Poll: Where will we finish this season?

Exile @ 10:27 pm Sunday 28 July 2013

The squad appears to mostly in place, the fixtures are out and we kick off for real this weekend. You know the drill – now vote!


Where will we finish this season?
  • Upper mid table (7-12) (48%, 277 Votes)
  • Mid table mediocrity (13-20) (21%, 123 Votes)
  • Playoffs (3-6) (20%, 112 Votes)
  • In League Two (21-24) (6%, 32 Votes)
  • Automatic promotion (1st or 2nd) (5%, 29 Votes)

Total Voters: 573

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MK Dons 2-4 Walsall: Plastic Fantastic

Exile @ 10:44 pm Wednesday 26 December 2012

[update - admin wrote his post while I was waiting for a report. Never mind! Two is better than none, and it helps to rub it in just a bit...]

What a difference half a week makes. After exactly three months waiting for a three point match, we get two games, two smashing wins, and all of a sudden things look a lot better than they did.

To win away at Suicide City was the stuff of dreams, at least according to betfair and their mates, who had us up as high as 9/1 against, but the Saddlers didn’t stick to the script. In the end Franchise gave us a very welcome late present by rolling over at home and conceding four goals in one game where they’d previously conceded only five in the league all season. It’s always nice to be able to pass on the stuffing at Christmas, especially to the plastic club with no history.

New(ish) UTS regular Tracker34 was at the match, and after several celebratory ales has come up with something resembling a report – thanks mate!

4 shots on target – 4 goals!!

Certainly unexpected but well deserved – keep it going to Orient!

McCarey 6: Felt he could have done better with the second goal and wasn’t too commanding of his area today, may have been down to the wet and breezey conditions, but still not convinced he is anything better than Grof.

Purkiss 7: When Taundry was in I think we all knew that Purkiss was a superior player however I’d forgotten just how much better. Willing to get forward, able to catch defenders trying to run past him down the wing. I’ll even forgive the odd HOOF!
Butler 7: As you’d expect, won a few headers, liked a tackle, took a booking for the team…
Downing 7: You don’t really notice him on the pitch, doesn’t get much wrong which for a young defender in the early matches of his career is ok with me!
Taylor 8: Few strong tackles, few good bursts forward and some great defensive work especially considering that he had little help from Paterson infront of him.

Mantom 6: Good running performance but didn’t really do too much. A bit hesitant in closing players down in first half but improved
Chambers 8: Another great performance. I wasn’t the biggest fan of his return to the first team but has certainly justified it these last two games. Got stuck in.
Patterson 6: Don’t get me wrong it was a great finish for the goal and don’t mind a few misplaced/overhit passes on a day like this but he was unfortunately the worst in a Walsall shirt today. Certainly needs to harden up and also find a way of getting some defensive nous.
Westcarr 7: Looks like he’s starting to get a good link with Brandy going. Best I’ve seen him play for us.

Brandy 9: He seems to terrify teams, also seems to win 90% of our free kicks. Good running all game typified by his burst and trickery at the end of the game to win the free kick leading to Patersons goal. Can do a mean somersault too – worth watching the highlights for!
Grigg 9: Well he’s an international striker isn’t he!! Looked stronger today, looked confident. Didn’t see his second too well but great turn and finish for his first. Keep it up!

Cuvelier 7: Came on, looked classy when he got the ball, will be great to have him for a full 90 mins!!

Just a quick one on MK – I like the place, I like the facilities, I like the set-up, the stewards are friendly, they sell bacon rolls. It’s such a shame they are an odious club of the highest order.

Onward and upward, hopefully. Next up – Leyton Orient away.

Thanks to MK mongs for the six pointer. Can we play you every week?

Pelsall Villa 0-2 Walsall XI

Exile @ 11:33 pm Monday 23 July 2012

A Walsall XI chalked up a 2-0 victory at Pelsall Villa tonight in the first preseason friendly. Football is back, and quick off the mark was Liam Kinsella with Walsall’s first goal, followed by Kieran Morris who scored the second. Well done to all the players.

No full report – guess everyone is out celebrating this first win of the season!

Tom Bender – best wishes

Exile @ 12:22 am Wednesday 05 October 2011

On behalf of all our regulars and readers, UTS offers its best wishes to Tom Bender, his family, friends and football colleagues after his injury in tonight’s game at Accrington Stanley.

Colchester 2-0 Walsall

Exile @ 9:44 am Tuesday 22 February 2011

An away defeat that didn’t feel so bad? Paradox? No, a measure of the way we’ve become a club transformed since Hutchings was given the heave-ho just in time to join his old mate Jewell. Fans have become pragmatic instead of suicidal, and the effort is plain for all to see.

UTS regular Stu made a last-minute decision to go to Colchester. Albatross. He made these comments on the message board, and if you click the following link you too can have your say, once you log in or register

Well, back home now having made a spur of the moment decision to go about 12.30…

A little disappointing in the sense that we offered nothing going forward really. One of those occasions when we could have played for 90 weeks and not scored, let alone 90 minutes. Lots of nice approach play at times, but we had no idea how to then create a chance… It was good positions down the flank and poor balls in or nobody to aim for, or it was just given away in the middle of the park.

This is going to sound strange, we didn’t play too badly, but to be honest, we could have lost 5 or 6 quite easily. Walker made 3 good saves, they missed a sitter from 6 yards after 2 minutes, Lancashire flicked a header onto the inside of his own post and twice they went around Walker only to see Butler and then Gill clear off the line. They seemed to cruise around in 3rd gear for 90 minutes, yet still had the skill, guile and movement to carve us open at times.

For me, the balance of the team was wrong again. Taundry might run around, he might be a little terrier but he has no output or quality to his play, but putting him on the right wing is just soft as he continually comes inside. I lost count of the number of times Westlake had the ball with no option in front of him but to hoik it 20/30 yards down the flank or come back inside. On a big pitch like that, it was crying out for two traditional wingers, I was hoping to see Grigg or Price come on for Taundry and move Nicholls to the right flank for some pace.

The ref was poor, but we can’t blame him for the result, as said, they could have had 5, 6 or 7 today. The first goal was contenious in that Butler was claiming a goal kick, but the Ref gave a corner. He didn’t seem to protest too much though. Corner came in, fell loose, Macken got half a clearance on it but nobody picked up their bloke on the edge of the box who rifled it in. I can’t comment on the penalty and I don’t think any Walsall fan can really, it was 70/80 yards away from us on the opposite side, however we can comment on the fact that the entire Walsall team were absolutely livid with the Linesman for giving it. For me, the players reaction was more than enough to say it must have been a poor decision and I base my decision on that.

Started out 4-4-2, appeared to go 4-3-1-2 in the 2nd half with Gray taking up a very central role behind the front two. I think that was a mistake personally, as we became really congested and no real outlet on either flank to get around the back, and we didn’t have the pace or creativity to carve them open through the middle.

Walker – Super game, made 3/4 quality blokes from angled 1v1s and a superb 2nd half save from a pull back.
Westlake – Decent game, looked solid, got caught out a couple of times but bearing in mind he had nobody in front of him at times, its not surprising.
Lescott – Okay, not great, not awful.
Lancashire – Okay, not great, not awful
Butler – MOTM, the bloke is a brick wall. Sensational goal line clearance in the 2nd half, this bloke should be signed up now and be captaining this team next season.
Taundry – Poor, sorry. He might be a Walsall lad, he might run a lot and chase and harry, but there is no quality or output in his play. Sort of reminds me of a young Dean Keates, headless chicken at times, but without Keates’ quality.
Richards – Used the ball nicely, but faded as the match went on.
Gill – Shame that we’re losing him, lots of energy although, gets around the pitch, uses the ball well. Fantastic goal line clearance in the 2nd half when he clattered into the post in the process
Gray – Good first half I though, hugged the touchline, used the ball well, tried to get to the flank but nothing really to aim for. Didn’t do much in a central position in the 2nd half
Macken – This bloke gets so much stick, but he holds a ball up well. Just as he did on Tuesday, if he doesn’t hold it up, our forward play doesn’t exist. Struggled more today, was manhandled by their centre half for 90 minutes, but again, had very little support and Nicholls couldn’t read what Macken wanted.
Nicholls – Pretty anonymous I’m afraid. Doesn’t seem to read balls or runs.

Subs:
Marshall – Anonymous
Grigg – Tried, but little success and little impact
Price – lol, the only footballer I’ve seen who seems to go backwards when he runs, the lack of pace is shocking, like Grigg, tried but little success and even less impact.

Sometimes you just have to put your hands up and admit you were beaten by a better side, today was one of those days. Could have been a lot worse, could have been 5, 6 or 7 which would have crushed morale. So, just chalk this one off and move on to the next episode of the Great Escape

PS: Chicken Balti pie was bloody awfull, worst I’ve ever tasted

Thanks, Stu. Anyone reading this far will have noticed your Bescot plug in the last line.

Tranmere 3-3 Walsall

Exile @ 7:54 pm Monday 10 January 2011

The sacking of Chris Hutchings brought a small change of fortune as Walsall managed to come back from the depths against a poor Tranmere side who thought they’d done enough to win over 85 minutes and forgot that a f ootball match lasts 90. Still, one point is better than none as we look to arrest our appalling run of form and turn it into something decent enough to give us at least a chance of survival. UTS regular The Red Prince was at the match:

Whilst we were a bit unlucky with the own goal, and their 3rd when Butler was down injured, apart from the last 10 mins we were crud!

We were trying hoofball against a big, physical Tranmere side, and I don’t think the players knew where they were supposed to be (Variously Nicholls, Paterson, Jones and Grigg were playing the wings).

However, when Gray came on we became more balanced, with Nicholls back on the right and Grigg up front with Macken, this, combined with a change to playing along the ground seemed to work wonders and the lucky 2nd goal gave us a real lift, and you always knew the 3rd was coming. Richards could even have won it in the dying seconds.

As for the team:

Bevan: Looked much more solid than Brain (that said, so does a paper bag), couldn’t really do much for the 3 goals, but could do with a bit of work on his kicking. Also has a lovely beard.
Westlake: Got turned a few times but got a few tackles in.
Lescott: Sunday League footballer
Smith: Managed to keep Showumni fairly shackled.
Butler: Distribution was a bit patchy but showed some class
Paterson: Seemed to be playing on the left at first, which really didn’t suit him, switched to the right which didn’t either. Tried to take on his man and failed most of the time – needs to be judged in his proper position though.
Jones: Ineffective
Marshall: Poor at taking corners, sweet shot as we pushed for the equaliser which was well saved by Warner, but didn’t look up to it.
Richards: MOTM; Industrious, took his goal well, maybe wouldn’t have scored the OG if he had hair on his slap bonce.
Nicholls: Fairly anonymous, tried a couple of shots but not much else.
Macken: Had no chance with the hoofs played to him against Goodison, much better when Goodison went off – he held the ball up much better when passed to feet.

Subs:

Grigg: Looks promising, showed some good touches.
Gray: Balanced the midfield out.

Lets hope the change of play in the last 10 mins, and confidence it created can be carried over to Tuesday. We can play well when passing it around (we seemed to control the ball much better too) and we have a keeper we can be more confident in, however unless we start getting wins it may be too little, too late.

TRP’s comments regarding our comparative success playing football instead of hoofball have been echoed by many other fans over the season – we have a team that can play OK when they’re allowed to and when they put their minds to it – here’s hoping they can believe in themselves enough over the rest of the season to continue to do so.

Leyton Orient 0-0 Walsall: Groundhog Day

Exile @ 3:03 am Wednesday 29 September 2010

After close on 20 games without a clean sheet and 6 consecutive defeats, you’d think that a 0-0 draw away from home would steady the nerves, stop the rot, lead toward a bright future, etc. etc., wouldn’t you? I suggest the answer is no. There’s still a lot to do and blagging 0-0 against a team considered as a relegation candidate on the same night Carlisle put 4 unanswered goals past the side that beat us on Saturday rams it home.


0-0 at Leyton is...
  • a fluke result on the road to relegation (74%, 177 Votes)
  • a welcome turning point (26%, 62 Votes)

Total Voters: 239

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UTS regular saddlersam was at the game, and sums it up by phone on the way home, such is his dedication. Paragraphs and spacing are by the editor:

Not a great performance at all but not quite as bad as some will make out.

We just couldn’t get the ball on the deck at all, choosing to (as usual) smash it down the line to anyone daft enough to chase it. We seemed fairly up for it to start with but Orient were able to pass it round us far too comfortably at times, too much time and space on the ball. Same problems, different game.

Brain was a lot better than he has been. Got lucky with his ‘kick ‘n’ slip’ but made a terrific finger tip save over the bar midway through the second half.

Lescott gave far too much space away and McGivern’s crossing still hasn’t improved although some of his overlapping was better tonight.

Lancashire was fairly solid but there’s no communication between himself and Smith. That’s the inexperience showing for me.

Nicholls was poor on the right. He may not be a winger but he just doesn’t do anything to grab his chance. He has pace he doesn’t use and no strength whatsoever.

Richards was having to clean up an awful lot of wayward balls and Gray did some fantastic defensive work during the second half.

Davis would certainly put his foot in but never win that second ball.

Upfront I can definitely understand Reid and Macken’s frustrations, no service from the start, nothing was sticking and the latter showed it by clattering their defender early on. Was very late indeed.

On a positive note, we seemed to come alive slightly once Grigg came on and he seemed to unnerve the Orient defence in the closing stages.1 shot on target though is very poor but i’ll take the point after our recent run of poor form.

We made as much noise in the away end as we could really and regardless of the result both Hutchings and Mart have to go. I’d still feel that way had we nicked it. Apologies if this is a ramble, i’ve typed it up on my phone.

It would appear that the current injuries are causing problems as senior players remain out of the side. What might also be causing problems is the manager’s unwillingness to change what has been a losing team. Grigg, for example, as has been pointed out in the match thread here has played more for his country than his club, and this continues a longstanding Walsall tradition of being too scared to play the kids, even when it is patently obvious that the first choice team isn’t cutting the mustard. Is this poor play or poor management?

The big question remains – does a point away at Leyton constitute the turning point in what has been the worst start to a season in Walsall’s modern history or is it just a pause in a long litany of poor football? The disappointment in Leyton demonstrated here would suggest the latter.

Walsall vs MK Dons – a call to arms part 3

Exile @ 6:50 am Saturday 08 May 2010

Sorry for the delay – been doing some business and out of town, but finally got some time to fire up the laptop.

Why go to the Banks’s this weekend? Now it’s the chance to show your support for the Supporters Trust and the Club – our team!

This weekend the Trust are asking Walsall fans to turn up and show off by wearing retro Walsall tops for the game, the older the better. Of course, MK Dons fans can only muster a few different patterns since being founded in 2004, whereas our history unfolds over more than 120 years.

So, if you love Walsall, turn up wearing your favourite old top and make some noise this weekend. Support the club and the Trust by showing you’ve been a fan for years, decades even, and that you believe Walsall FC has a future as well as a history.

It’s our season closer, with nothing else now before preseason. If you can, get to the stadium and get behind the lads.

The Customer Is Not Always Right

Exile @ 8:30 pm Thursday 08 April 2010

The title of this piece is a rehash of an old maxim. I’ve always thought it wrong – Successful businesses know that the customer is NOT always right, contrary to popular belief.

Take Walsall FC for example. With over 3000 regular, repeat customers, just over half whom have already signed up to be repeat customers for another 12 months, there’ll be 3,000 opinions. The customer can’t always be right. Bonser in or out? Bonser saved the club or killed the club? Each fan has a different take on this, so they’re not right.

So, if you know your customer is not always right, what’s to be done?

You don’t alienate your most passionate, loyal and long-suffering regulars by suddenly announcing in the local press that if they complain they’ll be ejected from the premises. It’s a natural reaction to try to marginalise any dissenting opinion but crushing protest with threats of banning is not a way forward if you want to succeed.

A business should be asking itself how this protest came about, why it evolved into what it did, what might be done to make it go away and whether it might be constructively good for business if harnessed effectively. Yes, many of the customers might not be protesting vocally, but there’s many whose silent protest bears witness every match in the form of empty seats.

Customers that speak up and show discontent, while still turning up to consume the product, thereby providing revenue, are surely more valuable than those who have already walked away? Silencing them is forcing them down the same path. Result: Less customers. Less revenue.

The customer is not always right, but the customer should always, ALWAYS, be listened to.

Jeff Bonser – an apology

Exile @ 10:28 pm Wednesday 16 December 2009

It seems many of us supporters have done Uncle Jeff some great disservice over the years, and now stand corrected on the strength of the great man’s interview with journalist Brian Halford in the outstanding local newspaper, the Birmingham Mail.

Apparently Jeff’s pension fund doesn’t own the freehold to the land our club stadium sits on, as it’s owned by Suffolk Life. Our humblest apologies to Mr. Bonser.

How could we have known that when the annual accounts state that rent is paid to the Trustees of the JW Bonser (Walsall) Limited Self-Adminstered Pension Scheme what was meant is that rent is paid to Suffolk Life? Sorry.

What were we to think when those same accounts tell us that one of the trustees of this Scheme is a JW Bonser but obviously meant to state that Suffolk Life owned the land? Sorry.

How could we possibly have known that, when JW Bonser bought the land but used a SIPP as a tax shelter for it, he didn’t in fact buy the land because Suffolk Life had bought it? Sorry.

When Roy Whalley recently made public overtures about Walsall Council buying the land we couldn’t possibly have thought that he was trying to sell something in which his Chairman had no financial interest as it was owned by Suffolk Life, could we? Sorry.

Our sincerest apologies for any inconvenience caused to Jeff. We must now acknowledge that we were wrong, and accept that all along, the land wasn’t owned by his pension fund, but, as he says, Suffolk Life.

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