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.
Walsall slumped at home to their 4th defeat in 5 games this season, a 1-0 loss to Colchester. Word on the match thread here is that there were two poor sides on the go and Walsall contrived to lose the game rather than Colchester win through superiority.
4 defeats in 5 - who is most to blame?
The manager (44%, 159 Votes)
The board (24%, 85 Votes)
The players (19%, 67 Votes)
The fans for not turning up (13%, 49 Votes)
Total Voters: 360
Chester Saddler gave a decent summary with little vitriol, so here it is:
My first live match this season, having listened to the previous games on Sadsworld.
A pretty uneventful game, I thought, which neither team did enough to deserve all three points.
First half, Colchester passed the ball better and caused numerous problems down our left hand side. Whether that was entirely the fault of Lescott, or a lack of support from midfield, I don’t know. Apart from one save from Richard’s free kick, their ‘keeper had very little to keep him occupied.
Second half was better from Walsall, but I always felt we would need to score 2 to win, as we looked very open to the counter attack, and so it proved. The ball travelled a long way in the air for the goal. I believe that Brain and the defenders would not have been happy with conceding from what appeared to be a speculative cross.
Having been toothless in the first half, I feel that we should have converted at least one of the Byfield chances, which had we done so, would have given us a deserved point against a pretty run of the mill opponent.
Richards was our best player by some distance. He was involved in virtually all our attacking play and seemed to be the only midfield player who was competent in his defensive duties.
Westlake played well, making two or three important last ditch tackles and was willing to pass the ball on the ground occasionally, which obviously caught the attention of the match sponsors.
Patterson made a promising full debut.
Brain looked nervous (not helped his indecision in the first couple of minutes, or by the ironic cheering from behind the goal when he caught the next cross)
Gray’s body language was all wrong today and it showed in his performance.
The rest were pretty so-so.
So, in summary, disappointed with the performance, the result, and particularly the attendance.
This game wasn’t a season-breaker, regardless of how some of our more excitable messageboard posters see it, nor was it the calamity that it could appear to be just looking at the scoresheet.
After 5 league games, we’ve won 2, lost 3, and the ones we’ve lost could be converted to draws or victories once our young, inexperienced team learns a little more about each others’ capabilities. After our manager took last seasons’ ‘new’ team (rebuild compulsory every Summer, don’t forget) to 10th, this season we’re leaning a lot more toward youth, and with the right backing from the fans, this squad could go places, if it’s given time.
Getting on their backs at the first opportunity is not a good look, and neither is shouting for the manager’s head just because we’re losing. Remember, in the 2007/2008 season we started awfully, waited till mid-September for our first win, and then from the end of September went on an unbeaten run that lasted till mid-January.
This is a young squad that needs backing for confidence. Add to that the financial worries surrounding the club and it’s pretty obvious that the club needs all the support it can get, regardless of who is at the top. As priestley_saddler said on the match thread, let’s change one thing at a time. First, let’s change the attitude that says shouting about everything is right. Support the team first, then see what we can influence. We’re supposed to be on their side.
Colchester are this week’s league guests at the Banks’s and Hutch and the lads are hoping that they won’t find the going as easy as Chesterfield appeared to on Tuesday. Still, this is the league, not a cup knockout, so there’s everything to play for points-wise.
Colchester are only one league place above us, on goal difference, but unbeaten so far, with three draws and a win (Rochdale) under their belts. A quick trawl of the internet reveals precious little about John Ward’s boys, as their official site is slower and worse than ours, with it’s full quota of betting adverts and a promo for a Bee Gees Tribute Night (snigger).
Hutch will probably send out the side that started on Tuesday, although there may be some temptation to tinker with our two-goals-a-game defence a little.
So, with Colcehseter scoring against everyone they’ve played except Sunderland, and us finding the net against everyone except Trampmere, there should be plenty of action this weekend.
It’s at the usual time, in the usual place, and the lads could do with some good support and noise, so get yourselves down there. Don’t forget Midland Bus will be running the usual Saturday Special if you fancy a pint before the game, and they’ll pick up (and drop off!) at the Town Centre, making it easy for you.
I’m picking a 3-2 win, one substition (80 minutes) and no red cards.
Tonight’s league match against Oldham saw a crowd of just 2,960 Saddlers fans watch our 3-0 demolition job. Take away the usual excuses such as midweek, weather, cup on Saturday (although that’s an unusual excuse given our performances in recent years!) and dress it up however you want, that’s a terrible number for a team sat on the cusps of the League One playoffs.
It’s too late now to do anything substantial about ticketing, seating and pricing differentials for this year, so one thing, and only one thing, could make a difference to the rest of the campaign. It’s time for the club owner to front up and state his ambitions for this season.
Is our debt sustainable enough to stand a season with a squad and manager that are growing together, seemingly stronger and more comfortable with each passing game, or will we have to sell up one or more of our promising youngsters in the January sales? If it’s the latter, I think the fans deserve to know sooner rather than later, and be given the reasons why.
Undoubtedly we’ll have to pay this debt off, but using such a short-term solution as selling a player when we’re in the position we are now would be a folly up there with the worst of them, guaranteed to see a further decline in numbers as the remaining fans realise what they’ve been willing to ignore thus far – under the current owner, Walsall’s mantra is “no ambition, no commitment, no future”.
Please, Jeff, do one thing this January, stand firm behind the club and you’ll see more fans stand behind you instead of against you.