How should Walsall be fairing this season

Thought I’d look at teams in League 2 and whether it’s reasonable to expect Walsall to finish above (A) below (B) or about the same (S) given what you’d expect this season. Sorry the descriptions are brief.

Stockport. Have a wealthy owner and have become a well run club partly out of the difficulty to get promoted from the non-league. (B)

Wrexham. Bankrolled by the Hollywood pair and have momentum (B)

Barrow. Well run club and have a certain ‘home’ advantage. However resource wise are smaller than Walsall, so in balance shouldn’t be that different (S)

Mansfield. Have been around the play offs and seem to have a plan. Have made good signings with the likes of Aden Flint (B)

Crewe. Small club expected to struggle. Are outperforming this season (A)

Notts County. Like Wrexham and Stockport fighting fit from coming from nonleague, but feel we should be on a par with them (S)

Gillingham. Bankrolled by American investors and were the form team in 2023 (B)

Swindon. One of the bigger clubs in the division probably underperforming due to off field issues (B)

Accrington. Well run club, but small. (A)

Wimbledon. Coming out of a tough period following focus on buying their ground (S)

MK Dons. As much as I dislike them they are one of the biggest club in the division with their players they should be higher (B)

Morecambe. Good manager but small resources (A)

Crawley. Basket case club last season but seem better run this (A)

Bradford. Underperformers given their fan base (B)

Newport. Lost key players in the summer (A)

Harrogate. Smallest club in division. Benefit from stability and good manager (A)

Doncaster. Seem badly run. Good stadium with recent experience of playing higher (S)

Salford. Bankrolled club who made play off last season. Looked streets ahead of us in April (B)

Grimsby. Proud club who made cup quarter finals last year (S)

Colchester. Should be above these (A)

Tranmere. Similar size club to Walsall (S)

FGR. Won league 2 years ago so, but rebuilding (S)

Sutton United, have over performed since getting promoted from non league so should be above these. (A)

So that’s 8 clubs I see Walsall behind and 8 clubs I see we should be above and 7 about the same. So Walsall should be between 9th and 17th. We are just under that in 19th place so are underperforming at this moment in my eyes, but not massively.


Yeah guys if you take the middle third of the league as a bar for success and where we should be aiming as a club, we’re not actually underachieving by that much! :grinning:

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Didn’t say where we should be aiming, said what you’d expect this season.

Same difference.

No it’s not aiming involves a longer time frame.

Nope every club has season aims. Look, I know you’re a troll, I’ll stop feeding you there :+1:t3:

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Well everyone aims to be top of the league obviously, but some of us have to settle for 19th or 20th.

Just trying to understand what people expect this season and which clubs they think we should be doing better than given where we were when we appointed Sadler.

I get your point but I think many of the ‘same’ clubs wouldn’t settle for 17th, never mind even lower. Of all of the same clubs, us and a few others would be aiming at the top of that rather than the bottom of it so I’d say massively underperforming.


The league table doesn’t lie and our position reflects the fact we have an inexperienced manager, a young team and an imbalanced squad not capable of handling injuries

Every season in this division we should be aiming for a place in the top 7. If the club is doing anything less it might as well just fold.

In terms of minimum bar, I would say we should be winning more games than we lose and finishing closer to the playoffs than the relegation zone.

There are clubs with bigger resources than us sure, but the discrepancies aren’t as big as League One. Stevenage, Carlisle and Northampton all went up last season, doubt any had a top seven budget. The season before that Vale and Exeter went up. The one before that Cheltenham, Cambridge and Morecambe got promoted.

I doubt any of those clubs went through years of painstaking planning and incremental improvements to get there either.

Edit: Just checked and Stevenage and Carlisle went from finishing 20th & 21st to promotion in one season…


For me it’s a mindset thing. If you’re happy to except being middle to bottom of the league, that’s where you’ll end up!!. I want the club to be ambitious. It’s not a lot to ask our club to do. Push your ambitious higher, and by and large that’s what you’ll achieve. By plumping for Mat and hoping he would do a Dean Smith in his last season with the club was a very brave and ultimately it will likely fail. Bottom half??, we are very likely to end up where we are now or lower. What the consequences is the revenue will go down as fans will not by season tickets at the level they have. Fans have been taken for a ride long enough. I think this season will be the straw that broke the camel’s back


But every fan of the 23 other clubs can say exactly the same thing.

I’m not having a go. I’m just trying to understand what it is that can give Walsall an edge over the other teams.

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I fully expect us to be fighting for the playoffs in this division.

It is testament to how far fans expectations have fallen that mid table makes people happy.


Appointing a competent manager would be a good starting point.

Not even mid-table as even in 19th we are only two places off not underperforming :see_no_evil:

The mind boggles, sometimes I really do think we get what we deserve.


Didn’t used to be like this, the board has ground down the fans into an apathetic crowd of happy clappers


As a minimum, we should be top half.

Optimistically I hoped we’d push top 10 and threaten playoffs even if we couldn’t achieve it.

To be 19th and unable to score for toffee is well below realistic expectations. We have some good players, but those who have been here a while have got noticeable worse, or just not contributed at all.

I know we can’t compete with the Wrexhams of this world anymore, galling as that is, but I do expect us to be top half in this division, considering the competition (Sutton, Crawley, Harrogate, FGR, Barrow etc).


What’s so galling for me is that I set Sadler a very low bar to start with, and he’s still managed to go under it. I wanted the start to be an improvement on the end of last season, and then through the season ,signs of progress- an identifiable playing style which players could be seen adapting to and getting better at, the ironing out of creases, signs that Sadler and the team were learning . All of this would have been consistent with what Boycott and Sadler were saying in the summer, so not an unreasonable expectation.Then ,towards the end a team showing that ,with a few additions , it could become one seriously challenging next season.

We might or might not have got the first, but we’ve certainly had nothing since. I can’t see anything on the pitch of a consistent approach being refined, and I hear nothing from the manager to suggest he even knows what that approach should be.

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A lot of work went into that post.

For 58 years from 1961 to 2019 Walsall were a third division side for the vast majority of the time. We spent a few seasons above and a few seasons below, but that was our level.

It is a bit galling to read that the reasonable expectations for Walsall fans are that we should be between 9th and 17th in the fourth division.

How did that happen?