The Cumulative Effect of WFC

I’ll be doing my best to give it the remainder of this season, and next summer, to see how the land lies. There was never going to be any overnight revolution, and Pomlett deserves that at least, to demonstrate his intent, as I’m sure he didn’t anticipate drastic action being required in the very short term. But this is getting hard. Very, very hard.

It isn’t the fault of Darrell Clarke, his staff, or this group of players, that all the time since after Christmas in the year of the Oztumer-Jackson-Moussa team so closely resembled their first three months on the job, but they are in the position where they’ll get the brunt of it, because this is simply exhausting.

It isn’t just the moderately-perpetual downward spiral since Money resigned- it’s that the moments where it’s good don’t ultimately buck the trend. There have been probably 100,000 words written on these boards about Wembley, but Preston home and away were fantastic, but then there was that wet fart. There was a brilliant season (and it was a brilliant season), bookended by that abject surrender at Oakwell. Then there was a bolt from the blue on a Tuesday afternoon, and Pomlett standing, arms-folded, in front of the Homeserve, then Northampton, then the bouncing lower Homeserve and a thoroughly encouraging overall performance against FGR, and as I stood there basking in a welcome breath of fresh air… here we are less than three months later, and it’s Bescot-as-flat-as-a-pancake, winless runs, stupid penalties conceded every other week, players getting called out by the manager in the press, and January-can’t-come-quickly-enough, all over again. Different cast of characters, but the same old played-out tropes and dialogue from the scriptwriters. I’m so very, very weary from it all. I suspect I’m far from being alone in this sentiment.

That the stadium is showing its age, that the high roof/smaller lower than upper design of the Homeserve has proven detrimental, that the facilities and extra-curriculars are bare-minimum meets amateur hour, that the bitter is chilled within an inch of its life, and the Saddlers Club is standing desolate have all been covered on here at great length. The location of the ground and the haphazard parking situation don’t help. As such, the football on offer is a bigger difference maker at Walsall than it many, maybe even most, other grounds in the country. That the football has been various shades of awful for four years straight makes matchdays such a gargantuan chore.

I’m not a club insider, and I don’t know the budget. I don’t profess to know better than Darrell Clarke, Leigh Pomlett, Stefan Gamble, or Dan Mole. I have no idea if another manager would make a better fist of the here and now than the incumbent- that no-one, bar Dean Smith, since Richard Money has, makes me think “probably not”. However, my very amateur opinion is that we are dealing in ultimately limited footballers, and for those footballers to be constantly unsure of what role in what system they’re going to be thrust into from one 45-minutes of football to the next, let alone who 6 or 7 of the blokes around them in any one of half a dozen formations are likely to be this time next week, week after week, can only be a hindrance.

What I do know is that I have a hard job where I’ve recently been re-deployed. I have a young family. I have investments that I’ve struggled to keep viable for over a decade, since the economic downturn. I’ve re-entered academia, which is a huge drain on my time and cognitive capacity. I have no control over the fortunes of Walsall Football Club, but I ultimately do control how much of my overall resource I give it. The cumulative effect of the years means that, at the moment, it’s an absolute albatross, and that has a knock-on, negative effect on things that really do matter. It’s so draining having the same conversations, over and over every week, and week after week, with fans of other clubs at all levels, who naturally lack the contextual knowledge of Bonser, budgets etc.- “what happened to your lot on Saturday, mate?” “I noticed the tables at the weekend, and didn’t realise you were in so much trouble,” “I really expected your lot to be up there this (current) season,” “Well, you don’t really get the crowds, do you?” It’s even a burden in itself to feel this way, knowing that if you try and brush it off, the reaction will be “But it’s your club, you stick with them through the bad times, that’s what it’s all about.”

I want to see what Leigh Pomlett can do- he hasn’t had anything resembling chance yet. But it’s been death by a thousand paper cuts waiting for the next substitution, the next game, the next “top secret” signing, the next transfer window, the next season, the next manager. I hate feeling like this…. and I’m starting to think that I can’t let it be this important anymore, because it’s already been like this for too long.


Great post, agree whole-heartedly. Following Walsall has become a truly exhausting pursuit.


I think one of the hardest things is that many of us fell for the ‘Hollywood script’. Struggling team at its lowest ebb with a draconian owner that does not care gets replaced by local boy done good. Young manager with pedigree comes in and clears out the dead wood … the rest of the story wasn’t meant to go like this.


You’ve written pretty much the exact post I was gearing up to write this evening


With a heavy heart, I think I might be done.


Post of the season EvenFlow & very probably last season too.

My relationship with my beloved Saddlers is at an all time low. Hate to say it, but I’d rather be non league, with no rent cheque, playing well, building a future, than this dire/toxic ■■■■.


Great post.

Sad times. But that doesn’t mean we should be sad. We need to keep it about the people and the places with the football results and the table position of interest but not the be all and end all.

The club has been mismanaged over many years and what we are suffering now is an accelerated consequence of that mismanagement.

We will bottom out at some point. That u-bend must be close. I hope it is this season and I hope it is in the league. But it might not be.

It would be great if we could travel through it together but get that if folk don’t enjoy it that they knock it on the head for a bit. No point doing your weekend on something you don’t enjoy.

The saddest thing for me isn’t the league position, I think that was predictable, it is the unification and bounce we all felt at Northampton being decimated so quickly.

Take care @EvenFlow


Great post and puts into context exactly what so many of us are or have been through too…

What Jeff has so obviously done is to extract any equity from WFC in terms of finance (obviously) but also in respect of our ambition, our hope and ultimately our will to give what we can to try to keep supporting our club and keep it relevant both for ourselves and for future fans (albeit this is seemingly looking less likely as times pass…)

I feel sad that I no longer have the drive or desire to buy a ST - it almost feels like I’ve taken the easy option but equally, I feel relieved and that in itself makes me feel worse - it’s somehow feeling increasingly hard to justify trying to support WFC


Great post that echoes my thoughts. Season ticket holder since I was knee high in the Hibbitt years. There is literally nothing enjoyable about supporting Walsall right now. After years of taking flak from friends, it’s now I’m most embarrassed. As a result, despite buying a season ticket, I’m not making the 90 min round trip to games anymore. It depresses me and I can’t help but lose my temper with the talentless bunch Clarke has put together. The only thing that’s hard to predict is which player is going to almost singlehandly throw the game away a la Scarr/Sadler/Gaffney. That doesn’t help the team or me, so, I’ll stay at home and put some £ on Darlo turning us over next week. The ineptitude of those who have overseen the club and do so now is beyond belief. They may want to check DC’s track record over the last 100 games and then explain the logic behind a 3 year contract. I’ve no doubt he is hamstrung by a poor budget, but my God the football he is responsible for is the worst I can remember, including Merson, and that’s saying something. A pub team could beat us.


I’m the same, have a season ticket but can’t be bothered to go anymore. It’s too depressing. It is right, it does affect your whole weekend. You try to pretend it doesn’t matter but it does hurt.

Good post that reflects a lot of what I feel.

It really hit me today when my son, who usually flips his lid when we concede silly goals, just sat there with a look of defeated indifference on his face. Broke my heart a little bit.

I don’t know what chucking the towel in is, so I’m here for the duration, but I can understand why others have reached their limits.


I’m 48 and for the first time in my life, I just smiled when we conceded our first. Just kind of accepted it.


Evenflow ,It is a good post but I still maintain that if Clarke had managed to do half as good a job as he talks , then we would not be having these conversations .
I’m not saying that the obvious deep seated problems aren’t there they obviously are , but at least if Clarke had been able to put even a bang average team out it would have given everyone a little breathing space .
Unfortunately due to Clarkes seemingly complete ineptitude with his recruitment we now have the worst squad I’ve seen in over 50 years of supporting WFC.
Regards the current budget with out wishing to sound like some of the more shall we say outspoken posters I have it on good authority that it is at least average for this level

I HATE JEFF BONSER more than ever… Got out at just at the perfect time the ■■■■■■■ leech. (What do you think Chris Marsh).

Starting to think that Pomlett is just a stooge for Bonser


I never thought I’d get to this point but I am done with Walsall.

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He’s had 4 promotions in 8 years how dare you say things like that :rofl:

So am i mate after over 50 years, we are being taken for muggs, at least when we were losing in the 80’s 90’s early 00’s we were still playing football in the main, now i still think we are being run as a business, to pay one man, he will be a cloud over our club forever so ■■■■ him

Bonser and his asset stripping is the reason that our football club is in the mess it is now. It all boils down to money: Bonser has continually taken money out of the club that could have been used to consolidate in League 1. I think Dean Smith’s comments about Bonser reducing the budget by £200k each season are very illuminating. How can any manager achieve success under those conditions? Bonser’s legacy will live on long after his moving on - he got out when he had left us at rock bottom. He ain’t our saviour, never was.


In 15 or so words, the situation summed up.

20 years of ambition sapping Bonser leadership has left us accepting being next to bottom of the football league.

Stooge isn’t the correct word, but there are question marks about what is going on.

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