I hate this lot. The club formerly known as Wimbledon. Itâ€™s nothing personal with the players and management (well, thatâ€™s not strictly speaking true, as I canâ€™t stand that * expletive deleted * Martin Allen or that cheating little ******* Izale McLeod), but it is with the fans and the owners.
I know that this attitude always seems a little strange for some of the younger fans who didnâ€™t live through some of our darkest days, but, for someone who was involved with Barry Blower in the Save Our Saddlers campaigns when the late and not very lamented Ken Wheldon was trying to move us to Molyneux or St Andrews, the thought of a football club being ripped away from its soul and its roots and transplanted 80 miles away, just makes me very, very angry. The fact that Pete Winkelmanâ€™s consortium had already tried to hijack a couple of other League clubs (notably Luton) before all this happened makes me angry. The fact that they couldnâ€™t have put money into the non-League team in the City (city â€“ are they joking?) to bring it up the pyramid (ironically from the same level as AFC Wimbledon) makes me mad, as does the fact that the people of the town accepted all of this without backing the existing teams and the fact that the FA and the Football League stood by as a dangerous precedent was set. In fact, nothing would give me greater pleasure than seeing them and AFC Wimbledon pass each other in the opposite direction. Pity theyâ€™re doing so well at the moment, isnâ€™t it?
Richard Moneyâ€™s problems are ones of success. Given the easing of the injury problems, especially with the return of Darren Wrack, his major task will be to keep the playersâ€™ feet on the ground, as confidence must be sky high.
Chris Westwood is available again, as is skipper Michael Dobson and top scorer Martin Butler, following his illness. As far as we know, that leaves Allan Picken as the only injury absentee and he should be back with us by next Saturday.
The squad, therefore, following Carlos Fangueiroâ€™s departure earlier this week, should come from:
Ince, Bossu, Westwood, Pead, Dann, Roper, Gerrard, Taylor, Wright, Bedeau, Wrack, Dobson, Keates, Kinsella, Fox, Demontagnac, Butler, Sam, Constable, Nicholls.
Martin Allen has made some big changes down at the Franchise this week, freeing 6 players. Amongst those 6, club captain and ex Arsenal defender Ben Chorley has gone to Gillingham on loan, with a view to a permanent move and Craig Morgan, who got his first Welsh cap recently, has gone back to the club he came from, Wrexham.
Weâ€™ll have some ex Saddlers to â€œwelcome backâ€ tomorrow, in the shape of former loanee and ex Dingle Keith Andrews and the always awkward Clive Platt (remember when people thought he had more promise than Michael Ricketts?).
Other links are Clayton Inceâ€™s understudy at Crewe, Ademola Bankole in goal and former Merson targets (but, then again, who wasnâ€™t), Lloyd Dyer on the wing and Aaron Wilbraham up front.
Just to complete the picture of what these opponents are like, we may also see the likes of former Blackpool and Plymouth danger man Scott Taylor, Leicester, Swindon and Hull midfielder Junior Lewis, Aussie Gareth Edds and the dangerous ex Sheffield Wednesday player, Jon-Paul McGovern, all of whom have either proved themselves at this level or given us problems in the past.
Oh boy, this is tricky.
The Dongles are lying in sixth place at the moment, a full eight points behind us. They have an away record of won 4, drawn 1 lost 2, almost identical to their home record, where they have played one more game than that and lost it. That away record is, in fact, slightly better than our own. They really cannot afford to have the gap widen to 11 points, although, of course, the teams in second and third, Lincoln and Swindon, meet at the County Ground tomorrow.
On the other hand, of course, the Saddlers have the perfect record at home, having won all seven, with no goals conceded.
That record will have to go sometime, but I still have an inkling for a narrow home win tomorrow. If that does happen and there is a draw in the Swindon/Lincoln game, we will be four points clear at the top tomorrow night. Thatâ€™s how important this game might be.
Matt Gadsby Testimonial
Meanwhile, on a more serious note, former internationals and stars are going to play in a match on Sunday in memory of former Saddler Matt Gadsby, who died recently aged 27 after collapsing on the pitch.
A post-mortem examination has revealed that Matt, who was in action for Hinckley United when the tragedy happened on 9 September, had a heart condition.
The memorial game is between Tamworth Sunday league team Newton Thistle and a Leicester City old stars side.
Peter Shilton and Cyrille Regis are among ex-England players due to play.
In addition, ex-Leicester pair Gary Mills and Paul Ramsey, Aston Villa’s European Cup winners Gordon Cowans and Tony Morley, and one of Coventry’s FA Cup winners Micky Gynn, are expected to feature.
The match will take place at the Newton Regis Sports Ground on Sunday, October 29th. The kick off is 1.30pm and admission is Â£3 adults and Â£1 juniors. (Newton Regis is just off the M42, near to Tamworth).
The game will kick start a very important week for Matt’s Memorial Fund which is edging ever close to the initial target of Â£25,000 as cash continues to come in.