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.

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Walsall ‘Til I Don’t

Exile @ 8:51 pm Thursday 23 December 2010

A new publication was this week being sent to people at the heart of the club – its managers and board of directors, and select media contacts.

Walsall ‘Til I Don’t is the result of an idea that evolved on the UTS messageboards only a few weeks ago, but with the swift actions of many interested fans and the hard work of our editing team, the physical edition hit the desks of the rich and famous only five weeks after the first discussion.

Containing the heartfelt thoughts of many fans, some who stayaway, others who are considering , and yet more who still go to matches, the underlying message is that all these fans, some with histories of decades with the club, no longer feel the same way. Alienation is a terrible thing, and every fan in Walsall ‘Til I Don’t wanted to make that statement in a way that ought to make the club sit up and take notice, if not action.

Interested fans can read or download the book online here on UptheSaddlers (PDF file)

This is not the sort of Christmas book that Jeff Bonser will relish reading. Thanks to all fans who shared their story, and to UTS regulars Whitti Steve, Pedagogue and King Crimson for their time editing, collating, printing and distribution.

Club Determined To Bury Head In Sand

Exile @ 9:27 pm Monday 04 October 2010

UTS today thanks the Walsall Chief Executive, Stefan Gamble, for assuring fans that the club is determined to reinforce the recent run of form by throwing some money at the playing side to strengthen an adequate team while not addressing why the season is so off track.

UTS is obviously disappointed with the start to the season, much more so than Chris and the trapdoor team. UTS hopes sincerely that things are being done behind the scenes to turn things round, and that the funds that are available are for one new face to replace two old ones before Saturday’s fixture.

UTS remains patient, and appreciates the thanks of the club for this, but would prefer to see results on the pitch.

Shuffleboard: Walsall Gamble on Stefan, Leigh

Exile @ 9:30 pm Sunday 11 July 2010

Stefan Gamble, previously financial director, has ben named as Roy Whalley’s replacement as Walsall’s Chief Executive going forward. Roy himself will take a backseat role and concentrate on his duties as commercial director, generating off-field income. As Roy’s angling for a quiet departure, this little reshuffle should come as no surprise to Saddlers regulars. Stefan’s a beanie by trade and his financial acumen will hopefully suit the club in maximising it’s position based on income available from all sources.

One welcome surprise (to most) was the appointment of life-long Saddler Leigh Pomlett to the board. Leigh’s been a fan for 40 years, and his work experience in transport, freight and logistics should have given him a few well-connected contacts throughout Europe. UTS understands he’s been a F2G-based supporter so he’s familiar with some of the more (ahem) rough and tumble fans and their views on the running of the club.

These appointments mark a sea change in Walsall’s management. Last time a director was appointed the announcement was kept under wraps but this time the club’s been upfront, and even better, the director is a Walsall fan with no ties to Leeds-based development consortiums.

One thing that the three have in common is an appreciation of how important fans are to a football club:

Roy Whalley on attendance:
“How far this club goes depends on how many supporters come,”

Stefan Gamble on attendance:
“It’s top of the list. We have to engage our supporter base and that is one of the things we will address from the outset. If we can get them back it doesn’t guarantee us a better season, but it certainly helps.

Leigh Pomlett:
“I’ve been a Walsall supporter for over 40 years.”

Perhaps one of the first things these three could agree on in the brave new world of Walsall FC would be that silencing fans who are critical of some aspects of the club might not be in everyone’s best interests. While one has had his ban rescinded, it would be nice of others were to be treated the same way, having been summarily excluded for the same “crime”. Neil can attend matches next season, now it would be nice if it were confirmed that Darren and Wayne were accorded the same treatment. Fresh season, fresh start, please, Walsall. Let’s have some perspective.

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