up the pitch was coming straight back into our half.
I don’t know about not having one shot on target, most of our midfielders didn’t even get into Albions half.

Walsall 1 Preston 2

roger6 @ 12:22 am Saturday 12 January 2002

Dramatic stuff at Bescot today saw all the Saddlers good work come to nothing thanks to a red-card shown to Freddy Biancalani for a stamp midway through the second half. Immediately Preston equalised through a deflected free-kick, and Basham scored the winner five minutes from time. All this after Darren Wrack looked to have guided Walsall to three valuable points with a great goal early in the second half. Brett Angell had a great effort to double the lead just two minutes later but his header crashed against the woodwork. Fans reactions:
Dave Hawkes – From my view of the game I though the ref was OK. As I say in the intro to my match report the ref cost us because he only sent off Freddie and not the PNE player but to be fair the ref was not bad through the 90 mins. Freddie should not have stamped, he should know better, we had 15mins to hold out and despite what may or may not have happened with the PNE player he should have shown some restraint. Great game by Roper, the guy amazes me, this time last year he made me laugh he was so bad, bt he has improved greatly over this season. Angell again did well and although I still think he is a donkey I cant knock him as he is the only one doing the job up-front. We need some consistency and we have to start grinding our results soon, no matter how bad the ref may be.
Pelsall Saddler – I see that Reading are top of Division 2, with Sjoke close behind in 2nd place. Weren’t those the two teams we outplayed back in May? Methinks perhaps one of these should have been promoted in our stead, surely they would have made a better fist of it than us. Still, we’ll pass them in the summer, and our beloved board can breathe a sigh of relief as Walsall F.C. PLC lighten their wage bill…… and thier sales of season tickets…….

Walsall 2 Bradford 0

roger6 @ 12:23 am Wednesday 09 January 2002

A great result for the Saddlers last night in the FA Cup beating Bradford City 2-0 and securing a trip to the Valley to play Charlton in Round 4. After a first half featuring a number of near misses Tom Bennett opened the scoring on 47 minutes with a well-angled punt into the top corner from fifteen yards out. Darren Wrack then set up a near post header for Brett Angell to make the tie safe. Reaction from the fans:
Neil Ravenscroft – Bradford look like another candidate for relegation last night – they were awful. With better finishing, we would have been out of sight at half time. Hope they go down, it couldn’t happen to a nicer Chairman. It’s easy to see why he wants the Phoenix league when they are so well supported isn’t it?

Tillson marks comeback

roger6 @ 12:26 am Wednesday 02 January 2002

A scrappy second half equaliser from the returning Andy Tillson on his 50th appearance for the Saddlers gave Walsall a deserved 1-1 draw at high-flying Norwich to turn the form book upside down. The Canaries had ten wins at home, Walsall had ten defeats on their travels – but in truth, a point was no less than Walsall deserved after weathering an early storm.
New boy Carlos Andre had an impressive debut – has Paul Taylor unearthed another gem? Views from the message board:
Pedro – Well played lads . A great result and one of the best performances of the season. The midlfield was exceptional with Biancalani, Carlos and Tom Bennett all having very good games.
I have to say Carlos could be a good signing . He looked good on the ball and never gave the ball away once. He looks like a player we need as he is a box to box player . He was my Man of the match today
Tim W – Thought we played very well, apart from a dodgy 10 mins in the 1st half when they hit the bar and scored.
Three centre halves tactic worked well, and the two ‘wingbacks’ got forward well [though I wish Brightwell would have occasionally tried to tackle his man before he got into the box]. Midfield three passed and moved well…Andre had a very good first game and – unlike the other two, I can’t remember a sloppy pass from him. Brett and Wrack linked up well also. Considering the opposition, it’s the best I’ve seen us play this season.

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