23 years

Like a lifetime ago, thanks ISSA for the reminder

Ps. If the link doesn’t work, can a younger person sort it please


My first season as a Saddler. I thought winning, promotions and generally being good was all normal :rofl:

Feel for anyone who started following us after 2007 . Not a lot in the way of happy memories!

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It effed it up you for life clearly :sweat_smile:

But you had Cardiff

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My 28 year old self was in the Gilbert Alsop stand with my dad that day. What a memorable season that was, going toe-to-toe with Fulham (managed by Kevin Keegan who, at that time, was also England manager) & Manchester City. Both Fulham & Man City had squads packed with Championship & Premier League standard players. We really had no right to be challenging, let alone beating, either of those teams. If I remember correctly we were the bookies favourite for relegation that season. Shows what they know!
It is the season that I look back on most fondly. The atmosphere & optimism at Bescot during that time was fantastic. I couldn’t wait for matchdays. Ray Graydon had built a team full of skill & graft which I think has only been bettered by the Merson / Samways squad of a few years later.
Oh to have a team half as good as that now. We’d walk League 1, let alone League 2!
Wonder what happened to the club that finished behind us that year, gaining promotion via the playoffs?
“Are you watching Manchester?”


I am on that video as a ballboy!

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I’d been going for about 4 or 5 years by this point, but this is the earliest match I can close my eyes and recall almost perfectly. It’s such a vivid memory, I can remember the weather, how we played, the atmosphere, even walking into the ground.

Memories like that are what makes being a Walsall fan so great.

Also, for my money, the greatest Bescot Stadium moment.


Emotional stuff UTS.

Blimey, I’m old.

Great Memories!!!

Some good players in that team. Steiner and Henry, two loanees, playing a full part in the victory.
Best season ever, thank you Uncle Ray and the squad.


Those were the days my friend…

I wrote this piece several years ago. A look at that season through my eyes. It isn’t perfectly written by any means, but quite a few people found it an enjoyable read.

A Ray Of Sunshine.


That’s a great read. I think you’re right about the Lincoln game. There have been “bigger” games in my 50 years watching Walsall, but none I remember quite as fondly and that were quite as important in their overall meaning. Of course, it very much helped that Wrack slid in the winning goal right in front of us and I remember standing right in line and watching it trickle over the goalline, with the keeper beaten, and then the mayhem when we got the news that Man City had lost. I get goosebumps even now, thinking about it.


Man City nearly messed that up as well

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Thanks. In hindsight I wish I had spent a bit more time making sure there were no mistakes and polishing it a bit, but the piece was really about the feelings and emotions of that wonderful time. Someone passed it on to Sir Ray and a message came back to me that he loved it. I also had a few strangers at the games come up to me and say how much they like it so I was chuffed with that.

I have many memories of following Walsall with my Dad, which I treasure but that season will always be the best for me. The smile on my Dad’s face after that Lincoln game is the one how I will remember him always. Absolutely beaming ear to ear. I doubt anything else will ever come close again but my wish is to have at least one great season to remember with my own kids.


I think it really adds something not to have polished it. I can really feel the emotion and raw feelings coming through. I’m glad Sir Ray liked it. What an incredible man.

And don’t worry, you will have at least one great season to remember with your kids. It won’t be the same as that, and I can’t guarantee which division it will be in, or when, but we will have something at some point and you will make great memories that your kids will write about in the future.

Good stuff. Agree totally about the Lincoln game, it was a remarkable day. I was having a pleasant time then Wrack ruined it by scoring and I became a nervous wreck for the rest of the match. :joy:

You’re right about it being a strong division, and we were outspent by so many clubs. Half way through the season Burnley paid £800,000 for Steve Davies, even Northampton paid a record fee for a big brick outhouse called Steve Howard, and I think when we won 1-0 there in the “Darko game” that might have been Howards debut. He hadn’t been there long anyway, and they pummeled us, Roper and Viveash were superb at the back, Jimmy tidied up anything they missed, and everyone else worked, worked, worked. It was a typical performance by us that night, we didn’t have the quality to dominate games too often, so we worked our bollocks off to make up for it.

Wigan were splashing the cash (£750,000 for Simon Haworth) and I think it was the start of the Madjeski era at Reading. The more I think back to that season, the more unbelievable it seems to be, and the more certain I am that I’m making most of it up. So it’s nice to have some corroboration from you. :smile:


Great article.

At Lincoln it wasn’t just the Man City result we were sweating on, but Preston too could catch us (would still be in our own hands, but even if we beat fighting for survival Oldham we’d also need something from champions Fulham and/or Sjoke who were in with a chance of making the playoffs so it looked a tall order).

I remember there being a couple with a radio on our terrace who gave periodic updates - like City had got 1 back against Wycombe and were hammering them second half in search of an equaliser/winner, but Preston seemed to be cruising to a win as they were 2 up away at Millwall with about 5 minutes left to play which somewhat muted things. Then as now though most national media appeared to be under the impression that only the EPL and Championship levels of the pyramid exist, so as per usual updates on League Division 2 and lower games were well down the pecking order on whatever station they were tuned to, and we were still in the dark on the final results when our game had ended - but the Lincoln announcer read them out (Wycombe had hung on and Millwall scored 2 very late goals) while we were still clapping our team off and all hell broke loose as we realised the significance.

As @Blazing_Saddler says though, there weren’t all that many of us who had made the journey to the game that put us on the brink - more or less mirroring our Tuesday night game away at Scarborough 4 years earlier that meant we only needed a point at Bury 2 days later.

I meant to mention the Preston Millwall game in the article. Not sure why I forgot that to be honest.

I remember getting back to the car with all the car horns going, scarfs out of the windows and suddenly realising the Preston result could be significant and the panic started to set in. A couple of fans told us they had drew but I called my Grandad just to confirm.

For what it’s worth, I reckon we would have got a result at Stoke had we needed anything. If ever I have seen a team that was on the beach it was us that day. Mind you there were a fair few Walsall fans that I don’t think even looked at the pitch.

I was at Scarborough with my Dad. There does always seem to be a significant day where it all falls into place. I think in the 2006/2007 season it was Torquay away. We obviously won and the results went for us. It didn’t quite set it up for promotion the next game but it all opened up for us. Was it Hereford we beat on the Monday with a late-ish Keates goal?