UpTheSaddlers Forum

Keates, Whitney, O'Driscoll, Hutchings, Mullen..how many more managers


…are we going to turn on, questioning anything from formation to recruitment, before we all, as one fanbase, turn our attentions to the main problem at Walsall FC? Sick and tired of the same debates about the team year after year as some poor bastard tries to turn the tide against the slow asset stripping at the club. The only one that was successful in recent times was Deano, and my god did he struggle in the first few years (with more than a few on here continually calling for his head, too!)

Why is Keates even in the role? Is it for footballing reasons? NO! He was brought in after yet another knee jerk reaction from the chairman when the early bird season ticket target was falling short, so despite many trigger points which he could have conceivably easily relieved Whitney of his duties, it came out of the blue when he realised that he would be hit in the pocket. Nothing to do with league position, he is more than happy with a 13th - 18th finish in League one every year. All to do with his profit margins being hit.

Another relegation battle awaits and although Keates has his faults this is our future under Bonser and his merry band of suited yes men. For every debate about 4-4-2 and other ■■■■■■■■ I just see a wasted thread turning away attentions from the real problem.

I saw on Facebook some guy saying getting Oztumer in showed ambition and we should lay off Bonser?! Is this the same Oztumer that can’t even get into crisis club Bolton’s ■■■■ team battling relegation? We’ve had it so bad for so long with these bunch of clowns we now believe that is AMBITION!

They say hell is repetition…this aint fun anymore is it guys?


Time for action Funk!


Yep Keates was the wrong man at the wrong time, he potentially needed 2 more years under his belt.

It’s a big ask demanding fans give every manager 2-3 seasons grace before producing a half decent team.


Especially considering some managers simply do not have and will never have the building capabilities that Dean Smith had.


Well task last season was to stay up and he did that…just.

Task this season is mid table without too much worry, was on course for that after Coventry at home before the results flatlined from Bradford.

Due to the opening 5-6 games there seems to be some sort of demand of a play off push? Or have I got that one wrong.

You have to remember the wins in that time came against Plymouth, Wimbledon, Gillingham and Rochdale, all below Walsall still in the league.

Hopefully that will be repeated in next few weeks otherwise the situation gets very desperate.

Edit: I backed the appointment at the time and still do. It’s no different to the Sloppies appointing Paul Hurst which worked very well for them last season. They’ve now appointed Sam Ricketts from Wrexham.

Stating the obvious but structure of the club means you need a miracle worker in charge to mount a serious promotion push. Last 3 years have rarely shown how good Dean Smith work was here.


And that’s the problem , unless he works a miracle in time he will be hounded out.

It’s a no win situation.


Who’s asking for miracles? All I want is a decent basic job done and he’s not performing to that level right now. 15 games, 13 points, 31 goals conceded. He has to do better than that, and you can’t say he’s stuck with Whitney’s defence because they let nothing like the same number of goals in last year.

That said, I feel a bit sorry for him because he’s the wrong man for the job as Whitney was before him. Whitney did really well with Smith’s team to turn around the debacle of O’Driscoll and get us to the playoffs. But when that team naturally fell apart at the end of that season, he was neither experienced or skillful enough to take on the major rebuilding job. Same for keates, he has come in on the back of us losing our best player for the last two seasons and has to rebuild. He’s not up to it yet.


Yep and like I say in the original post, Whitneys sacking and Deano’s appointment was ZERO to do with footballing reasons. It was a short sighted, reactionary knee jerk purely done to drive failing early bird season ticket sales; i.e. Bonsers cash cow. He couldn’t give a toss about the football or the long term effect.

Just keep that money coming in, there’s a good fanbase…


But it almost is a miracle isn’t it ? He is trying to out perform teams who have almost double his budget.

But ye I get your point , there has been absolutely no improvement so clearly the coaching is no better than the Whitney era.


Yes, I get your point as well.

Worse actually, facts prove that. But he’s one of our own so he’s getting an easier ride!

Actually, that last comment isn’t fair really, I loved keates as a player but he’s not up to it as a manager right now.


I can’t understand why people can’t realise this. EVERY decision Bonser makes is done in the best interests of Bonser. As long as the money continues to roll in to enable the rent cheque to be met then NOTHING else matters.


I think you’re both wrong on that. I believe he actually does care about the playing side…but that’s not his number one priority, the rent etc is.


Ultimately teams that finish somewhere in upper or lower mid table will have lengthy winless runs.

Think about teams that finished 6th in the play off on just over 70 points so that’s something like 21 wins and ten draws so less than 50% win ratio and that’s for a team that has succesful season.

Mid table teams generally win around 15 games so that’s 33% and you don’t win over 30 games in a season.

I think I’ll reserve judgement until start of feb. Huge 4 weeks ahead. Two wins against any of Gillingham, Wombles, Rochdale, Scunny and Plymouth and team is back on track for comfortable end of season. Would be on 40 points (assuming a draw or two in that run) and still have 15 games to get 10 more points.

Obviously less than that and things become much trickier.

Generally to me an optimistic target every pre season is 60 + points and a top 10 finish. Incredible how many times in last decade Walsall have failed to even achieve that even when they’ve only need 1 win out of last 3-4 games of a season to do it. Happened a few times under Smith and also Whitney in 16/17 when the team just gave up and lost meekly against Coventry, Vale and Franchise.


But anyone who comes in , manager / player or who ever , and wants to build a good future for his self , and

team like Smith did , will realise very quickly the only way to be successful , and push on with his career was to

leave this club which has no ambition or desire to move higher than where it is


But that appears to be because he only wants a quiet life , and nobody giving him grief while he milks the Club



“Agents are going to be phoning about, trying to get the most they can but we’re always going to be one of their last choices unfortunately. It’s what we’re about as a club”

Sounds like Keates is just as frustrated with the top brass as us. Maybe he underestimated the scale of the challenge?


No, I honestly don’t think so. It’s convenient to paint him as some kind of evil bond film baddie but the truth is I think he suffers from cognitive dissonance and actually believes what he says without acknowledging the huge role his rent plays in keeping us down. I think he still believes he deserves that money.


Whether its the highly unlikely scenario that he honestly does not realise that football has moved on since his early 90’s business model was implemented, or he is operating with the sole intention to asset strip the club until nothing is left; the overall damage to the football club is exactly the same.

I’m sick of second guessing his reasons for ‘operating’ the way he does - I just want him and his family out of the club as soon as possible.