Archive for May, 2007

Sam Fixed Up At County

Neil @ 12:09 pm Thursday 31 May 2007

Hector Sam became the first of Walsall’s released six to find a new club today.

The 29 year old Trinidad and Tobago striker, fresh from receiving his championship winners medal with the Saddlers, has been taken on by Notts County.

The player always had mixed reviews from Saddlers fans, but, on the whole, his stay with us can be described as a success, despite the fact that he didn’t find the net anything like often enough, something which eventually led to him losing his place to loanee Trevor Benjamin.

His level was always likely to stay as the fourth tier of English football and he would have been a squad player and no more next season. Still, we all wish him luck.

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Ex Wolves Man A Target?

neilr @ 7:57 pm Wednesday 30 May 2007

Cheltenham’s ex Wolves winger JJ Melligan has emerged as a potential target for Walsall Manager Richard Money, according to the Evening Mail.

Melligan, aged 25, has yet to accept the offer of a new two-year deal from Cheltenham as he mulls over other options and the paper is reporting that Walsall are one of those options, as hopes are fading of signing Kevin Harper, who is keen to return to his Scotland, where he has a business.

Money has identified that the wide positions need reinforcements, having lost the freed Mark Wright, having put Tony Bedeau on the transfer list and with Darren Wrack looking more like a central midfielder nowadays.

In the last two seasons Dublin-born Melligan has played a big part in Cheltenham’s rise to their highest-ever league status and he could fit the bill nicely for the Saddlers.

JJ Melligan

The Walsall Squad Starts to Take Shape

Neil @ 12:11 pm Friday 25 May 2007

The rumours on the UTS message board during the last few days were confirmed today with the signing of former Saddler Danny Sonner from Port Vale, but the news hasn’t stopped there!

Sonner has had one spell with us before, under Colin Lee in the Championship, but always got a mixed reaction from the fans. Since then, however, he has been a success at Port Vale, becoming a favourite with supporters, until falling out with the club over the offer of a new contract.

The Saddlers have given the 35 year old 12 months and he will give valuable experience to the squad, as well as competition for Michael Dobson in the defensive midfield role.

Even better news this morning, however, is that of contact extensions being signed by two of the Saddlers’ current stars. Clayton Ince, fresh from his record breaking season, has signed a two year contract with the club, solving a potential goal keeping problem, while Walsall hero Ian Roper has signed for another year. Both of these developments are extremely welcome.

Walsall’s Night of the Long Knives

Neil @ 1:32 pm Tuesday 15 May 2007

Richard Money has today shown his ruthless side by freeing no fewer than six of his promotion winning squad, while making another available for transfer.

Out goes former Coventry man Craig Pead. He started the season at right back and, in fact made the second division team of the season in that position, but lost his place to Chris Westwood eventually. Since then, he has made a few appearances both as a defender and as a midfielder. It may be thought that the squad will miss his versatility, but most would have considered him to be under some danger.

Hector Sam also started the season as first choice, as Martin Butler’s partner and might have counted himself unlucky to be displaced by Trevor Benjamin, after none of the others who were meant to put pressure on him managed to do so. He should find another club in Division 2.

Mark Wright also was a first pick early on, but has always had his detractors amongst the fans and his form did suffer. He is a confidence player and, on form, can be very effective, but has never shown enough consistency.

Kris Taylor was the first choice left back at the start of the season, but Money seems to prefer Danny Fox in that position and he has also been actively seeking another left back, if the rumours are true. Personally, I find this, along with Sam, the biggest shock.

Par Cederqvist came with a big reputation, but has been unable to show any form and this comes as no surprise and the same applies to Geordie Lyall, who has suffered a succession of injuries and never had a chance to show anything.

Tony Bedeau has been put on the transfer list, as he has another year on his contract, after a season of injury after injury and that comes as little surprise also.

Or Is It Paul Heffernan for Walsall?

Neil @ 1:11 pm Monday 14 May 2007

Of course, Richard Money has made no secret of his desire to sign a 20 odd goal a season striker at League 1 level and one man who does fit the description is Doncaster Rovers’ Paul Heffernan.

The 5’ 10” 25 year old Irishman has a career record of very nearly a goal every three games, at 0.31 and would be just the kind of finisher Money might be looking for.

He started his career in this country at Notts County before Bristol City paid £150,000 for him in 2004. Due to the superb form of Steve Brooker and Leroy Lita, his chances in the first team were limited, so he left for Doncaster in 2005 for £125,000. He is reportedly out of contract this Summer.

Now, the question is, is there some substance in the rumours and, if so, which Heffernan are we interested in?

Keates, Westwood and Posh Mystery

Neil @ 12:32 pm Monday 14 May 2007

The Express and Star is reporting that the story on the Peterborough official web site, that Dean Keates and Chris Westwood have signed for the Posh is, in fact, not true.

The paper is saying that they have spoken to both player’s agents and they are still in negotiations with Walsall, even though they admit that there has been an approach from Posh.

The mystery deepens, indeed.

So, Who Is Dean Heffernan?

Neil @ 9:41 am Monday 14 May 2007

The rumours seem to be growing that one of Richard Money’s targets in the close season is Aussie Dean Heffernan.

Heffernan is an experienced player, who will be 27 on the 19th May, is registered with Central Coast Mariners, but has been on loan for the whole of last season with Budesliga FC Nurnberg.

He’s been classed in most reports as a full back, but, in fact, has played as a midfielder too. He did play as a wing back for Central Coast Mariners and scored 8 goals in 24 games from there, subsequently being named in FourFourTwo’s A-League dream team. In March 2006 he and fellow team mate Michael Beauchamp had a 10 day trial with German Bundesliga club Nürnberg. On July 1 2006 both players transferred to Nürnberg on season-long loans. Heffernan has struggled to get senior games but has been a regular fixture in the Reserves scoring 2 goals.

Heffernan

England Come To The Banks\’s Stadium

Neil @ 2:10 pm Thursday 10 May 2007

Walsall fans will have their first chance to visit the renamed Banks’s Stadium for a competitive game not to see their beloved Saddlers, but to see England.

England’s Under-19′s will be at the Banks’s Stadium on May 15th, playing Russia (7.45 kick off), before moving to Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on the 17th to play Holland and the Sixfields Stadium on the 20th to play the Czech Republic.

Advance tickets cost just £3.00 for adults and £1 for concessions.

The team last played at the Banks’s in September, in front of more than 8,500 England fans.

“We are delighted to be staging another England Under-19 International here at the Banks’s Stadium,” added Chief Executive, Roy Whalley. “This will be the second England Under-19 game we have staged in recent months, following on from the hugely popular International Friendly between England and Holland held here in September.

That game attracted over 8,500 supporters to the Banks’s Stadium and a superb family-orientated atmosphere was created. Let us hope that this is the case once again.”

The winners of the four-team Group 3 will take their place at the Finals in Austria in July. Non-England matches will be played at Burton Albion FC, Worcester City FC and Solihull Borough FC. Details are on the Official Web Site.

Goodbye Bescot

Neil @ 8:49 am Wednesday 09 May 2007

Hello Banks’s Stadium.

The worst kept secret in Walsall will be officially announced at a press conference today, when the club unveil the re-naming of Bescot as the “Banks’s Stadium”.

The rumours have been on the message boards for weeks, but the rather neat gold lettering on the front of the main stand are now up for all to see.

It’s doubtful if the terms of the agreement will be revealed, but, hopefully, this extra revenue will go into the coffers for team building ready for Division 1.

Swindon vs Walsall PARTY TIME!

neilr @ 5:08 pm Saturday 05 May 2007

It doesn’t matter that this wasn’t one of the Saddler’s best performances of the season, but a magnificent injury time equaliser from Dean Keates, coupled with Bristol Rovers winning 2 – 1 at Hartlepool, means that history has been made as Walsall gained a Divisional Championship for only the second time in their long history.

A long wait of forty odd years since Bill Moore’s team won the then Fourth Division has been bought to an end by the team coached into a resilient and efficient outfit which has managed to go an entire season without a single double done against them and the character of which has been proven over and over again.

Even today, having been second best for most of the game, the Saddlers came strong in the last few minutes, with Martin Butler drawing a superb save from Smith before the drama of injury time. As the ball dropped invitingly for Dean Keates, 20 yards out, he kept his composure to drill a superb left foot shot into the top corner of the net for the goal which guaranteed the title would be coming to Bescot Stadium.

The Civic Reception on Tuesday night will now really mean something, as the team will be parading the silverware which no one thought would be coming at the beginning of the season, given the disasters that had afflicted the club in the last three seasons, or, at least, no one thought except Richard Money, whose name will now have to go down in Walsall FC folklore.

Yes folks,

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!

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