Dean Smith on Organisational Culture

Shocking to believe both the chairman and board, had to take direction from what was essentially the head of the youth team at the time.

Just more evidence of how we’re now having to pick up the pieces from an inept, greedy and archaic Chairman. Hopefully, Pomlett can inject some new life around him on the Board.


Watched the video with interest and it all makes sense. Smith was one of our best ever managers, and as many have already written, we played some of our best football I have even seen with a clear identity that got us many plaudits.

I have sat in many lectures like that and always flip over the coin to see the other side to get a balanced view. The question I would have liked to ask Dean would be if you believed in this vision/culture why did you leave when you were on the cusp of achieving what it was set to do? Why did this organisational culture not achieve promotion to the Premier league with Brentford when you said at the time they had a better chance of achieving this and matching your ambitions as a Manager than Walsall could?

Without a doubt we have gone backwards without Smith because the board are clearly not strategic thinkers and rely on a football manager to run every facet of this club, that is the real travesty here.


But…Jeff was the bestest chairman eva, I’ve got loads of messages in my inbox from Walsall fans agreeing with me!


Shows that Smith was a blip. Bonser got lucky after going Mullen and Hutchings, but we’re in a decline that started at least in 06 and possibly even earlier. Money had been on his radar for a while, but take out him and Smith, and every managerial appointment from Merson onwards wasn’t just poor, they were disastrous. We’ve no reason to believe his appointments of other key personnel have been any better, and two of them are still absolutely central.

Pomlett has gone for evolution, maybe because he thinks the club can’t afford revolution, but at some point, I think he’s going to have to do something more radical.


True, but even in those tough times Smith was always very protective of his players. It was frustrating to hear at times, but probably the right thing to do.

Based on what he says in interviews Clarke seems more of a rule by fear type. Unless relegation seems a genuine possibility I’m happy to give him the season, but from what we have seen and heard so far he is closer to being the new Whitney rather than the new Smith.

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Shows what a great man manager he is more than anything else. Also shows that I can’t blame him any longer for leaving for Brentford or for even being rattled when we rejected an approach from Rotherham, I doubt they slash the budget by 200k two years running.

As fans you want everyone to love the club and be as loyal as you, but we really don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, who knows when the next 200k would be slashed off the budget? I can’t blame him for wanting to go at the first opportunity.

What it does show though is the type of character you need for a rebuild. He shouldered blame, never took it out on his players or the budget. That’s what you need when you’re gradually trying to get better. Not someone who will hang everyone but themselves out to dry.


It really does amaze me that people still question him for leaving!


Think Smith was protective of his players because of how selective he was about who joined the group and how they could affect the culture. George Bowerman, David Grof and even Jimmy Walker likely fell foul of that.

The ‘No Nobhead Policy’ was all about bringing in players with the right work ethic and creating the right team dynamic. I wonder how many of last year’s team would have been signed under Smith.


A lot of you have commented on the fact that it took Dean Smith to come up with a plan and a philosophy to make Walsall FC into something better. When you look at the composition of the Board at that time is it that surprising? It was full of small businessmen whose companies made some money but on a small scale. I doubt they ever even gave the culture of the business any thought and as for philosophy they would probably think that it was some sort of religion.
Someone said to me many years ago that Walsall as a town had been held back because most of the people who ran it either owned or worked for small businesses. There was no visionaries with big ideas. I think there is a lot in that and JB’s response to Dean’s thinking was typical of that approach.
In Pomlett I hope we have someone different. He has international interests and in his early pronouncements he gave me hope that the club would develop a new identity. Whether that will happen we will have to wait and see. At the moment he is bogged(no pun intended) down in sorting out toilets, bars and poor performances on the pitch.


Spot on Walsall one, I’ve mentioned on other threads that our " board " of directors have been just as guilty as our leach No1 fan for the total shambles of our club has become ( that includes Pomlett ) who sat on their hands and said and did nothing!!! Small minded company owners who revelled in the " director " tag. I’ve seen more vision through blacked out lens in binoculars

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The only hope we have is that Pomlett was the one shining light who was gagged and out voted by the others in major decisions to take the club forward. We will no doubt now find out in time…

Very interesting vid. Two things struck me though, how/why did he reccomend O’ Dismal as his successor? Second you can imagine Whitney being an integral part of that ethos. Whitney went on to have a fantastic record with Smith’s team for the remainder of that season, but then virtually the whole team left in the summer and clearly the rebuild was too big a task for him. When I look back I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for him, clearly didn’t have the contacts or the quality in the back-room that Smith had, or the tactical nous. Personally I think Whitney would have kept us up the season he got sacked, what would have happened then is anyone’s guess but could it have been any worse than what has happened? I wonder if Whitney had shown a bit more faith in and interest in the younger players, as Smith clearly did, if we would now been seeing some of them excel in the first team rather than have fallen by the wayside as so many of the next crop did/are doing. Would well coached and nurtured Peters, Candlin, Parker, Hayles Docherty etc etc seriously not be better than what we have now?


Interesting insight for us Walsall fans, and highlights what we already know that we have absolutely no football people at our football club bar those in first team management.

All successes and failures are a fluke here, there’s been no vision to believe in. And although there’s much hope that will change under new ownership, that ownership was part of the sit-still budget slashing obsessed board for a good while. No seismic shift here.

My favourite Smith tale is still how he insisted that academy kids carry their own bags. His kind yet brutal philosophy is to be admired, and you can see, hear and feel while many thrive whilst being part of it, and not so much when they leave it behind.

What’s forgotten at the time is Hasselbaink left Burton at pretty much the same period to also go to the championship and QPR.

If you’d offer me a choice between O’Driscoll and Clough to finish the job I honestly would’ve still gone for S O’D, thought he was a great fit with what he’d achieved at Donny and how he played there. How wrong I was.

I viewed Clough as a long ball manager on account of seeing a fair few games of his expensive sheffield United team and how dire they were in league 1 but he’s generally played decent football at Burton.

The promotion dream didn’t die with Dean leaving, remember two months of Whitney and the team were back to taking the fight to the last day of the season. That lost period after xmas when team went six weeks without winning a home game was when it slowly slipped through the fingers. A very frustrating time that we’ve seen since having long term impact.


For me not strengthening in January was the nail in the coffin, but yet again you can trace that back to the same source as usual.


…Is that me? Because I loved Dean Smith :joy:

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No mate nothing to do with you at all. I agree with you more than I do the bloke I am referring to. The chap thats always right, even when he is wrong (which is all of the time)…

A chap that will talk to you about big business deals in football and the intricacies of how they are structured - despite having never been near a football club or football dealings in his life, well, other that reading the back pages of the telegraph.


The thing that worries me is how many more ‘£200,000s’ have been cut from the budget? Did the rent increase much during these budget cuts Dean talks about?

Not knocking your post but pomlett sat on that board you refer to for ten years, and the same ones who oversaw the shambles we have become are still there are they not

Why on earth if we are to believe he has ownership. Has pomlett not had a cull of a draconian institute , I put it. Out there the reason being. He has an,t is because he can’t, One man won’t allow him to do so. And despite the illusion of change no change has took place, and I’d say. There’s hardly any likeleyhood. Of it ever happening either