Archive for March, 2005

Operation \”Red Hot\”

neilr @ 8:34 pm Thursday 31 March 2005

Following requests from Walsall FC’s manager that Saddlers supporters raise the roof at this Saturday’s home game against Torquay United the Independent Saddlers fanzine “Ninety Minutes From Europe” has answered the call and is pleased to be able to do its part in helping with the initiative.

This Saturday “Operation: Red Hot” will see 8,000 balloons distributed by volunteers from the fanzine and various independent supporters groups and websites with the good wishes of the club on the Bescot site.

Editor of Ninety Minutes From Europe, Steve Stuart said, “Saturday’s game is a massive one for Walsall FC. Until safety is absolutely certain it is up to everyone associated with the club to do their utmost to help us secure our present status.”

“The role of the fans can be a deciding factor in such games and so we are organising ‘Operation: Red Hot’. Simply turn up at the game, wear something red, grab a balloon and shout in support of the team from the first whistle to the last. And hopefully we can all go home happy.”

“If you only go to one more game year this term make it this one. Season Ticket holders have a voucher in the back of their books allowing them to take a friend to the game for a fiver. There has never been a better time to drag someone along to game with you.”

If you want to help out with the distribution of the balloons meet in the lounge of the White Lion sometime between 12pm and 1.30pm on Saturday or email


Merson Fitness Struggle

neilr @ 12:18 pm Thursday 31 March 2005

Player Manager Paul Merson is struggling to be fit for Saturday’s relegation six pointer against Torquay.

Merson revealed in the Express and Star that he picked up an injury shortly before the end of Monday’s defeat at Barnsley. Even if passed fit to play against Torquay, he will need pain killing injections.

Mark Kinsella has also been ruled out of the Bescot Stadium clash, as he was due to play for the reserves yesterday in an attempt to get match fit, but the game was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch at Hednesford’s Keys Park.

Merson Welcomes Window

neilr @ 12:03 pm Wednesday 30 March 2005

Walsall Player Manager Paul Merson has welcomed the arrival of the transfer window next season.

Speaking after bringing in five new signings before the close of the last of the old style transfer deadline days, Merson said that he was in favour of the new rules which will apply from next season, in the same way as they already do in the Premiership.

“I’d rather have the window because you know what you’re left with squad-wise. You also know what everyone else has got and I think all-round, it’s the fairest way.”

Jameson Leaves

neilr @ 10:08 am Wednesday 30 March 2005

Former Middlesborough youngster Nathan Jameson has had his contract, granted last summer, terminated by mutual consent.

The talented central midfielder has failed to make the break through into the first team this season and has been released after a successful loan spell at Bromsgrove.

Reserves Off

neilr @ 10:06 am Wednesday 30 March 2005

Today’s reserve game against Sheffield United at Keys Park has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

This is a blow, as the game was to be used to try and get Mark Kinsella match fit.

Reserves – Pitch Inspection

neilr @ 8:45 am Wednesday 30 March 2005

Fans planning on a trip to see the reserves at Keys Park today need to watch out for the news – it may be off.

Following heavy overnight rain, the fixture against Sheffield United may well be called off, thanks to a water logged pitch. There is an inspection this morning.

This is yet another blow, as the game was scheduled to be used by Mark Kinsella in an attempt to get match fit following his recent injury.

Barnsley vs Walsall – Disaster Looms

neilr @ 6:53 pm Monday 28 March 2005

The Saddlers went down 3 – 2 at Oakwell today, despite coming back from 2 – 0 down to draw level. Despite that improvement, following a dubious penalty being missed, the entire defence went to sleep while celebrating Barnsley not getting a third, and left Michael Chopra unmarked in the six yard box to score the winner.

Saddler’s fans feelings are that this means we are in real trouble and a win at home to Torquay next week is vital.


“The last two defeats have confirmed what I think I knew about 3 weeks ago – we are in big trouble and probably likely to go down.
It is almost IDENTICAL to last season. With 8 games to go you think it can’t possibly happen (remeber that fluky win away at Derby, dancing around the living room shouting “we are staying up”, surely we are safe now…). Well, it can, and it very may will again.
This is unthinkable.
Got to back Merse now. I have come around to thinking that he is a disaster for this club, but its got to be 100% support from now on”.

Tony Obi:-

“I can see Wrexham , in decent form , fighting like mad to correct the “injustice” of their position and with Ugarte scoring for fun , getting 4 wins out of their last 8 games , maybe a draw too , gives them 51 points .
As long as we dont lose against Torquay ( big if ) I dont see them overtaking us , so we need 52 points . ( Similarities with last season are frightening)”.


“Looking at the table, it looks pretty much like if we win next Saturday, we might just survive. Anything less than that and we’re toast. MK Dons & Oldham are playing well and will get out of it. So all we can aim for is fifth from bottom”.

The next home game looks like being the most important game since Cardiff and a superhuman effort will be needed from everyone, including the fans, otherwise a season in the bottom division looms.

Barnsley vs Walsall – Preview

neilr @ 6:17 pm Sunday 27 March 2005

Walsall are off on their travels tomorrow to South Yorkshire and never has an away win been more needed to boost a team’s confidence. Walsall’s current form is almost as bad as it could be, following the home defeat by Oldham on Saturday and the gap between us and the relegation positions is down to six points. At least Oldham (at home to Hull), Franchise (away at Bournemouth) and Torquay (home to Luton) all have hard fixtures!

Paul Merson has no new injury worries as he ponders his tactics and team line up. In fact, the squad should be strengthened by the return of Emblen from the slight niggle that kept him out on Saturday and Murphy following his suspension.
Merson’s main problem seems to be which formation and tactics to play. Will he flood the midfield or go 4 3 1 2? Will he play himself or not? Who knows!

Barnsley, under Caretaker Manager Andy Ritchie, have had an extra day to recover from the exertions of the weekend, in their case a 3 – 1 away win at Luton on Friday. Full back Tom Williams will be missing, but they have no other real injury worries, with defenders Paul Reid and Neil Austin available again.

Barnsley’s main dangers should be former Walsall loanee Chris Shuker and the very, very dangerous Michael Chopra.

Barnsley are currently 12th in the Division and are now a massive eight points behind the play off places, so should have little to play for, other than pride. Their win at Luton last week, however, shows how dangerous a relaxed team can be. They are relaxed, while Walsall’s nerve ends must be jangling.

Barnsley’s home record is:-

Played 19, Won 6, Drawn 8, Lost 5, Points 26

So they aren’t the greatest on their own patch (their away record is the reason they are higher than us in the table, as they have the same number of points away from Oakwell), so this ought to be seen as a game we should get a point from, if not a win. I gave up predicting those a few games ago away from home, though, so I have to say 2 – 1 to Barnsley. Unless he goes 4 5 1, perhaps? 3 4 1 2? Any other offers?

Walsall 0 Oldham 1

roger6 @ 10:10 am Sunday 27 March 2005

The Saddlers crashed to their fourth straight defeat – this time against fellow strugglers Oldham. Our four new loan signings all made their debuts, but could not prevent us conceding another soft goal, and despite a last gasp goal-line clearance, the Walsall performance was far from convincing. Reaction on this site’s message board has been fast and furious:

London Saddler - Sorry but the new boys were no better than we already have (except for Joachim) and added absolutely nothing to the team. But is anyone surprised? If you sign reserve and youth team players, what do you expect? Pead has not been good enough to even get in for even ONE game in one of the worst Coventry teams for years. Perpetuni is not good enough to get into the mighty Wycombe Wanderers team. Gerrard is a reserve team player who has never made a first team appearance. I can accept Oakes and Joachim because those two are actually better than the rubbish we already have, so improve the team.

Geordie Saddler – And it could get a whole lot more uncomfortable if we arn’t bang on next week when Torquay roll into town. There seems to be a glib acceptance that somehow we will breeze past Stockport Peterborough and Torquay. The team that failed to beat Slough and Leyton Orient isn’t going to breeze past anyone. We need to score goals to win games, Merson who is our attack is all but totally shot, and there isn’t (and never has been) a plan B. We need someone to be as bad a Chesterfield were just after Christmas to get us a win.

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Live chat for Oldham game

roger6 @ 10:11 pm Friday 25 March 2005

If you can’t be at Bescot tomorrow for the crunch clash with Oldham, join us here on the UptheSaddlers message board where for the first time there will be live chat available with other UptheSaddlers regulars.

To access the chat you’ll need to be a registered user of this site’s message board.

The chatroom will be open until from 12pm until midnight Saturday.

At other times you’ll need a username and password to access.

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