Archive for May, 2005

Hartlepool Man Linked

neilr @ 8:16 am Monday 30 May 2005

The latest rumour to emerge on the message boards is that Player-Manager Paul Merson has one of losing play-off finalists Hartlepool United’s defenders lined up as his next signing.

Chris Westwood, their centre back and occasional scorer of important goals is the player concerned. Westwood was taken to the Victoria Ground by former manager Chris Turner, who had him as a member of the Wolves’ youth team, when he was at the Molyneux club.

Westwood (unluckily sent off at Cardiff against Sheffield Wednesday) is a quick, 28 year old, six footer, born in Dudley. He has been a reasonably consistant member of the Hartlepool squad that has reached two consecutive play-offs, although he’s also noted for the occasional stinker!

He is available on a Bosman this summer.

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Joachim – Leeds Want A Fee

neilr @ 4:05 pm Saturday 28 May 2005

Leeds United Manager Kevin Blackwell has issued Walsall with a “put up or shut up” warning about striker Julian Joachim.

Blackwell, despite admitting that he wants the former Villa and Coventry man off the wage bill, has made it quite clear that the player has not been freed and that he is expecting any club interested to pay off his contract. As Joachim is reputedly on something in the region of £5000 per week basic, that means a fee in the region of a quarter of a million.

Blackwell said “He hasn’t been released at all. If Walsall want him, then they have to do the right thing and pay for him. They’ve kept sniffing around, wanting this and that, but we’re not prepared to budge”.

Walsall’s attitude has always been that they want sign the player if and when he has negotiated his release from Leeds.

Roy Whalley has emphasised this:- “We want the player and would be happy to speak to him if he becomes surplus to requirements”.

This development makes any signing look doubtful to say the least and Paul Merson may well now turn his attention elsewhere.

Pead Signs His Contract – Southampton Youngster Next?

neilr @ 5:04 pm Friday 27 May 2005

Craig Pead finally got round to signing his two year contract today!

We have known for a couple of days that Craig Pead had agreed terms on a contract, but the club have finally announced that he has put pen to paper. The former Coventry England under 21 International impressed at full back during his loan period at the end of last season and was widely expected to be one of Paul Merson’s signings this summer.

The official site also says that the club are now very hopeful of getting Andrew Surman back next season on a long loan and negotiations are well under way with Southampton.

Merson Changes His Mind On Keepers

neilr @ 11:51 am Thursday 26 May 2005

Walsall Player-Manager Paul Merson has today started the search for a number two keeper, after a change of policy for next season.

Merson had been intending to start with Andy Oakes as his number one, with youngster Dean Coleman on the bench. He now says, however, that he wants to have three goalkeepers on the books for the start of the season.

There was always a risk in having only two keepers, of course, as a long term injury would mean looking for a loanee, but the flipside is what quality can we expect to sit on the bench in the Third Division? Join in the discussions on the message board.

Another Everton Player Lined Up

neilr @ 12:19 pm Wednesday 25 May 2005

I don’t know if Paul Merson reads this message board, but the Express & Star is reporting that he has taken the advice of one of our Evertonian visitors.

The paper says today that Walsall are lining up an offer to Anthony Gerrard’s Everton youth team colleague Daniel Fox. The left back was released by the Merseysiders on the same day as Anthony.

Like Gerrard, Fox’s release came as a surprise to many Everton fans and reports suggest that the pacy youngster may be plenty good enough for this Division. He has had a loan spell with Stranraer and is qualified for Scotland.

Meanwhile, the Star is also reporting that Craig Pead has verbally agreed a two year contract with the club. If Fox signs, that should complete the defensive rebuilding. It is also the probable reason for the announcement that the club are releasing young right back Ryan Willetts, who made his debut last season, before suffering a terrible run of injuries.

Wrack May Stay

neilr @ 12:03 pm Tuesday 24 May 2005

Long serving Walsall midfielder Darren Wrack has told the press that he may accept a lower contract offer from the club to stay.

The long serving midfielder, who joined in 1998, was widely expected to be leaving in the summer, as one of the club’s higher earners. He has told the Express and Star, however, that he has had preliminary negotiations with Chairman Jeff Bonser, and he might be willing to accept a lower salary to stay.

Should Wrack sign a new contract, it would make the summer a little less complicated for Manager Paul Merson.

Meanwhile, it appears youngster Kyle Perry may have been given a professional contract, even though there has been no announcement as yet. The striker, who spent some time out on loan last season, has been added to the squad list on the Official Web Site.

Tranmere Man to Return to Bescot?

neilr @ 12:24 pm Monday 23 May 2005

The Tranmere Rovers Sportsnetwork site (Total Tranmere) is reporting that Paul Merson has made an offer to Tranmere’s ex Walsall Jamaican International winger Paul Hall.

Hall, 33 in July, has proven to be a success in the lower Divisions with Rushden and Tranmere and would be a welcome addition to the squad, especially if Darren Wrack refuses his contract offer. Tranmere Manager Brian Little is reported as wanting to hang on to the tricky little winger, however.

Walsall Have Competition As Joachim Rumoured To Interest Bradford

neilr @ 8:24 pm Thursday 19 May 2005

With Anthony Gerrard now signed and Craig Pead about to on his return from holiday on Monday, the rebuilding process now will turn its attention to Andrew Surman and Julian Joachim.

Surman’s position should start to become clear as soon as Harry Redknapp gets his squad reshaping exercise underway seriously, but news on Joachim had gone quiet.

A Bradford City fan site has reported that Colin Todd has a strong interest in bringing Joachim to the Yorkshire club, with him being a favoured target, along with former favourite Danny Cadamarteri.

It is unlikely that this should present any serious opposition to Merson’s hopes of signing Joachim, as Walsall would still probably be his preferred option.

The link to the site is http://www.boyfrombrazil.co.uk/news.asp?date=20050513

Gerrard signs for 2 years

roger6 @ 3:17 pm Wednesday 18 May 2005

Positive news from inside Bescot today as Anthony Gerrard signed for the Saddlers on a 2-year deal. The defender, who won’t be 19 until the 6th of July, made a big impact on loan towards the end of the season, and Paul Merson is reported to be delighted to have the youngster on board. Gerrard, cousin of Steve, was surprisingly released by Everton last week, and Walsall fought off strong competition for his services.

The news was not a total surprise given it had been predicted on both the UptheSaddlers message board and reported in the local press. In the announcement on the official site, there are hints of more signings to come, with Craig Pead expected next, confirming his permanent arrival from Coventry.

Gerrard Will Sign

neilr @ 12:02 pm Tuesday 17 May 2005

The Express and Star is reporting that Anthony Gerrard will sign on the dotted line for Walsall, probably as early as tomorrow.

The young centre back, cousin of Liverpool and England star Steve, has been very impressive while on loan towards the end of last season and it came as a surprise to some when Everton gave him a free transfer yesterday. This left the door open for Walsall, despite rumoured interest from Tranmere and Stoke. The player had, however, expressed a preference for joining the Saddlers and is certainly one of the best young prospects we’ve had playing for us for a long while.

Meanwhile, as was widely rumoured, the paper is also reporting that fellow loanee Craig Pead will sign a contract as soon as he returns from holiday, following his release by Coventry.

    WORTHWHILE CAUSE!

Stars from the past will be at Bescot this Saturday to take part in a charity match to raise much-needed funds for a ventilator in the Baby Unit of the Walsall Manor Hospital.

According to the Official Site, Mark Rees, Paul Waddington, Ian Paul, Andy Rammell, Craig Shakespeare, Dean Smith, Martin O’Connor, Stuart Watkiss, Dean Keates, Richard Green, Don Goodman, Chris Marsh, Darren Byfield, Tom Bennett, Clive Platt, Wayne Thomas, Brian Caswell, Ron Green, Richard O’Kelly, Colin Harrison and Willie Naughton will all be taking part.

Kick-off is at 12.15pm with turnstiles open from 11.00am. Admission will be £2.00 (adults) and £1.00 (concessions),

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