Is that right that he never lost 3 in a row? If so, proves even more how stupid fans were for hounding him out, many with hatred and bile, when we’ve seen what has happened since! Be careful what you wish for, I think they say.
I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, he was the wrong choice for manager at the time because the squad was decimated when we so narrowly missed promotion. It would’ve taken a much more experienced manager to rebuild that and there’s a whole list of clubs who’ve challenged one year, just missed out and then been relegated the next. So credit to him for not allowing that to happen and for signing, in oztumer, one of the finest players to grace bescot.
I hope he gets back into management with a reasonably stable club, learns from his mistakes at Walsall (and he made plenty) and has a great career. A fine servant to our club.
How does that prove that fans were wrong to want him out?
Whitney lumbered us with a squad that eventually got us relegated and messed up the chance to build on what was our best season in decades. Oztumer came because of what Smith built, not what Whitney was about to create.
There’s no doubting his service to the club, though and he undoubtedly helped bring our medical/physio department into the 21st century. I just wish the club could have seen the warning signs in 15/16 that he wasn’t the right man to lead us forward long-term…
Not at all. He was the wrong choice at the time because the job of rebuilding to that same level was far too big for him.
However, he rebuilt enough for us to be mid table in the first season and then mid table for most of the following season until a slide did occur toward the end but nothing on the scale of last season and, as he says, based on never losing 3 in a row, we would have stayed up, we could have thanked him for his great service and taken our time in getting a decent new manager in
Very above average season and then normality of mid table happened the next year with a weaker squad and people weren’t having it despite the team being top half for 3/4 of it.
Also lost pretty much all the good players from 15/16. In one summer Demetriou, Manton, Taylor and Henry, Downing, Bradshaw, Forde, Lalkovic and Sawyers all left. Now maybe they all had an extreme loathing of Whitney’s management style but given majority of them ended up at championship clubs I suspect they’d have left regardless as happened under Smith when Brandy, Grigg and Paterson all left within one summer.
For me 16/17 was perfectly acceptable season, no different to the vast majority of Smith years in how it played out albeit the pleasing on the eye style was pretty much eroded. Still he signed Oztumer who was joy to watch. Laird was also good pick up for that year.
Now 17/18 completely different and showed his weaknesses, tactically and man man management. Completely freezed out James O’Connor on eye of the season which was huge mistake given he was replaced by Guthrie. Then spent most of the budget on two mediocre FBs from Scotland, told them they would be in a 3-5-2 and then barely playing it. The odd good signing like Tyler Roberts was somehow on the bench for pretty much half the matches he was available.
I do think he’d have kept Walsall up if he’d lasted until May as DK only managed two wins and the odd draw and team stayed up before final game but his limitations have been exposed badly so only delaying the inevitable.
After the play off failure I do think any manager appointed would’ve been on hiding to nothing particularly with the restrictions.