Archive for June, 2010

Hutchings gets Brain

Exile @ 9:11 pm Wednesday 30 June 2010

Chris Hutchings today made his second Summer signing, saving keeper Jonny Brain from his annual relegation dogfight at Macclesfield.
Not our new keeper

Brain is a 27 year-old who has done the hard yards for four years with the silkmen, moving there from Port Vale, where he had a mixed time tussling with Goodlad for the #1 jersey.

He’s not a stranger to Bescot – he played against Walsall in the opening day of the 2004/05 season, where Vale lost 3-2 (beaten by Fryatt, Williams and Taylor). McKinney was our keeper that day.


Cheapskate Oldham look to move game

Exile @ 9:52 pm Tuesday 29 June 2010

The Easter bank holiday Monday game against Oldham is looking a bit dicey. The Latics have looked at moving it to the Tuesday, for no other reason than that policing costs go up on a bank holiday.

Here’s a tip for them – try doing a cost benefit analysis based on a sparse Tuesday night crowd compared to a bumper bank holiday crowd.

If you can’t afford to police your own ground you’ve got money issues, really. Perhaps if they budgeted properly they’d be able to cope.

Luckily the moves have been quietly sidelined after some of their fans emailed to complain, so hopefully this article will give them the (unofficial) Walsall viewpoint too, to take into consideration before they make their final decision. Bank holiday games are special, and not to be messed with.

Hughes Off Down Under

Neil @ 12:18 pm Monday 28 June 2010

Walsall are looking for cover at centre back, as Mark Hughes, for some unknown reason, decided Australia was preferable to a Walsall winter.

The Skipper signed Contract Acceptance Forms with The Saddlers last week, as the Express and Star (and UTS) had reported he was going to, before receiving an offer from the Hyundai A-League outfit Queensland Fury. Following discussions between the player and Saddlers’ boss, Chris Hutchings, it was agreed that a move away from the Banks’s Stadium would be in the best interest of both club and player.

“Mark contacted me late last week regarding an offer he had received from Australia,” explained Hutchings. “We spoke at length about the move and agreed to go our separate ways. Mark feels that this is an opportunity he wants to pursue and we will not stand in his way”.

It’s likely that Smith and MacDonald would have been the first choice centreback paring this season anyway, but this means we are left with no experienced cover for them, other than Jamie Vincent. The fact that he has no cover at left back means that reinforcements are necessary.

Germany 4-1 England: Not celebrities, just losers

Exile @ 10:32 pm Sunday 27 June 2010

England crash out of a major tournament again. The repetition is becoming rather dull, the reality much more distressing. There’s a lot going on on the messageboards at the moment and you can talk about it here.

What have we just witnessed? The car crash that Premier League football has brought to the national game, that’s what. It’s been summarised better elsewhere, but in a nutshell we’ve got a bunch of overpaid prima donnas, playing for clubs that are too wealthy, in a country that has a billion pound national stadium but no youth programme or facilities, overseen by a press that overhypes and sensationalises everything in a quest for readers rather than truth.

Will Capello hang around? Can the FA afford to get rid, even if they wanted to? Pity the next manager, if one can be found to take up that particular poisoned chalice, as the weight of expectation will crush any life out of the reality that is English football. The manager can only play with what he has available. With a team with no apparent depth, little world class skill, no youth programme comparable to other nations and especially, no future, what can he do. If this is the golden generation, then all the gold is in their bank vaults. It’s one thing to earn millions playing for a club stuffed full of international stars, but another to wear your heart on your sleeve and play for your country.

For this England team, this manager, this set-up and this authority (FA and EPL), it’s clear that they’ve been weighed, measured and found wanting on every level.


Hughes about to Re-Sign?

Neil @ 12:47 pm Monday 21 June 2010

The Excuse and Dingle are claiming that another of the out of contract players, skipper Mark Hughes, is about to sign a new contract at the Banks’s.

Hughes was one of eight players offered new terms at the end of last season and is expected to commit ahead of the start of pre-season training next Thursday.

The centre-back arrived on a free from Northampton last summer and made 28 appearances, scoring once, but saw his campaign disrupted thanks to two red cards against Colchester and Huddersfield in March and April respectively.

He struggled to break up the partnership of Manny Smith and Clayton McDonald but returned for the final two games of the season as the Saddlers finished 10th in League One.

Hughes, a former Everton trainee, joins Richard Taundry, Alex Nicholls, Will Grigg, Jamie Vincent and Darryl Westlake in penning new deals. Former Manchester City midfielder Paul Marshall has also joined and Chris Hutchings is “ready to move in the transfer market”, the paper claims.

Julian Gray and Rene Gilmartin are yet to sign the deals on the table for them, but with pre-season starting next Thursday they are expected to reveal their hands sooner rather than later.

Happy Birthday Uncle Jeff!

Exile @ 9:49 am Thursday 17 June 2010

Shouldn’t let this pass without comment. Uncle Jeff is 65 today! Happy birthday, Mr. Bonser. Congratulations on reaching retirement age.

2010/11 Fixtures

Exile @ 9:25 am Thursday 17 June 2010

Fixtures now available on the official site here. No posting on UTS or we’ll get nailed by the fun police.

We start off the way we finished last season, as the plastic club get to leave their concrete cows behind and come to Walsall again. We get Brighton away for the August Bank Holiday seaside trip (fast becoming a fixture in it’s own right!), get to go to Bristol Rovers for Boxing Day and host Notts County for that bumper New Year bonanza. Easter sees Sheffield Wednesday visit us, while we finish at Southampton.

I’m not liking the look of our run-in, with the last 4 being Sheffield Wendies, Oldham, Charlton and Southampton. Still, that’s an age away so who cares! The start looks good, with Brentford, Plymouth, Brighton and Colchester coming up.

Tranmere in the Carling Cup

roger6 @ 11:39 am Wednesday 16 June 2010

The first round draw was made earlier today, and the Saddlers will play Tranmere in the week of August 9th. League fixtures are announced tomorrow at 9am.

Vincent Becomes Latest Signing

Neil @ 10:53 am Wednesday 16 June 2010

Veteran left back Jamie Vincent has become the latest in a sudden flurry of signings, as he has signed a one year extension to his contract.

With a defence so young as to consists mainly of foetuses next season (Westlake, Smith and MacDonald are the first choices at the moment), this is an important signing, as the Manager points out himself:

“Jamie’s experience is key. We have a relatively young squad, so it important to have a player of Jamie’s experience on board. He had an excellent season last time around, culminating in him picking up the Players Player of the Season Award”.

The squad is taking some shape, following the arrival of Paul Marshall yesterday, with the flanks now being the area of some concern. That could be relieved if Gray signs his contract offer.

Marshall Amped To Sign For Walsall

Exile @ 11:17 pm Tuesday 15 June 2010

Ex Man City youngster Paul Marshall is Walsall’s first new signing of the Summer, having put his pawprint on a contract for 12 months today.

20 year-old Paul came through the City youth set-up since joining at age 11, and has played for Man City Reserves, with loan spells at Blackpool, Port Vale and Aberdeen. He’s also been to a World Cup, with the England U20 squad in Cairo last year.

Marshall is a 6’1″ left-footed midfielder, and has been played in the middle and on the wing. 20 senior appearances have seen him score one goal – a free kick. He’s confident he can do the business, and apparently is pretty comfortable on the ball. Let’s hope so!

Welcome to Walsall, Paul!

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