Archive for July, 2008

Ex Everton Man To Sign?

Neil @ 10:28 am Tuesday 29 July 2008

The Excuse and Dingle is reporting that we are about to offer a 12 month contract to former Everton and Plymouth striker Nick Chadwick.

Chadwick was one of Everton’s promising youngsters back in 2001 to 2005 and made a few first team appearances. He made four starts in the League and the League Cup and 17 substitute appearances, scoring a creditable 6 goals in the process.

He also had loan spells at Derby (4 starts, 2 sub, 0 goals) and Millwall (11 starts, 4 sub, 4 goals), before finally moving to Plymouth in 2005 for a quarter of a million.

His time down in the South West has been an injury ravaged nightmare, as he managed just 53 starts and 30 sub appearances, with 10 goals, in two and a half seasons.

He is a 6 foot, imposing centre forward, who would be well worth the gamble, despite his recent injury problems.


Michael Ricketts Signs!

Neil @ 7:24 am Friday 25 July 2008

The identity of the “mystery striker” we have been negotiating with was revealed by the Manager last night at the “Meet the Manager” evening. Love him or hate him (and there seems to be nothing in between), we have re-signed old boy Michael Ricketts.

The one England cap wonder has always had a love hate relationship with fans, ever since he was perceived as not giving his all as a youngster, prior to his big money move to Bolton. His record for the North West club was exemplary, scoring the goals that got them promoted and also running up a fair few in the Premiership (one memorable example being at Highbury) and that gained him his one and only England call up from Sven against Holland.

Once he was sold to Middlesboro, however, his career has been on a downward spiral, with a poor spell at Leeds, then a disastrous one at Southend. He seemed to be getting his act in order, however, during a loan spell at Preston at the back end of the season before last and, after moving to Oldham, came to us on loan last season, during our most successful weeks of the 2007/8 season and played a large part in the teams success at that time.

What was obvious last year is that, despite everything, he was a class above this division, giving central defenders nightmares, and it was a real disappointment when we couldn’t come to an arrangement with him (or, more likely, his agent) in January.

Fans have been looking for a “headline signing” in the close season and Michael Ricketts certainly fits the bill and cold be the catalyst for the side to really spark in the coming season.

Another ex Everton Youngster of Interest

Neil @ 12:12 pm Thursday 24 July 2008

Amongst the various other trialists lining up for the Saddlers’ 3 – 2 win at Stafford last night was another former Everton youngster – Nick Chadwick.

The 25 year old came up through the ranks at the Toffees, but never quite made the grade, making just three starts and eleven sub appearances. He did, however, manage three goals for them in that time.

He had loan spells at Derby (4 appearances, 2 as sub, no goals) and at Millwall (twice). At the Lions, he made a total of 11 starts and 4 sub appearances, scoring 4 times.

Eventually, he was bought by Plymouth Argyle for 250,000 in February 2005. He has suffered injury problems in his three and a half years there, making just 53 starts and 29 sub appearances, scoring just 10 times.

He is six foot and has been described as a hard working centre forward, but with a strike rate that is hardly prolific. Most of his career, of course, has been spent at a higher level and that could be very different in the third tier.

The Blender 220708

Exile @ 12:57 am Tuesday 22 July 2008

In this selection of dregs from the bottom of the internet tea urn we bring some fascinating mystical predictions about Walsall FC.

Club Owns Stadium!
In his now regular press utterings, Bonser was wheeled out by the club to ambush the local papers with some absolutely sensational news. Walsall FC now owns it’s own stadium! Speaking to the Express & Dogpoo, Uncle Jeff, the illustrious and august owner of our beloved club, managed to state that traditionally we’ve played a pre-season frinedly against Villa “ever since we’ve owned the stadium“! It must be true – we read it in black and white. The only other explanation is that with board-member Peter Gilman’s offspring marrying into the royal family, Bonser was using the Royal ‘We’. That or the paper got it wrong.

Pre-season friendly change!
Apparently we’ve ditched the Wolves in favour of a match against Birmingham. It must be true – it was mentioned by Mr. Bonser in the paper! Anyone knowing the time or date, please contact Jeff so he can open up our stadium for the hordes of adoring faithful to attend this great event.

No New Signings!
Since Zaaboub signed on his very own no-more-independence day, July 4, we’ve not had a signing, although apparently a (shock! horror!) transfer bid for Russell Penn was turned by the Harriers – who thought we must be kiddy-ing. Still, not to worry, as there’s plenty of time before the season starts, Our Lord and Master, Jeff Bonser (who else?), stated on July 18 that he expects at least 3 new faces within 7-10 days, and as it’s in the paper, it’s gotta be a fact. In our very own ‘Countdown’ we’ll check each day to see who’s turned up between Jul 18 and 28. It’s easy so far – nobody. We’ll probably have none from the top and three from the bottom, please, Carol.

So, that’s about all for now. We’ve trailed media guru Jeff Bonser round the traps and brought the best we could find. No comment at all on the training ground being a massive draw card for the crowd of new players falling over themselves to sign for us.

Do You Want To Tell Your Story?

Neil @ 10:55 am Friday 18 July 2008

As part of the “Walsall Til I Die” book project, the club have set up some story telling sessions for supporters who do not have access to email or the internet to make their contributions to the book.

Sue Lane, study centre manager at Walsall FC will welcome groups to the study support centre at the Banks’s Stadium for three story-gathering sessions. These sessions will take place before the three home pre-season friendlies on Tuesday July 22nd, Tuesday July 29th and Tuesday August 5th and will run between 4pm and 7pm.

There will be a supporters’ trust presence at the first of these sessions and the centre can cope with 25 people but if we have a few more we can possibly spill into a side room. Please bring along family members who might want to make a contribution, this is a family-friendly project! Contributors in other titles have ranged from 7 to 107. We especially need you to spread the word to those who don’t have internet or email and who may be prepared to make a contribution.

Another Orient Striker Target?

Neil @ 10:49 am Monday 14 July 2008

The Express and Star transfer rumour page this morning says that we are looking at another striker release by Orient – Efe Echanomi.

The 5 foot 8 Nigerian born forward is still only 21, but failed to make the breakthrough at Orient, despite early promise, after missing out a vast chunk of his time at the club with a broken leg.

He only ever made five starts for the Os, but was a sub 34 times, scoring 8 times.

The Annual Darren Byfield Rumour

Neil @ 1:14 pm Monday 07 July 2008

Well, according to the Express and Star, there may be something actually in it this season.

The local Dingle supporting rag says that there is a chance that we might be singing our former star, who was released by Bristol City at the end of last season.

Apart from the attractions of having the possible presemnce of his lovely lady wife at the Banks’s, this would be welcome news in another way. Although the four signings so far have been of reasonable quality, Byfield’s possible return would be a headline signing – one the club badly needs.

The Blender 070708

Exile @ 4:25 am Monday 07 July 2008

More non-news to keep the front page looking busier than a Strasbourg Restaurant on European Parliament opening night….

Preseason Friendlies Start this week!
Friday sees a Walsall XI visit Bloxwich United for the first pre-season workout for our new squad. Keen fans will attend to play the annual “guess what country that triallist came from” game in what is certain to be a game of two halves.

Saturday sees another Walsall XI (but how many different triallists?) take on Hednesford at their place. How many Saddlers fans will travel to this, given the clash with the Midlands OAP players’ tournament? Is it a case of Master vs Apprentice?

Season Tickets Available Now
If you didn’t know already, STs are now available for collection as well as purchase. Full details on the official site and we hope that, if you’ve thought about it but not already committed to a season following the Saddlers, you’ll get down to the Stadium or town centre shop and sign up for another season of purgatory.

New Replica Kit On Sale
There’s a bleached blonde saddler advertising the new kits on the official site. I can’t work out how to add pictures, so we’ll just post the news that replica kits are available now if you want to buy one, and by all accounts the shirts are nowhere near as naff as last year’s efforts. The away kit especially is a real hit.

Wrack Off To Kettering
Darren Wrack’s landed himself a slot at Kettering, apparently with the proviso that if a league club comes knocking he’s free to talk. We wish him well, and hope that the move from Walsall does him the power of good as he continues to put his life back together. Interestingly, The Poppies have also been linked with Ian Roper – another case of ‘from Ker-ching to Kettering’ as the payscales change between leagues.

Physio Speaks – No Hiding Place!
Our physio Jon Whitney is the latest victim of supporters’ questions on the official site. We recommend you visit there to read his answers about how blades have no place at Walsall and why no unfit players will be signed under his watch (any more).

That’s all for now – keep an eye on the messageboards for all sorts of rubbish rumours on future signings.

Ex Swindon Man Joins

Neil @ 9:49 am Friday 04 July 2008

Again, the rumour mill on UTS has proved correct as the fourth (and possibly best) signing of the summer has been announced – former Swindon Town French left winger Sofiene Zaaboub.

Zaaboub was one of the few wingers to give Rhys Weston a hard time last season and this is a very welcome signing indeed.

The 6 foot winger is notorious for his habit of wearing gloves no matter what the weather, but don’t underestimate him, as he was interesting Championship Blackpool.

Prior to joining Swindon he played for ASA Montereau, AS Saint-Étienne, Modena F.C., Sora, Real Jaén, FC Brussels.

Zaaboub was Paul Sturrock’s first signing as Town manager and signed on a short term deal in November 2006 after leaving FC Brussels, just a few days after Sturrock had arrived at the club. Prior to joining Swindon he had many trials at higher-level clubs – including Córdoba C.F., Preston North End, Swansea City, Plymouth Argyle, Luton Town, Dundee and FC Metz, but his longest trial was at Sturrock’s former club Sheffield Wednesday.

In January 2006 Zaaboub signed a contract extension to keep him at Swindon until the end of the 2007/2008 season, after impressing Swindon fans and management alike on the left side of midfield

Ishmel may find it a little difficult getting a first team place on the left wing if this man plays to his potential.

Ibehre, Mattis sign up

Exile @ 8:38 pm Thursday 03 July 2008

As reported earlier, both Jabo Ibehre and Dwayne Mattis have signed on the dotted line for Walsall.

Jabo Ibehre put pen to paper on a one year deal. This could be to demonstrate that he’s the big, quick, strong forward we need to spark with the proven goalscorer still needed, or, should we gain promotion, enables us to offload a player who may be out of his depth in the Championship.

Dwayne Mattis, who had impressed on loan from Barnsley last season, signs for two years and should feature heavily in our campaigns over this period as he returns from his unforunate legbreak.

The two players are both on the right side of 30 and experienced in the English game, something of a departure from the norm for the Saddlers summer selection box. UTS wishes them both well in their endeavours this season. Good luck, lads!

UTS: Sometimes first with the rumours

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