Book launch: Alan Buckley at the match this weekend!

Exile @ 8:28 pm Wednesday 16 October 2013

Don’t forget (or if you didn’t know, then here’s an announcement!) Alan Buckley will be at the Saddlers Club before and after the Stevenage game this weekend to sign copies of his book “Pass and Move: My Story”.

The book costs £15 per copy for Saddlers Club members and Trust members, £18 for non members.

Come along and have a chat with a living legend!


Walsall 3-1 Tranmere: Earnest Hemmings’ Way

Exile @ 9:16 pm Sunday 04 August 2013

Had to get that awful pun in some time this season. Sorry.

On to the game, where by all accounts a bright and energetic Walsall put Tranmere to the sword. UTS regular kshammer was there, and his report follows:

Cracking first win against a team we made look very poor. Maybe they are actually poor, maybe they’re not, but from the off we taught them a footballing lesson for half an hour or so and it made me all the happier that I haven’t got to watch the kind of dross all season they will have to. They scored from their first serious effort and it knocked us off our stride a little. After half time they, expectedly, came at us a bit but the third goal ended the game and we again were in control. The outright skill, pace and tricks of Lalkovic and Hemmings matched that of the Brandy/Pato roles and if the team keeps it up, there’s no reason why the attack can’t score a similar amount of goals. Very promising start all round…

O’Donnell – not a lot to do but looked ok. Early days but I have concerns about him not coming off his line enough at times – hopefully I’m wrong.
Chambers – solid as ever.
Benning – good game and showed signs of improving reading the game despite some rough treatment from one of their many donkeys.
Downing – misread one ball over the top but is a Rolls Royce.
Butler – solid at the back as usual. May be disappointed he didn’t score.
Chambers – solid, another committed display.
Mantom – don’t understand the criticism – did ok. Early on in the game he was particularly involved.
Baxendale – maybe not his best game but thought he was neat and tidy.
Hemmings – we called him MOTM before they did officially. Was a thorn in the side of Tranmere all game with pace and skill – hopefully it will be his year.
Lalkovic – real box of tricks. Loads of skill, put plenty of effort in and just needs the ball to feet whenever possible. Could be the gem of the team.
Westcarr – two goals, worked hard, linked play well – another 99 games like this and maybe he’ll win people over The decision to stop the game by the ref when he was about to shoot was disgraceful and robbed him of the match ball.

Featherstone – did a job
Hewitt – came on late, no real time
Sawyers – looked bright, few nice touches of promise

See it differently? Glasses have more rose tint? Talk about it on the messageboard! Match thread: click here for link

Walsall 0-0 Rochdale: Game of two halves

Exile @ 11:42 pm Sunday 01 January 2012

After the heroics against the Wendies, a return to the apparent base form that’s plagued Walsall this season.

UTS regular Sadsfan was at the game and sums it up as follows:

Absolutely garbage today, and for me it was down to the manager. Far too long this season I have watched the back four pump long balls to the front men completely bypassing the midfield. Now, this is not just the fault of the defence as the midfield has all the movement of a photograph. Peterlin can play the short pass well but doesn’t find space to receive the ball off the back four and Chambers may as well not play as he always makes sure he is being marked so he does not have to have the ball. This is Smiths fault as he should have addressed this by now and made sure the team were playing the ball through the midfield using the Patterson as a creative outlet. To be over 20 games into the season and playing a style of football that is clearly not working leaves the blame at the door of the manager, its not Bonser that will make me a stayaway next season, but it will be the awful football played under Smith.

Fellow regular tinned also saw the game in a similar manner:

I thought for spells in the first half we passed it well and looked like a half decent side. Second half and another Smith master tactician talk and we’re mentally still in the dressing rooms. As soon as Macken was taken off we lost all ability to hold the ball up top.

It’s okay saying 4 points out of 6 was a good haul (it was) but after getting 3 on Monday we should be disappointed not to get all 6.

UTSer Welsh Saddler saw the following:

All in all, a disappointing game. Rochdale were obviously trying to impress their caretaker-manager by showing their ability to play proper football, and I thought they always looked the more likely side to score. We CAN play like that, but too often we CHOOSE not to. That’s down to Dean Smith.

Does Deano believe in his team?

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.

Torquay 1-0 Walsall: More bad luck

Exile @ 7:54 pm Sunday 28 November 2010

There’s a saying, often attributed to Samuel Goldwyn: “The harder you work, the luckier you get”. If that’s the case Chris Hutchings must be one of life’s biggest layabouts, a workshy bludger, as his Walsall teams are inevitably unlucky. The latest side to give Walsall the bum’s rush were Torquay, dumping us out of the FA Cup unceremoniously as Walsall slipped to yet another defeat.

Out of the cup at Torquay - what next?
  • Sack Hutchings now for goodness sake (54%, 261 Votes)
  • I don't care, I've given up (40%, 195 Votes)
  • Let's concentrate on the league! (6%, 28 Votes)

Total Voters: 484

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Torbay Saddler was at the game and had this to say:
“I only had to travel 3 miles and spend £12 to watch that load of tripe. My heart went out to the 200 or so brave souls who travelled down here and had to suffer that.
Nothing changes then.

Someone asked how Grigg played, to me he seemed the only one with any idea what to do with the football, felt sorry for the lad he got no service and eventually faded out of the game like the rest of them.

As for Dickensen, I’ve seen some No.9′s playing for Walsall over the years…. eg Tony Richards, George Kirby , but I wouldn’t pick Dickensen to play for Walsall Phoenix.
Torquay weren’t much better than us but without Jimmy Walker, I’m afraid it would have been 4 or 5….. and it definitely wasn’t a penalty. I think the referee was bored and thought the game might liven up if someone scored.

No passion, no idea and no motivation….. but wait a minute isn’t that the responsability of the manager.

Exeter and Plymouth next year ….. do I really need to waste time and money ( I may become a stayaway)”

That’s that for cup interest this season, so we can now concentrate on the league, and boy does that need concentrating on. Relegation in front of ever-dwindling crowds would appear to be a certainty, as long as Chris “Jonah” Hutchings remains manager.

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.

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!

A season of two halves

Exile @ 2:14 am Wednesday 24 March 2010

Another season is fast disappearing up it’s own backside and we’re well placed for midtable mediocrity, based on average performances. On the face of that’s much better than a relegation challenge, but after a couple of years of standard preseason sound bites from Roy Whalley about promotion, that’s cold comfort indeed.

The problem with the first paragraph is ‘average performances’. On results so far we’re on 47 points, 10 off relegation and cruising into the home stretch. Trouble is, if we look at how that season has progressed we see two very distinct halves.

In the first 19 games we gained 30 points, helped along by the November purple patch that gave us some hope for the rest of the season. We defeated Yeovil away to round off that half season on the 1st of December.

Since then we’ve played 18 games, won only 4, been dumped 9 times and gained only 17 points, including an 8 game streak without a win. Luckily we made those points in the first half of the season, as that’s relegation form whatever way you look at it. On this basis we’ll be lucky to see 55 points by the end of the season, and we’re doubly lucky that there’s some runaway good teams in the top 6 and plenty of dross surrounding us.

Chris Hutchings was appointed in January 2009 and has now had 15 months in the role as manager, after serving as Paul Jewell’s understudy (and sweeping up after him) for much of his previous career. Never stellar in previous caretaker roles, his record at Walsall has now been so patchy it can best be desribed as flattering to deceive. We’re so inconsistent there’s no tipping point, no crisis, no defining moment that shouts out loud “You don’t know what you’re doing”, but an accumulation of deflating performances, non-existent or ineffectual tactics, inexplicable substitutions, team sheets with good names missing or players out of position, and a succession of lacklustre games that leave every fan flat can say the same thing much more quietly.

Perhaps there’s problems further up the chain? We are all well aware of Mr. Bonser’s desire to leave contract negotiations to the last possible moment, the club’s financial shortcomings and the fact that other potential managerial candidates (and previous managers) have decided that Walsall was not for them based on personal financials and lack of future commitments. There’s a smell of short-termism surrounding Walsall FC, and that’s not good for a sports club that’s survived 123 years.

We need some progress. We need some leadership. Heck – we need some consistent football! Where’s that going to come from? Your guess is as good as mine. Consistently finishing in League One midtable is not my definition of a club going anywhere, but where is there to go when we can’t pay for a better squad and refuse to pay for a better manager?

Sorry there’s no answers in this monologue.

Reminder: Charity Match this Sunday!

Exile @ 8:21 pm Tuesday 20 October 2009

Don’t forget the Walsall old crusties take on an All-Star Supporters team this Sunday to raise funds for Walsall Hospice.

Where: Rushall Olympic Ground, Dales Lane
When: Sunday 1.00pm kick-off
How much: Just £2 to watch the greatest spectacle this side of Sunday tea.

There’ll be a fund-raising raffle as well, prizes kindly donated by fellow fans for this special occasion so bring along some more cash to throw into the pot. Special mentions to prize donors when I find out who they all are, but firstly I know Asps, former site sponsor with IC Shipping (great freight forwarding service) has been involved. Thanks Ian!

Rumours that the Supporters side are having to play in a Wolves strip are untrue.

Return of the Messiah!

Exile @ 9:22 pm Wednesday 14 October 2009

Walsall legend, manager Ray Graydon, will be at The Banks’s Stadium this Saturday to collect his club award for being voted onto the Broad Street, Birmingham, ‘Walk of Stars’.

Sir Ray beat off some stiff competition from the club’s history to win out as the fans favourite and Saturday’s home game against Exeter gives every fan who remembers his time at the club the opportunity to turn up in support of one of our most popular managers.

UTS urges all supporters who can make the game to be there to see Ray take centre stage, and show him the appreciation he deserves for his heroic times at Walsall.

He’s being presented with his award before kick off, so you’ll have to turn up earlier than 2.59pm to catch a glimpse of the great man. Please, get along to the Banks’s this Saturday and make him feel welcome by giving him the turnout he really deserves, and the thanks of everyone who remembers his time at the club.

If you only go to one game this season, make it this one.

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