Archive for June, 2008

The Blender

Exile @ 2:11 am Monday 30 June 2008

More guff from the site that gives it to you straight up, if a little behind the times, during this closed season.

Players head for intensive care
The preseason begins in earnest on Wednesday, when the Saddlers squad assembles for the first time at the new traning camp in Essington, next to where our new 40,000 seater stadium won’t be.

Physio Jon Witney tells us that the players will undergo some serious fitness workouts to get them into peak shape for the season ahead. Given that the majority of the squad haven’t yet signed up, training may be even more intense for some latecomers!

Long and winding road
Jimmy “Sherlock” Mullen has warned that his intelligence reports a higher number of clubs with more money to spend on bigger squads than this time last year. As a consequence our expectations for next season have been downgraded from “let’s see if we can challenge” to “let’s see if we can match last year’s effort”. Given how hard we fought to get down to 12th last season that shouldn’t be too difficult, although one hopes the traumatic sale of key players in January is something we needn’t repeat.

Still, some entertaining football has been promised, so that should sway some of the fanbase.

New Signings
From the “next few days” comment (copyright Express & Star, any Saddlers news story filed between 15 May and 30 June) has risen a more structured battlecry, with Manager Mullen taking a more pragmatic approach. Whilst we thoroughly endorse his ‘get it right, not get it right now’ tactics, we’ll hang fire on delivering a full approval till we see exactly what the ‘get it right’ approach delivers. Now players are back off their holidays, cellphones are on and contracts honoured, perhaps someone will want to talk to us.

Transfer Gossip
The now-weekly slot where we deliver no news whatsoever remains empty.

That’s about all for now. Feel free to PM the author with any tips worth publishing, otherwise stick to [post moderated] and ‘player X’ comments on the Rumours thread on the messageboard.

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Exile @ 6:22 am Monday 23 June 2008

The now almost-regular not-quite-weekly round-up of news not worth reporting, together with some olds we didn’t report first time through.

New assistant for Mullen
John Schofield has signed up for a plum job as coach at the Saddlers. Schofield will inevitably be subject to a whole contracts-worth of gopher gags as assistant to already-popular puppet Jimmy ‘Gordon” Mullen – here’s hoping John and Jimmy’s partnership will be as great as Phil and Gordon’s was. Lately of Lincoln and Scunthorpe, Schofield has all the right badges, and a heap of attitude to bring to the club, and we trust he’ll be able to at least repeat the success that kept Lincoln respectably in the second division for a number of seasons.

Geddes update
Apparently the clubs we beat off for Geddes’ signature were Bolton, Blackburn and Newcastle. Mullen advises that Sean was persuaded to sign for The Saddlers as he’d have a great chance of rising to the first team with Walsall, given our attitude to developing youth talent and blooding youngsters early. This’ll be the same attitude evident in Bonser’s “let the public own the stadium” calls based on past experience. We think Sean probably signed because he was told it’s grim up North and it’s a bit far to commute to see his parents.

Kids for a quid!
Yup – it’s kids for a quid again, and this time it won’t devalue your season ticket, as it’s at the Boldmere St. Michaels match on July 30th at their gaffe. Always a great occasion, it’ll now be even more worth turning up to see 3 or 4 youngsters and 18 trialists take on the might of The Mikes. Roll up prior to 7.30 and enjoy a decent pint, some good company and maybe a bit of football.

Transfer Rumours
1 Gowling ain’t signing
2 er…
3 that’s it
Obviously Jimmy and The Tan are playing all their cards close to their chest as we prepare our squad for next season. A decade back we’d not signed anyone by this time either, so don’t worry just yet. Please.

Saddlers away at Yeovil first up

roger6 @ 10:04 am Monday 16 June 2008

The Saddlers open the new season away at Yeovil. First league action at the Bescot sees the visit of Scunthorpe on August 16th. Sandwiched between the two is a Carling Cup first round clash at home to Darlington on Tuesday August 12th.

There’s a Boxing Day clash at home to Stockport to look forward to, a New Year trip to Carlisle on January 3rd – and the Leeds games are 25th October away and 31st January at home respectively. In an echo of a previous promotion season, a final day home encounter with Oldham is in prospect on May 2nd.

Full fixtures available from the BBC website - who this morning beat the official site by a clear couple of minutes to publishing the fixtures first.

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Exile @ 2:08 am Monday 16 June 2008

The ill-timed collection of dross that generally precedes a better story by a matter of hours is back, with it’s round-up of rubbish from around the traps.

2008/09 Season Fixtures
Fixtures are due out 10.00am Monday 16 June (UK time). Please, DO NOT POST THESE ON THE SITE! The chaps at league HQ get very grumpy over copyright issues for some reason, and we don’t want to pay a fee to put their little list on our site. You can see them in lots of places – BBC will probably put them up quite quickly. David Thompson of the Football League is the man to blame when we have to travel to the other end of the country on midweek and bank holiday fixtures.

Super Sub Season
Under new rules, Walsall will be able to name seven subs on the bench for forthcoming FA and Carling Cup fixtures. Whilst still being allowed to use only three in a game, this makes for greater permutations from the sidelines. Given our recent signing activity, whether we’ll be able to field a squad of 18 players by August 11 is still a matter of conjecture.

Darlo in the Carlo
Darlington are the Carling Cup visitors who’ll have to contend with our seven super subs when we play them at (still) the Banks’s Stadium in the week commencing August 11. That’ll probably be August 12 then, as we can’t imagine this fixture bothering the live schedules. We’ve never met The Loids in the competition before, but haven’t lost at home to them since 1922, meaning an 86 year-old record is up for grabs. Wolves and Coventry also drew minnows, so no big money-spinner ties for the Midland teams.

Walsall ‘Til I Die
A reminder to send in your 200-300 word stories for possible inclusion in the above-titled new book, published in connection with the Club, the Supporters’ Trust and the National Literacy Trust. Any memory or tale of your trials, tribulations, joys and laughter following Walsall is sought. Entries please to david@legendspublishing.net referencing Walsall ‘Til I Die in the subject line. If you know any old codgers with no internet, now’s the time to tap their brain and submit on their behalf, as we imagine there’ll already be 15,000 entries discussing Cardiff. Deadline for copy is June 30.

Transfer Rumours
Even the Express and Dingle agrees – no new rumours since last time, when we were thought to be chasing Elding (no chance) and Gowling (some chance). Still, they get their news from here, so maybe it’s time to start thinking of some new names for the UTS transfer rumours thread.

That’s all for now – and publication of this collection means bigger news MUST be just around the corner!

Mullen Confirms Bournemouth Man Interest

Neil @ 4:19 pm Thursday 12 June 2008

The Express and Dingle has revealed today that we have been holding talks with Bournemouth centre half Josh Gowling.

Well, whoopee-doo, weren’t they reading upthesaddlers.com and their own paper last week?

Jimmy Mullen has said that the 6 foot 3 inch former Albion trainee isn’t the only centre half we have been looking at, which should come as no surprise, as we only have Anthony Gerrard and Manny Smith with any real first team experience.

New site sponsor – IC Shipping

roger6 @ 8:38 am Wednesday 11 June 2008

Upthesaddlers is delighted to announce a new site sponsor for the 2008-2009 season. For our special 10th anniversary season, I C Shipping are sponsoring the website taking over from S R Print Management who we thank for their support.

I C Shipping specialises in international freight forwarding by land, sea or air, with offices in Wednesbury and Derby. For more information see website: www.icshipping.com

Owner/Managing Director of I C Shipping, Ian Astbury (Asps to board users) said “UTS offers Walsall fans an independent platform to express their opinions and get the latest news. It is also a great portal for fans who can’t get to the matches. We are delighted to sponsor the site for the challenging season ahead.”

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Exile @ 2:24 am Wednesday 11 June 2008

An irregular roundup of football news, both Walsall and non-Walsall, to populate the front page while there’s not much going on.

Geddes signs up
Youngster Sean Geddes has put pen to paper for his final apprenticeship year, with a two year professional contract following. The talented young player had attracted interest from other bigger clubs, so his signing shows some recognition that the youth at Walsall certainly have great opportunities as well as attractive facilities and capable staff to assist their development.

Claridge caught out
Retired player Steve Claridge, whose legs went some years ago, has now also lost his wheels, for serial driving offences culminating in his attempt on the world land speed record for a Peugeot 307, where he took it North of 100mph before the boys in blue took an interest in him. His excuse that he was desperate for the toilet didn’t wash with Judge Carr, and he left the court flushed.

Wrack: “I was addicted to gambling”
Long-time Walsall midfielder Darren Wrack has spoken publically about his addiction to gambling, his tale a cautionary one for other sufferers, as he blew half a million quid and his mental health in an extended period of addiction. He’s now on the mend, but rumours that his mates have started a sweepstake on when he’ll fall off the wagon are entirely unfounded.

Transfer News
Hall and Gowling aside, a quick sweep round the usual sources reveals that there’s absolutely no speculation surrounding any player and Walsall, the Excrete and Stir instead concentrating on the virtual certainty that Phil Starbuck will be named as Mullen’s assistant in the near future. The club, meanwhile, tell us that the assistant appointment takes second place to signing players.

As ever, WFC sources are keeping their cards close to their chest for fear of alerting other, wealthier, clubs as to who we consider capable of taking us up to the Championship this year. After last year’s efforts getting the likes of Hall, Sonner, Canary and Butler, you do have to wonder why.

Jeff speaks up
Our illustrious owner, Jeff Bonser, has again made it clear that his eye is on promotion, and that Mullen has a much bigger budget this season than his predecessor. Let’s hope that the marriage of money and Mulley is a successful one, or we’ll all be crying in our beer come Spring.

Essington Councillor Looks Very Silly

Neil @ 2:22 pm Friday 06 June 2008

Essington Parish Council Chairman Cllr Clifft’s incomprehensible criticism of this site’s April Fool story

(see here:- http://upthesaddlers.com/wp/archives/2008/04/01/saddlers-moving-on-up/),

seems to have backfired on him, as he has made a starring appearance in the “WebWatch” column in the August edition of When Saturday Comes.

The Councillor’s complete lack of a sense of humour, and his apparent complete lack of knowledge of the traditions of April Fool’s Day, seem to have backfired on him this time:-

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3152/2553638897_99f41780bf_o.jpg

Bournemouth Player A Target

Neil @ 11:02 am Thursday 05 June 2008

The Excuse and Dingle are reporting that we are interested in Bournemouth defender Josh Gowling. Coventry born Gowling is a 6 foot 3 inch defender, who began his career as a trainee at the Albion, under the guidance of former Walsall star Richard O’Kelly, who was later Bournemouth’s assistant manager.

Following his release from Albion, he signed for Danish Premier Division club Herfølge Boldklub, (Now, where have I heard of them before?) making 17 appearances in 2003–04 and 13 appearances in 2004–05. He soon became disillusioned with life in Denmark, and returned to England.

He joined Bournemouth on a trial basis to begin with in the 2005 close season, and signed a one-year contract after impressing in various pre-season friendlies. He began the 2005–06 season in good form before rupturing his knee ligaments after about a minute’s play in the away match to Brentford – a serious injury that ruled him out for the rest of the season. Having gradually returned to full fitness, Gowling featured in over 30 league games during the 2006–2007 season.

He is often jokingly referred to by Bournemouth fans as “Rio”, due to his likeness to Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand.

Starbuck Is Favourite For Assistant

Neil @ 1:22 pm Tuesday 03 June 2008

The Express and Star have printed the information that has been an open secret on the message board for some time – that former Hednesford boss Phil Starbuck is likely to be named as the new manager’s assistant.

Whether this will go anyway towards meeting the doubts of fans is a very moot point. After all of the talk about the quality of the applicants for the Manager’s job being higher than ever before, we have, basically, ended up with Hednesford Town’s management structure from last year, only in reverse.

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