Football Combination question

I started following Walsall in the early 70s so this is a question for Gurroles who are even longer in the tooth than I am.
I know we played in the Football Combination for a while (in the 1960s?)and I wondered if one of you knows how long? And why did we leave, were we relegated or kicked out, or did financial reasons compel us to resign?

I think the Football Combination was mainly for teams in the south, although Blues played in it, and the Central League was for midlands and the north.

We played in the Football Combination ( and their cup competitions ) for 4 seasons from 1966-7 to 1969-70. We had to pull out of that reserve league due to the financial state of the club by the summer of 1970 and joined the Midland Intermediate League for 1970-1.


Thanks for the answer.
I sort of guessed (or maybe I had heard/read years ago) that it was financial reasons.
Must have been nice while it lasted, to have the chance of watching Spurs etc reserves for those fans who weren’t at whatever away game we were playing.

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It was brilliant @JumboTrudgeon. I was only a small boy myself but to see top players recovering from injury or out of favour from teams like West Ham, Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal etc was fantastic. The Saturday home games KO was 2pm and from after 3pm onwards the chap on the pa would update us on the first team’s progress who were playing away. Other teams that competed in the Football Combination ( there were two divisions ) was the likes of Bristol City, Swindon, Oxford, Notts County, Bournemouth, Mansfield, Swansea etc. We actually l won Div2 at the first time of asking so it was from 67-8 that we played the big London clubs etc.


I hadn’t realised there were two divisions. Nice that we won something. :smiley:

Yes @JumboTrudgeon we pipped Birmingham City to the title by one point! Those games were well supported too. The ave gate for 66-7 was 1,494. The following season 67-8 we had over 2,000 for the visits of Chelsea, Swindon, Spurs and Coventry. And again the cup nearly 3,000 for Spurs and over 3,000 for Coventry again. The real stand out attendance was v Arsenal in the cup when 8,504 turned out on a bitterly cold February night . It was a quarter final game however the main reason why it was such a good turnout was that WFC were giving out priority vouchers for our upcoming FA Cup tie v. Liverpool. I would imagine this would be our highest ever attendance for a reserve game.


By 1968-9 interest had fallen off a bit and the ave att that season was 967. We finished off our 4 year stint in the Combination by winning just 3 games in the league however there were 3 teams with a worse record than ours. I forgot to mention earlier that we were already in the Midland Intermediate League - that was were our 3rd team played so effectively in 1970 we could only afford to play in 2 leagues instead of 3.

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The attendances are mind-boggling. 3,000 for reserve team cup ties, look at some of our crowds for F A Cup or League Cup matches in recent years.

I think 1970 or thereabouts was the time Pompey disbanded their reserve team for financial reasons, which was a big story, they’d been League title winners twice since the war of course. I read about it in one of those books boys used to get at Xmas, Charlie Buchans Football Annual, or the Topical Times, something like that.

I used to go to a few reserve matches, I think there were usually two or three hundred there.

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Think we also gave Colin Taylor a run out after injury , to see if he was fit for Liverpool match.
He took a pen at the laundry end, hit the bar and it landed in Bescot crescent. Seem to remember Bob Wilson in goal.


I was at that Arsenal game @kevlar but I can’t remember much about that game. The replay we lost 1-2 at Highbury. Allan Baker on target.

I sort of half remember that, but I thought it cleared the bar and ended up in Cannock. Mind you I was only 11 then so my memory is probably playing tricks on me.

My first ever game at a the age of nine was a reserve match in the old West Midlands League I think. Tony Richards was having a run out after injury and he came over to check with my uncle that I was ok after being hit on the head when he blocked a clearance. I was fine but always say that was why I became a Saddler . I think!!!

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10-45 am was the regular Saturday morning KO time for reserve games the last few years at Fellows Park. It was not uncommon for some die hard fans to watch our reserves on the morning and then fly off in cars to see the first team in action away for the 3pm KO’s.

I used to go to the reserve games,(A) to see some decent reserve players (not just kids) (B) to hear the progress of the first team,it was the only way in those days,unless you waited for Sport report at 5pm.You could tell the announcer at the ground on Saturdays for reserve games was a total amateur,but the information was always welcome… :grinning:

I remember going to the Arsenal game but I can’t recall the score. Great atmosphere.

I also recall going to a reserve game in the combo one evening. We had just signed Ken Stephens from the Baggies and he was given a run out. He badly damaged his knee early on in the game and I don’t think he played again. Not sure

Edit ~ he went on the play for Bristol Rvrs

I think he was the Brizzle Rovers player who was sent off for having a punch up with Doug Fraser a few years later, before Doug became Head Honcho, he was just a player then. Time might be embellishing things a bit, but I think it was a proper fight, they carried on or started again as they went towards the tunnel.
Apologies to Mr Stephens if it wasn’t him and he was nothing to do with it, 47 years is a long time to remember stuff. :roll_eyes: