I am genuinely disappointed for Dean Keates but today’s dismissal was inevitable.
In an attempt to inject some positivity, let me suggest a REALISTIC way forward for the club…
O’Connor takes the reins until the end of the season and tells the players that they are fighting for their contracts at the club.
The first thing I would do is drop any players who won’t be at the club next season because they are out of contract.
I would send Jarvis back to Norwich City (where he can retweet about playing for Wolves 10 years ago and compare his wheels with teammates bound for the premier league).
I would get the players that I wanted to build the team around and get them on board with my project. Any players on longer contracts (like Norman) I would play. I would also play Jack Fitzwater and try and get Connor Johnson into the matchday squad. I would encourage Laird to offer his experience to the back line.
Leahy, Devlin and Guthrie should be dropped.
I would tell Kinsella that he and Dobson will be the engine-room of the club if they want to commit to his project. Cookie and Flash can be the equivalent of Rambo and Brissett. If I was O’Connor, I would also put my arm around Ferrier and tell him of an exciting addition to the coaching staff in the summer…
In the close season, I would try and get Darren Byfield in as number 2 (I believe he is at Stratford Town at the moment). A flair player mentality like his would add a little to the industry and heart of O’Connor and the fans would give him time. When I die, I imagine Byfield’s goal at Cardiff v Reading will probably be the last image I see before I meet my Maker!
I would then try and arrange for some trials and a pre-season tour in the summer to Bermuda with ‘me old mucker’ Kyle Lightbourne.
Byfield and O’Connor have enough midland links, non-league links and ‘old mates’ (like Aranalde at Watford and Paul Hall at QPR) to get the semblance of a squad together based on young players, loanees and the odd non-league gem.
Add to the mix, Adam Chambers working with the youngsters and even get his brother, James back to be an ambassador at the club and you have a nucleus of good people who would bring a fresh new impetus and positive vibe for the players.
All would work within the budget (I imagine), all know the club’s infrastructure and all are hungry to move in the right direction.
Incidentally, a positive press story where young black coaches are given an opportunity would do the P.R. of the club the world of good.
As a man with a Jamaican girlfriend, who counts Charlie Ntamark and Romaine Sawyers amongst my favourite players to wear the Walsall shirt, I honestly feel that we can bring the good times back, whether we get relegated or not.
Right now, I am absolutely gutted but I hope my vision of joy can lift the mood of some fellow Saddlers supporters. Rum and coke is on offer to anyone who ‘likes’ this message too