Greatest Walsall team

Based on when started watching the saddlers 83 season onwards.
1 walker
2 Bazeley
3 Rico Henry
4 Forbes (Captain)
5 Dann
6 Martin O’Connor
7 wrack
8 samways
9 kelly
10 Merson

Subs Etheridge,Butler,Shakespeare lightbourne,Preece.




On reflection might have to find a space on the bench for Wrack

Prepared to be proved wrong but we’ve only produced one player in the last fifty odd years (since Clarke and Parkes?) who has gone into play for England. Yet Michael Ricketts doesn’t seem to feature anywhere in these teams.

It is hard because we have had some great centre forwards in my lifetime. Buckley, Kelly, junior, Bradshaw, Kelly, Deeney, Rammell, Boli, Fryatt, Jorge, even Grigg.

I’d say peak Ricketts was better than all of those with the possible exception of Junior. I’d also say that not renewing his loan extension in 2007/08 January transfer window was as costly, if not moreso than the departures of Dann and Fox.

In my sentimental eleven I would have Buckley and Kelly up top, but on ability it would be Ricketts and Junior.

And that’s why these “greatest elevens” are hard. We’ve had great servants who were great servants because our level was their level. Marsh really struggled in the second tier as an example. Paul Ritchie and Neil Emblen were proper second tier centre halves - only Dann could knock one of those out of a best eleven on ability but I have far more affection for Viveash, Serrella, Hart and Fobba than I do any of those three.

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You are probably right, but his peak was with Bolton I reckon, probably in the Autumn of 2001 when his goals fired them to the top of the Prem for a while (they were top on 9/11 I think, when we played them in the Cup).
I rate him as the most talented player to come “through the ranks” at Walsall in my time watching - I’m too young to remember Allan Clarke except when he was at Leeds.

We did miss him in 2007-08 and I always wonder where we might have finished in 99-00 if Ricketts had played a few more games, especially early on. He played 32 in the league, would another 8 or 10 (in place of Mark Bobbins) have made enough of a difference?

But I don’t think of Ricketts with that much affection, I admire his talent, but he gets nowhere near the likes of Shinton, Buckley, Penn, Kelly, Lightbourne, Rambo, Bradshaw in my list of favourites.

I think one of the things most of us look at when we pick a team like this is a balance of quality and quantity. Maybe we should be just picking the likes of Boli, Peron, Biancalani, Padula, Junior, who were with us for 5 minutes but the players we watched for years like Harrison, Atthey, Wrack, Roper, Marsh etc are the ones we really feel the love for.

It’s only a bit of fun anyhow. :laughing:

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Yeah, you’re right. My favourite Walsall eleven would be nearly completely different to my best Walsall eleven. I’d have Preece in my favourite all day long whereas in the their respective time with us Samways was better in that position. Finished article just past a very very high peak. Buckley would walk into my favourite whereas Junior was better in my opinion.

O’Connor and Sawyers might be the two who would make both. Both with us for enough seasons to become favourites and both clearly at least a league better than the league we were in when they played for us.


A sentimental/favourite all time XI is an immense idea. Perhaps another thread at another time, in the meantime Hart, Mower, Rees, Keates, Rammel, Green, Gerard, Christie, Handysides, Rimmer, Siggy will all have to wait…

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… actually it’s a silly idea! I’d have nightmares, Aranalde, Butler, Naughton, Ntamark, Goodman, Barber, Cherry, Jones, Byfield, Buckley, best leave it

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We could also have the most characterful Walsall team of all time filled by players who were different(I am being kind!!)…Some names spring to mind Boswell, Gutteridge ,Bernie Wright ,MacDonough ,Meek ,Keister ,Rees etc. I am sure there are many other candidate for this team!!!

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Trying for a team of Alans as it’s my name. Even taking liberties with the spelling can only get 9 and that’s got a great forward line but short in defence. Boswell Roper Picken Deakin Walsh Baker Buckley Evans Clarke. Manager Ashman. Anybody got any defenders?

How could you miss Alan Birch?

And if you want a defender, how about BiancALANi?

Oh yes. A terrible omission.

Rather have Al Mcpherson.

He won’t improve the quality of the team, but if you need a reserve keeper, you can have Allen McKnight. If you’re desperate.

One of my favourite WFC names is Allenby Driver. I don’t think he was a significant player, and he was an inside forward anyhow, but what a great name. Sounds like he should have been appearing in Ealing Comedies. I think you should have him to boost the numbers.

I’m surprised there aren’t more, unless we are forgetting some obvious ones, perhaps the name wasn’t popular until the second half of the century, and it’s died off a bit.

I wonder what the most common given name is from our history? John I suppose. Mark, Steve, Joe/Joseph, James/Jimmy, Robert, maybe they could all field teams.

I sometimes do that, also teams of Walsall players with surnames with the same letter.

The letter B is an embarrassment of riches.


Beevers, Bielik, Aaron Brown, Keith (?) Brown

Broad, Bos, Brittain

Banton, Bamber, Barrowman

I see what you mean! :rofl:

Apologies to Kristian Bielik who is actually quite good although it didn’t work out with us, but all the other centre backs I could think of were way too good for that team, Stan and Julian Bennett, Butler, Barras - so in he goes.


A team of Taylor’s would ■■■■ over this lot.Even with 9 men.
Brian,Brian,Alex, Colin, Chris, Daryl, Doug and Mark.

Scott Houghton and John Hodge

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As you say John is most common. At least 4 goalies Brain Christie Osborne and Savage alphabetically that is. Plus Harris Sharples Jar man Saunders Smith Hodge Manning Davies Gayle and of course Hancock. Subs Keister Kelly Guthrie etc etc and nit forgetting Roy John.

Oops Hancocks.