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!


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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Walsall 0-2 Plastic: sod’s law

Exile @ 9:44 am Sunday 30 October 2011

Keeper sent off, form team can only score two. What would it have been otherwise? Yet again, the Saddlers get the wrong throw of the dice. You make your own karma, one day it’ll come our way. Plenty of fans were at the game and those that were there don’t think we should dismiss our keeper or sack our manager. Here’s a match report from UTS regular Brackley:

I have got to congratulate the lads on a gutsy performance todayfollowing Wacka’s sending off, which for the record I thought was an absolute joke! Assuming the lino was right, it would have been that marginal and was never a clear goalscoring opportunity as their man had our defenders around him…….

I can never remember a season thats only a 1/3 of the way gone, where we have had so many players sent off and from recollection all poor decisions……… as for the standard of refereeing and linesmanship it is nothing short of abismal – I have never seen anything like it!! :evil:

Immediately after the sending off, with Beevers taking the gloves we conceded 2 poor goals……… you couldnt of course blame the lad………. and as im sure we all thought the afternoon was going to descend in to a complete farce and an embarrassing scoreline.

Deano – I dont know whether Grof picked up an injury in the warm up or whether you decided to go it without a keeper on the bench……… if it was the latter, there is no defending what is an extremely poor decision at this level and particularly when you can name 5 subs….. ???? :oops:

Tactically, we had no choice but to make the changes we did and for me they worked extremely well and vindicated my previous view of how we should be using Gnakpa……..Paterson is most definately the cream of our youth and was most certainly worthy of his place.

The second half for me was a total credit to all the players…….. what a performance when we looked dead and buried at half-time. We hit the post, we had numerous half-chances from headers or snap shots when in good positions and the lad Paterson had bullet of a shot from 25 yards palmed away when it looked destined for the top corner. We defended in numbers, we got behind the ball and we broke down their play extremely effectively and then counter-attacked with some intelligent play at times…….

Im sorry….. but we are on the most appalling streak of dare I say bad luck, judging the last 3 games – the lads deserve better. We have the nucleaus of a workmanlike but dogged Div 1 side that needs 2 or 3 players to bring some results and consistency.

The defensive unit was again solid, the midfield was organised and looked settled in the 2nd half and acquitted themselves well and the front line of Gnakpa, Paterson and Nicholls inter-changing brought some hope that we may claw our way back whilst Beevers showed his flair between the sticks.

You can hold your heads up high for that today fellas – there was no shame in that result or performance!!

Two year sentence for Smith

Exile @ 8:26 pm Thursday 31 March 2011

From the blogosphere, it looks like some information has been leaked, then covered up, surrounding the future of Dean Smith, currently our manager to the end of the season.

Looks like BRMB’s ‘thegoalzone’ jumped the gun, tweeting about a two year contract for Deano, which was picked up very quickly and retweeted by Darren Byfield. ‘thegoalzone’ have now taken down their original message, but too late.

Now Late Kick Off are saying that a Midland club have a press conference tomorrow.

If this news has a kernel of truth, it would be rude to offer it without a poll:

Two years for Smith is...
  • a good thing (77%, 226 Votes)
  • too early to tell (20%, 60 Votes)
  • a bad thing (3%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 295

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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.

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.

VAT brings small change to club

Exile @ 10:08 pm Wednesday 29 December 2010

The club have imposed a ticket price increase of 50p across the board as VAT changes come into effect on January 4th. Unsurprisingly to those familiar with the way the club works, this increase is over and above the increase in VAT for every category of ticket. Every. Single. Ticket.

Worst hit are extra kids on family tickets and unaccompanied kids, who’ll be giving the club between 2% and 4.9% extra, on top of the 2.5% to the taxman. Obviously this is because their tickets are cheaper, so a 50p increase makes more difference.

What’s concerning is the increase covers almost everyone going into the ground except the season ticketholders who were lucky enough to secure their pass for this season’s scintillating entertainment at the old price, but we’ll no doubt hear more on that subject at the end of the season when the early bird offers come out.

What do you think of the "VAT" increaes?
  • What a ripoff! (35%, 55 Votes)
  • Could have been thought through a bit more (33%, 51 Votes)
  • What's the problem? (32%, 49 Votes)

Total Voters: 155

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So just why is the price of a ticket going up over the rate of VAT for absolutely everyone? Would the club care to explain just how arbitrary their 50p increase is? Probably not, as it’s no doubt due to bumbling ineptitude rather than any cynical manipulation of the long-suffering fans. Perhaps there’s a better alternative that could be looked at though, if it’s not too late.

First off, don’t increase the prices for the new year’s day fixture against Notts County. The VAT rise doesn’t take effect till January 4th.

Secondly, look at each tier of tickets separately and apply an increase that matches. Perhaps the best result would be to take your 50p of your adult customers, by far the majority of the crowd, and hold prices for the kids and also pensioners if possible. If not, put them up by a little, not a lot, say 20p. That’d give Mr. Taxman his fair take, and treat the club’s supporters with the respect they deserve.

Thirdly, apologise for making such a ham-fisted adjustment when you could have handled it better.

PR isn’t hard, so why doesn’t anyone at Walsall FC think of these things before charging ahead?

Walsall vs Carlisle preview: Play well and lose?

Exile @ 1:56 am Saturday 20 November 2010

With regular Neil being missing more than Byfield, it’s another Metfanwy preview this weekend. Thanks, Bangor!

Tuesday nights performance against non-league outfit Fleetwood Town left a lot to be desired, with many Walsall supporters still unhappy with the way the team is playing. An unconvincing 2-0 win was played out in front of a small crowd, with two moments of class from Reuben Reid the difference.

So we head into tomorrow’s Coca Cola League One game against a confident Carlisle United side, who are currently on a 5 game unbeaten run in all competitions. Last weekend saw the Cumbrians run out 3-2 winners over early season promotion favourites Southampton: no mean feat.

Carlisle come into the game with a close to full strength outfit. Highly rated striker Gary Madine went off in the victory over Southampton with a slight knock, but makes the squad for Saturday’s game. The only real selection issue for Carlisle will be whether James Chester will continue in the left back role.

The impressive part about Carlisle’s recent form is that the extremely experienced midfield duo of Graham Kavanagh (our old friend) and Paul Thriwell have been missing due to injury. Quality left-back Sean McDaid (former Doncaster Rovers) is out, as well as striker Richard Offiong. Players to look out for include deadly striker Francois Zoko and creative midfielder Matty Robson, who will cause problems.

What about us? Darren Byfield has been set back in his comeback from injury, and will be out for a further month. Clayton MacDonald, Jon Macken and Martin Devaney have been struggling with injuries, and may make the game. One player absent from the midweek win over Fleetwood was Ryan McGivern due to first team duty for North Ireland and he will still be unavailable due to suspension. William Grigg also returns from International duty, but he never plays. Andy Butler should make his Bescot bow, after missing the FA cup tie due to his ineligibility.

Carlisle should therefore line up: Collin, Simek, Murphy, Michalik, Chester, Taiwo, Berrett, Marshall, Zoko, Madine, Grella. It’s a bit trickier to predict how we might play, it is very much dependent who is available after injury. The return of Martin Devaney may push us back into a 442 formation, after the midweek 433.

Hutching’s bemusing quote of the week comes from the E and S. According to Oliver Lancashire: ‘The manager has been saying that we had been playing well and losing’. We haven’t been playing well..and we have been losing. Also, Oliver may have been tired after training for he also came out with this intriguing quote: ‘Carlisle are a similar team to us, with a similar budget I expect, and it’s good to see a team like that doing well. Similar budget? Really?

The money spent on Kevan Hurst and the signing of very good league one players such as Sean McDaid, Paul Thirlwell, Graham Kavanagh and Franky Simek show the Carlisle board have invested in their side with good results. Carlisle are currently 2 points from the automatic promotion places and the their owners should be congratulated. Let’s hope our owner and board of directors can show similar investment and deliver decent football to a public that has been humiliated by performances this season.

Prediction? We have the lowest scoring record in the division – just 15 goals – against the 3rd best defence in the league. The stats suggest we should lose again, but I am going for a draw. My reasons? It surely can’t get any worse.

Rochdale v Walsall – Match Preview

Exile @ 12:34 am Friday 10 September 2010

Thanks due to Luke, a regular UTSer, for this preview of the match up the road at the birthplace of the inestimable Lisa Stansfield.

The Saddlers travel to Lancashire on Saturday to face newly (and finally!) promoted Rochdale. It will be the first meeting between the sides since Scott Dann’s Maradona-esque equaliser earned Walsall a point in our League Two title winning season.

As for the teams, Darren Byfield will be hoping to start after recovering from an achilles problem to come on as a substitute in last week’s miserable defeat against Colchester and David Davis will go straight into the squad following his arrival from Wolves on a one month-long loan.

Ryan McGivern and Will Grigg are also available after returning from international duty with Northern Ireland U21s, which including them both scoring in a win over San Marino last Friday.

There are three absentees, with Richard Taundry and Steve Jones both out of contention through injury, while Alex Nicholls is serving the second of his three-game ban.

Rochdale occupy ninth place in the table and go into the game on the back of impressive away league wins at Brentford and Southampton, although they went out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Port Vale inbetween. Manager Keith Hill has a full squad to choose from and will be hoping for veteran midfielder and captain Gary Jones to continue his fine start to the season, which has seen him score five goals in all competitions already.

The opposition’s other main threats will come from forwards Chris O’Grady, who was ‘Dale’s 22-goal top scorer last season, and Anthony Elding, who will be looking to resurrect the kind of form which saw him score 24 goals in 45 games for Stockport County and earn a move to the ‘mighty’ Leeds United.

As for predictions, Rochdale have picked up a solitary point from their opening two home games, with the Saddlers gaining three from our two away games. On the back of less-than-impressive performances against Chesterfield and Colchester, surely things can only get better. 2-1 away win.

For those fans who can’t make the pilgrimage, don’t forget alternative entertainment is available at the George Street Asda in Walsall, where you can watch kids trying to kick lumps out of our mascot Swifty. He’s making a personal appearance to drum up support for next weekend’s Family Fun Day at The Banks’s Stadium.

Swifty will be turning up between 11.00 and 1.00pm, while the hard-working staff and face painters will be putting in a longer shift, from 10.00am till 3.00pm. If you trot along there, you might win a chance to be a mascot for a match, or match tickets, or tickets for one of the sporting dinners that Bescot’s famous for.

The result will be a ....
  • Rochdale win (46%, 26 Votes)
  • point a piece (32%, 18 Votes)
  • Saddlers triumph (22%, 13 Votes)

Total Voters: 57

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Walsall 0-1 Colchester: time to take stock

Exile @ 9:33 pm Sunday 05 September 2010

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

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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.

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.

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