I think we should learn from our recent history.

In October to December 2012 we went 16 matches without even a single win. Fortunately we kept faith with our inexperienced manager.

In February to March 2014 we went 10 games without a single win and only had two wins in the last 18 matches of the 2013/14 season. There were plenty of calls for our manager to be sacked. Fortunately we did not, and the next season we had our first Wembley final, and the following season were looking good for promotion until the manager left.

Keates is not doing a great job, and has clearly made number of mistakes, but managing a League One side with our budget is not easy. I do not see any point in panicking.


Hmmm. I think we had seen enough outside of the losing streaks to offer us hope. Under Smith, there at least was the semblance of a plan. Can you honestly say that is the same now? It’s a mess, a squad high on quantity and low on quality, and as much as I see JB as the anti-christ you cant really blame him for that.
Keates has to take a level of responsibility for wasting the budget he had. Apart from Cook, who else has he signed that can be classed as a succes?


Things are going wrong now, and the mess that we are in is largely of Keates’ making. But it was also true of the losing runs during Dean Smith’s first two full seasons were caused by mistakes made by Smith. I think that there were signs in early part of this season that Keates can make a decent manager.

It is very unlikely that sacking Keates would bring about any improvement. It is more likely that Keates will learn from his mistakes and improve as a manager than that Bonser would choose some one better who would be able to make an impact and then set us up for a better season next year.


From what I can remember, Smith had a plan, 4-2-3-1 and he seemed to stick to this. Keates’ approach seems to smack a bit more of desperation - formation changes etc. Smith infuriated me at times, but he stuck to his plan and delivered. I honestly don’t see that same plan with keates, hence the Merson comparison. If he compares our defending to the “dog and duck” you’ll know it’s all over.


This is what I’ve been waiting for from Keates…quoted in the E&S “I’m a local lad, I’m accountable for it. And it hurts.". The first time I’ve seen him take his part of the blame.


Trouble is this run started in October and is threatening to stretch all the way to April. If that happens team has little chance of staying up and the board will know that.

DS team in 12/13 clicked spectacularly in gear in January 2013. I remember going up to Preston and the forward line of Brandy-Grigg-Paterson ripped to shreds a decent enough PNE team and that was start of a great run of beating some really good teams (Bournemouth were also beaten in that run).

That was probably my favourite season following Walsall. Team played some great stuff after xmas and weren’t far off play offs in the end.

13/14 was a little different. Team was actually in top 6 at end of the January and then fell away with that poor run, relegation was never a danger at any stage even if it was frustrating.

14/15 was actually more of a season where league form really stagnated and questions were starting to be seriously asked of Smith. Run to Wembley did shield him a bit that year.

Difference is would a win on Tuesday really herald any sort of decent run? Team desperately needs it but would shock me if it then went to Coventry and won and then beat Bradford.

The attraction of changing managers is of course short term gain. Teams always pick up the odd win or two and obviously doing that would get the team within sight of 50 points.


Both Dean Smith and Dean Keates made a lot of sackable offences, but former had some plan, vision or whatever how we called it, it was something that pushed team forward. The latter, well, probably doesn’t have that. Team stagnated, it looks like players are selected by accident, because there is no such thing as gameplan. Good results? New players, league haven’t known how to stop them or bad day. But when league learnt how to do it, there were no plan B. Maybe 22 man squad is some plan B idea, but it won’t work, when average players were signed. Maybe they are good, but lack of clear or good instructions make them average players or worse. That’s the real problem. Maybe Keates see being worse than Whitney at tactics, reading games, set good orders and similar as an achievement, I don’t know. But if yes, that’s really bad. Blackpool - Walsall last season, 10th February 2018. 30 games, 37 points, minus five gd link. This season one day earlier, 31 games and 35 points, minus fifteen gd link. It is really hard to find something optimistic about current season and recent results.


The attraction of changing managers is of course short term gain. Teams always pick up the odd win or two and obviously doing that would get the team within sight of 50 points.

Well it didn’t work last season did it? Sacking Whitney and appointing Keates made little or no difference to our form. In his nine games in charge last season we won 2, drew 2 and lost 5.


True, but we expected it to be better than that, and it should have been better than that.


Like others have said, I desperately want him to succeed. Smith was given a lot of time and a lot of chances during winless runs. Smith didn’t always change tactics/personel at the right times. He came good.

Maybe we need to afford Keates the same chances? Not sure how chopping and changing constantly has any benefits. Plus the club would then be paying Whitney, Keates plus a new manager.

He is very new to management. I think he needs an experienced head alongside him to show him the ropes.


I think Smith quickly established a feeling that we weren’t going down - either the upward trajectory of when he took over in the first season and the improvement shown in the later half of the second season - after that it was simply about style and the promotion chances.

I don’t get that with Keates. We’re going down at the moment, which seems absurd with Cook and Jarvis. This might pick up when the new players have bedded in a bit, but we may not have that luxury.


Like others have said, Smith had a plan and approach for the club from top to bottom that has now been obliterated.

I went to a number of pre-season games and struggled to see any resemblance of a plan that Keates was trying to implement. What I did see was him trying to keep the gap between the defence and the midfield tight in a bid to make us difficult to break down. Given our lack of clean sheets and goal difference that has been an abject failure!


This isn’t about how good or bad a manager we have, because we change managers every year or three. That hasn’t helped our avowed goal of championship status.

What hasn’t changed for thirty years is the dinosaur in charge of the board room. #timesupjeff


The last thing we need is the merry go round of picking a new manager.Look at the odd’s of getting in the right bloke in,Smith is the only one who has shone in the past few years,and there were times when he looked dodgy.I think Keates should be allowed to see his contract out.I don’t think Bonser would fancy having to pay his and his backroom staffs contracts up.I really am a great believer in relegated clubs getting a new lease of life.Look at Albion.


Wish people would stop thinking that if we stick by managers in really ■■■■ runs that it means we’ll have ourselves a new Dean Smith.

It doesn’t.


I agree Sid: it makes financial sense to keep him. Ironically, Oldham are a ‘League One’ side in League Two and the other ‘mainstays/constants’, Gillingham and Walsall, both look in danger now. At least we’re not Chesterfield and Notts County look in a mess too…

Hopefully, when Whitney’s players’ contracts run down and the vultures pick off the better players, we will have a nucleus of a decent team to rebuild.

If you look at the standard of manager in league one now, the standard is much higher than it used to be. Keates will be okay at league two level and if we were to get a Chambers replacement to skipper the side (Edwards is too good for league two and will leave) I am quite excited by the prospect of building a team around the spine of Liam Roberts, Dan Scarr and Korey, Dobson and hopefully Kinsella and then Candlin up top alongside a wily old journeyman like Darren Bent or someone of that ilk. Ironically, Jamie Ward and Candlin could be reminiscent of Wilson and Lightbourne, a time that I probably enjoyed being a Saddler more than ever.

Give some youth a run in league two and rebuild the team around the Keates image (as a player) of commitment, tenacity and energy. I genuinely feel sorry for Deano because the budget is not fit for purpose at league one level and he hasn’t got the nous of someone like Clough to cope (yet)…

I honestly think that 50% of the current squad won’t be at the club next year and I, for one, can’t wait to see the back of some of them…

It’s hard to admit, but I hate being a Walsall fan at the moment. If we have to go down to get some confidence back amongst the supporters, then so be it. A bit like the Villa and the Albion, it’s been stale at the higher level for too long. There is little to look forward to when we win about 20 to 30% of games every year. Since Wycombe, I think the percentage is nearer to 90% disappointment so it’s no wonder Deano tried to freshen things up in January.

But let’s be honest, in his heart of hearts, I think that Dean knows that he is rebuilding for life in league two; surely, if the club wanted to stay up, they would have bought in fewer players if proven league one pedigree.


For a club that apparently puts so much resource into developing young players our record of how we have treated some of them over the course of the last two seasons is inexplicably bad, and has to be down to the respective managers I’m afraid.

Roberts, decent young keeper, but we have literally left ourselves with no option other than to pick him even when out of form leaving him exposed to an obvious draining in confidence.

Kinsella, played out of position under the previous manager, and now dropped by a manager who you would think would be his perfect mentor. Allegedly offered peanuts on a short contract while other unproven players have been brought in on two and a half and three year deals.

Morris, playing his best football for a couple of years and scoring goals again, dropped by Keates and now seemingly on his way out.

Candlin, where do you start with this one? Its now two years since he was getting into the fringes of the first team having proved himself a natural finisher at all levels, resulting in England, yes frigging ENGLAND taking an interest in his development. Left to accumulate splinters in his aris under Whitney, and then shipped out on surely the most pointless loan in the history of Walsall FC under DK. He should have had a long loan at National League level last season in order to add experience to his obvious talent in readiness for his future role as our centre-forward.


Agree with all that apart from Morris way to inconsistent for me.


Yes Morris was inconsistent, but I think that’s wingers the world over. An on form Morris was a useful player to have in the squad, and I think if you can get 10 goals a season from a wide player or midfielder that’s a very decent contribution. Morris had notched 5 by early December, and has already opened his account for Tranmere.


I say keep but only because I don’t see any better option. There have been names touted but they are managers likely to demand far more than we are willing to spend.

We are still paying Whitney off according to the fan focus. Can’t see them paying Keates off as well and bringing in a manger that has any actual standing at this level. Whoever gets it will be in this same position next season unless they are exceptional, which seems unlikely.