Archive for June, 2003

Man Utd deal

roger6 @ 12:11 pm Wednesday 25 June 2003

The major announcement that was promised on the official site last week has been made.
Walsall have signed a 3-year cooperation deal with Manchester United. The deal is focused on a youth development plan beneficial to both clubs.
The official Saddlers website reports that Man Utd will be assisting Walsall in a number of areas including the development of an effective youth scouting network in the local area and allowing our centre of excellence boys to travel to the Carrington Training Complex and playing matches against the Utd youth academy sides.
Chief Executive Roy Whalley told the official site
“We are delighted to have this link with Manchester United, and to be able to call on the expertise of some of their specialist staff to improve the effectiveness of our own youth development programme. Our challenge is to attract good players to Walsall, and then ensure that they are given every assistance to reach their potential.
“This agreement will help us to do this, and the link with MUFC will be a big stimulus to our young players to set their standards high. Although initially the agreement is for three years, I hope that this will be the start of a long term relationship between the two clubs that will continue to develop.
“This is a partnership that can facilitate matches at various levels between Walsall and MUFC. Player loan deals between the two clubs can be arranged, as well as opportunities for MUFC to assess the quality of promising Walsall starlets. It is a very exciting prospect.”
Also today, the draw for the first round of the Carling Cup (the new name for the League Cup) has been made, seeing the Saddlers paired at home to third division Carlisle United, the tie being scheduled to be played at Bescot on Tuesday, August 11th. Carlisle are lucky to be in the competition at all after narrowly avoiding relegation at the end of last season and the Saddlers will be hot favourites to progress.
Ticket information is not yet available, an announcement is expected on this matter in the near future.

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Emblen signs

roger6 @ 12:11 pm Thursday 19 June 2003

Colin Lee made his first signings of the close season today by capturing experienced midfielder come defender and ex-dingle, Neil Emblen and Northern Irish youth international goalkeeper Aaron Kerr. Emblem as you will all know spent some time on loan with us last season, and did reasonably well. Apparently, he turned down an offer of more money to join us. He’s versatile, but at 32, he’ll be prone to injuries and doesn’t exactly fit in to Colin’s ‘younger squad’ plan. Kerr is our new second choice goal keeper who has represented Northern Ireland up to Under 21 level.

Three departures confirmed

roger6 @ 11:43 pm Tuesday 17 June 2003

Colin Lee today confirmed that Tony Barras, Martin O’Connor and Fitzroy Simpson would be joining the list of players leaving Bescot this summer.
Lee, who was returning from a two week holiday, confirmed that the experienced trio will be departing the club as the search for fresh blood continued.
“I am very sad to see these three players leave,” Lee told the Saddlers official website. “They have been fine servants of this club and played a key role in helping to preserve our first division status. But at the end of the day they need regualr first-team football – which cant be gauranteed – and I need to be able to bring new players in.
“It’s a sad day. The commitment and effor of the trio can’t be faulted; they have been three of the best pro’s I have ever worked with and naturally we wish them every success for the future.”
Lee has also done his best to reassure supporters that every attempt is being made to bring new players to the club.
“I have been working extremely hard in recent weeks to add to the squad. We have a long list of targets that we have been working through and several of the deals are close to being completed.” Lee added.

Also today, Jamie Lawrence has been confirmed in the Jamaica’s provisional squad of 27 players (ten of them British based) for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the USA next month. Lawrence joins ex-Saddlers Paul Hall and Darren Byfield in the squad, and becomes the second Walsall player to be called up to International duty this summer, the other being New Zealand defender Danny Hay.
“It’s good to see both Jamie and Danny getting recognition on the International stage and it should stand them in good stead for the demands of next season.” Colin Lee said.
Lawrence was also understandably proud to be included, and told the official website “Its always an honour to be selected for your country and I hope to make the final 25. To play against the likes of Columbia and possibly Brazil will be a great experience and hopefully it will help me in my preperation for the new season with Walsall, which I am looking forward to enormously.”

Squad of 20

roger6 @ 11:44 pm Tuesday 03 June 2003

After Weeks of Speculation, Colin Lee has confirmed that he will have a reduced wage budget for next year, and will probably have to work with a squad of 20 senior players. This is likely to mean that Colin is now going to look for quality rather than quantity. If so, this could well mean Tony Barras, Martyn O’Connor and Fitzroy Simpson all being shown the door. However, we can only speculate as to who Colin will sign up for next season. Currently, we have 9 players signed for 2003/2004 [Jimmy Walker, Darren Wrack, Darren Bazeley, Zigor Aranalde, Ian Roper, Pedro Matias, Jamie Lawrence, Jorge Leitao and Steve Corica] and we are still waiting to hear from Junior and Danny Hay.
One piece of good news to come out for Lee’s financial meeting was that he will have more cash to spend on loan players next season, and this will presumably rise further if youngsters like Bihsop, Fryatt, Stanley and Smith can be shipped out on long term loans. This will surely give us a bit of extra financial clout when going in for loan deals for players like Jansen and Huckerby – two strikers we narrowly missed out on last year.
With over 120 players released from Premiership clubs, and nearly three times that from the Nationwide league, there will be plenty of players looking for employment, hopefully that will work in Walsall’s favour.

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