Archive for June, 2006

One That Got Away

neilr @ 7:11 am Friday 30 June 2006

It seems that one of the missing pieces from Colin Lee’s time as Walsall Manager was former Wimbledon playmaker Andy Roberts.

Roberts was a midfielder who nearly helped Millwall and then Palace to promotion, and was possibly one of the last truly gifted Wimbledon players before the club deserted its fans for Milton Keynes, changing hands for over £4 million during his career.

He told the Croydon Advertiser in an interview, that it was during his second spell at Wimbledon that he fell out with the then new boss, Terry Burton, and was frozen out at the beginning of the 2003/4 season, having to train with the youth team. He wrote to every football league club, asking to be considered, before he finally received an answer from Colin Lee at Walsall.

Days before, however, Millwall had been beaten 6-0 by Rotherham at home on the opening day of the season. And the very day Roberts began packing for the trip north to Walsall, he was called by Lions chairman Theo Paphitis.”Joining Millwall was infinitely preferable to living in a hotel in Walsall,”said Roberts.”But when it came to the deal, Millwall drove a hard bargain.”

Whether that season would have turned out differently had the player come is pure speculation, of course, but fans will wonder what might have happened if we’d had a midfielder of Roberts’s class available when Merson vanished to Arizona and when Samways threw his dummy out of the pram and, of course, what light this sheds on the theory that Lee had completed his team building before Merson arrived, considering he made the offer to Roberts after the season started, and why he thought that a midfield of Merson, Samways and Osborn, with Corica and Oakes as back up, needed that much strengthening anyway.

Unfortunately, these are questions only Colin Lee can answer.

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Wolves\’ Ganea Goes Home

neilr @ 1:04 pm Thursday 29 June 2006

The UEFA web site (uefa.com) is reporting that Richard Money’s audacious attempt to sign Vio Ganea has failed.

It seems that the Romanian International will, after all, be returning home, to Dinamo Bucharest.

Hardly surpringly, the lure of top flight football in his home country, coupled with a European spot next season, proved too much for the player, when compared with Division 4!

Wolves Striker Transfer Looks Likely

neilr @ 7:14 am Thursday 29 June 2006

After all of the speculation yesterday on the name of the new striker Richard Money is closing in on, the strong rumour on the message board is that it is someone moving just six miles!

Wolves’ Romanian International (43 caps and 18 goals) Vio Ganea has fallen out with Glenn Hoddle, who the player has described as “the worst manager I have ever played for”, going on to say that a number of the squad cannot understand the former England coach’s training methods.

Because of that, Wolves have been prepared to release Ganea from his contract early and it really does seem that his favoured option of those available to him is a move to the Saddlers, mainly because his family is so settled in the area.

Ganea’s scoring record in Romania was second to none and he also enjoyed a successful spell in the Bundesliga with VfB Stuttgart before moving to Molyneux and, should it come off, this could turn out to be an amazing coup for the new Manager.

Who Is The New Striker?

neilr @ 1:45 pm Wednesday 28 June 2006

Walsall manager Richard Money is expecting to be able to announce the signing of another striker this week, following the release of former Blues’ man Andrew Barrowman.

Money has said:-

“I’m hoping to sign another striker this week and if the right name becomes available, we’ll do it,” said Money.
We don’t have a huge striker and I’m not attempting to sign one. But we will have a group of players who can compete when they need to and play cleverly”.

There have been a couple of players linked with a move to the Saddlers who might fit that description, in the shape of Coventry’s Andy Morrell and Wolves’ Romanian International Vio Ganea.

Simon Osborn Leaves With An Award!

neilr @ 11:10 am Tuesday 27 June 2006

The club’s official site has announced that Simon Osborn left the club with one honour under his belt.

Osborn’s sublime lob at Scunthorpe away won the fan’s vote for the Walsall goal of the season, with over 40% of the votes cast. It was a fitting end to the former Wolves, Palace and Gillingham player’s career at Bescot.

Close behind in the voting was the departed Grant Smith’s effort at Tranmere, while player coach Mark Kinsella was some way behind in third for his effort in the televised game at Merthyr.

Ex Birmingham Man Leaves

neilr @ 1:29 pm Monday 26 June 2006

Walsall have parted company with former Blues youngster Andrew Barrowman.

The Birmingham City reserve was inexplicably given an eighteen month contract by former manager Paul Merson, in what always seemed to be a total panic measure after he failed to get his real target in the January transfer window.

The Scottish centre forward never showed any of the promise that Merson presumably saw in him on the training ground and has quickly been shown the door by Richard Money “by mutual consent”, having scored just one goal in his total of 13 appearances of various lengths.

Despite the fact that it had been stated that there would be no more contracts paid off, this, yet again, shows Money means real business.

Nicholls On The Mend

neilr @ 4:29 pm Friday 23 June 2006

Alex Nicholls has given the Saddlers fans a boost by making faster than expected progress back from the broken leg he suffered in a youth team game late last season.

Nicholls should be available by the end of August.

The young striker’s encouraging recovery has been helped by an attitude that Jon Whitney has described in the Evening Mail as “excellent”.

“Alex is doing really well with his rehabilitation,” Whitney said. “He is due to have the plates that where inserted in his leg out next month, at a similar time to Darren Wrack, and hopefully he’ll be back in the mix round by the end of August.

He’s doing well and he deserves to because he’s got an excellent attitude. Alex has been in to work with us every day for the last four weeks.

It’s always tough when a player breaks a leg but Alex is really strong pyschologically and a quick healer physically so the ingredients are in place for a return sooner rather than later

Football League Farce

neilr @ 11:12 am Friday 23 June 2006

The Football League has lost its claim for compensation from its legal advisors, following the ITV Digital fiasco.

The league was ordered to pay 90% of solicitors Edge Ellison’s costs.

The league was suing over its advice on a deal with pay-TV company ITV Digital which collapsed in 2002.

The judge found two breaches of duty for which he awarded just £4.

The Football League is now liable for most of the legal costs of the case which legal experts say could be as high as £5m.

Welcome Back to Colin Lee?

neilr @ 8:14 am Friday 23 June 2006

No, he hasn’t been approached to take over the club, as far as we know, but he may be returning in another capacity next season.

Wycombe Wanderers search for a new manager meant that they have run one round of interviews this week and are planning another next week and the former Walsall manager reputedly one of the favourites for the job to replace John Gorman.

Graham Rix and Ray Lewington are also known to have been interviewed.

Rochdale First Up!

neilr @ 9:44 am Thursday 22 June 2006

Walsall’s first fixture in the new Division will be against Rochdale away, with the final game away at Swindon.

The most attractive fixture looks like a trip to Torquay on Easter Saturday and we are at home to old rivals Shrewsbury on Boxing Day.

The full list can be found on the Official Site at;

http://www.saddlers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Home/0,,10428,00.html

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