UpTheSaddlers Forum

Walsall FC - My View


Yeh but scousers can’t afford/don’t want to watch Liverpool with iPad wielding tourists on day trips


As @P.T mentioned, all the clubs that have gone down in order to rid themselves of what they deem to be the problem, often a rogue owner, generally come back strong off the pitch. The whole idea of taking one step back to take two forward is near the mark.

Luton are a prime example. But even some of the clubs that were relegated and are still non league are now commanding larger crowds than they ever did when they were a league club. Wrexham are fan owned - what was the crowd on Boxing Day? 8k? As a league club they would often struggle to scrape above 3k.

The feeling that you are contributing to a community effort instead of into one mans pension fund gives you that natural momentum and community feel. Will we ever have that feeling back?!


Exactly Funk. League tables are used for everything these days. Schools, hospitals, everything. That’s because league tables are seen as an objective measure of relative success.

But league tables are naturally flawed because they offer only a singular measure. Things like exam results or waiting times don’t necassarily tell the story of “what it is like” and miss other important, maybe more subjective variables.

Walsall FC have become centred around coming 12th in a league table and because that is the singular measure that gets in the papers every day, many define success by those tables only.

To me, the thing about supporting a lower league club like ours isn’t the pots and pans that the team stick on the shelf from time to time. If it were, why would we bother? To me it is that sense of community, the notion of the underdog who tenaciously fights and scraps against the odds to ensure it can walk with pride, dignity and integrity. Those characteristics demand togetherness and a single-mindedness whereby the sum of that community effort will from time to time realise exceptional results and great days/nights.

“Oh, but we don’t want to become a Stockport” is the 2019 version of “go and support Luton, Bournemouth or Rotherham”. And what is so wrong with Stockport other than looking at them through the myopic view of a league pyramid? That’ll be the Stockport who despite that lowly league status still draw bigger crowds than they did through the 80’s. The Stockport who’s fans on Boxing Day could decide up to the last minute whether they fancied paying their £15/£10/£5 pay on the day entrance fee to see their local derby against Altrincham. And guess what? As many of them turned up as Walsall fans did for our big “Category A” League One clash with Bristol Rovers on the same day. That they won and therefore enjoyed their Boxing Day football more than any of us is kind of beside the point but I’d guess none of them would have swapped with any of us that day. But no “we don’t want to become a Stockport” - the current poster child for the worst than can happen that by the looks of it actually isn’t that bad. And we all know that their gears will start to click soon, the community will back them in comparatively large numbers and at some point in the next decade we will be playing them in a league game whilst pointing at another “worst case” scenario club based upon a league table. If i were a betting man I’d wager a fourth division clash in five years time whilst being told we should be grateful we’re not Bury or Notts County “cos leagues”.


Bang on, fantastic post.


Excellent post.


Great post P.T…your 4th paragraph sums it up for me. I do part company with you slightly on the comparison with Stockport. If you think that most supporters would be happy for a spell in Conference North then I think you wrong even if we became a community club. I know one or two fans of Stockport and it hurts them that they no longer play the likes of us and many other teams in our league.I am sure they would swop their position wth ours tomorrow. So this idealistic notion that they are happy to be where they are is not correct.
You know from my previous posts that I agree change is really needed badly at our Club but I would hope we can bring that about by retaining out present status.


I largely agree but it’s not just “cos league tables”. Sure you might not think Bristol Rovers at home is a glamour fixture but they’ve got Truro City coming up in a few weeks, Wow. Or how about a massive away day against Guiseley in a few weeks?

On the other hand we have got an FA Cup 3rd round tie coming up which could have been against genuinely glamorous opposition if for nothing but luck. We’ve got Sunderland away still to come. And people complain about a lack of local derbies at this level but I’ll take Burton, Shrewsbury and Coventry over Telford, Leamington and Nuneaton any day.

You are right, on the whole, we shouldn’t “fear” becoming a lesser club for the sake of investment, but there are genuine negatives to that scenario. They shouldn’t be underplayed.


I have no idea what point you’re even trying to make there?

Have you blown your WFC Employee cover by making an undisclosed point?



Simply that the warning of “becoming a Stockport” is more than just dropping down a few leagues.

It’s crap attendances for crap games. I can’t see us getting the same crowds as Stockport.

It’s a drop in everything from ticket income to sponsorship to TV deals.

It’s a massive trek back to where we currently are now, 4 divisions above.

I can completely sympathise with anybody that doesn’t want to “become a Stockport” and it’s not just because of being in a different league table. Those tables are full of ■■■■ teams I don’t want to travel too. It’s easy to become disenchanted with how things are and the monotony of it all but I’d rather be playing the teams I listed above than the ones Stockport have coming up. But that doesn’t excuse the lack of investment we see today to be fair


This season is in danger of being a repeat of last season: mid-January and all we have to look forward to is a relegation fight. Lots of supporters are peed off with what’s happening at the Banks’s but if the team had built on the good start and were in the play-off positions I’m sure we’d all feel differently. At the end of the day, I can put up with a drafty bar and smelly toilets if we are winning. I don’t like Bonser, “he’s not our messiah, he’s a very naughty (rich) boy!”. But, a lot of the blame this season has to be put on the players like Ismail, Martin, Morris, Wilson and Osborne (and Roberts based on recent performances) who have just not been good enough. On paper, we look a decent side, but the non-league defending where we gift teams a goal or two is killing us - got to blame Keates and his coaching team for that. What’s the solution? Ship out some deadwood over the next few weeks and bring in some defenders who can actually defend.


How do you build a good team?


I get that. It wouldn’t be dissimilar to Sunderland fans looking at Leeds six or seven years ago. I’m sure lots of their fans would have been holding Leeds up as an example of how bad things could be versus relative Premier League stability. The equivalent being “give me Manchester United or Liverpool over the likes of Walsall, Shrewsbury or Gillingham” and based upon league tables, the normalised view of status and what “good and bad” footballing experiences might be. Anfield Versus Bescot - no contest right, not to mention all that other stuff you mention - the television money etc etc.

But when they find themselves here I think they have found a reconnection with the game. With “that” feeling that you can’t describe to people who don’t get what being a football fan is about. So when they scored a last gasp equaliser at our place, a place which to them would have been a relative backwater only a couple of years ago, there were scenes of unbridled joy, delight, ecstasy - for an equaliser- at Walsall! I remember similar scenes when Manchester City also equalised at our place twenty years ago. More joy than I saw when they took an actual lead against Barcelona a couple of seasons ago and certainly more joy than when they put number four past another side hoping to finish fourth bottom where getting up to politely clap seems like a real effort. Based upon relative League status those emotions, that joy were the wrong way round - but that is actually the essence of this beautifully illogical and yet confoundingly simple game.

Could I see us pitch invading at Truro following a last gasp equaliser? From here, now - possibly not but if you felt that it was a goal that was symptomatic of us having reached rock bottom and turning the corner then I actually think we’d have a pretty decent dance because that feeling is a has a sense of wonderment that transcends finishing 12th in the third division.


PT you just ‘get it’ dont you? Brill post.:wink:


I mean, there were people on the pitch against Cov a few weekends ago. I don’t think a re-connection with the game is what’s needed here. I certainly still love going to watch us, particularly away and particularly in special games. It’s one of the reasons I won’t be protesting at Bolton. I’ll be far too busy enjoying myself.

But then maybe I’m in the minority, I don’t know. And there’s certainly something to be said for still enjoying football whatever the level and whatever the opposition.

i just wouldn’t like to downplay the other side of that coin. There are things the club can do without “becoming a Stockport”. Our illustrious owner giving his favourite club a rent break for example or reinvesting some of the 6 million pounds raised from “Football and Commercial income” (not rumour and inuendo, an actual figure from the 2016/17 accounts) in the team. Or scrapping the “50 percent team 50 percent infrastructure” policy that theoretically halves the value of our playing side every time we sell a player. Or actually even reinvesting those fees in the first place. Even if you half the fees we have received in the last 4 season I fail to see where that has been reinvested in the playing side.

There are things this club can do without having to look at Stockport and think “well it’s not all that bad”. None of those things create a loss in the accounts. My problem isn’t that we don’t throw money at the situation and risk becoming a Stockport. it’s that we don’t reinvest what we should do to begin with.


Possibly a very simple view on the 50/50 split, but didn’t Keates get rid of everyone last season? Working well.


And rumour is he wants to get rid of the rest of them this summer haha.


Of course, the most unpalatable culmination is that the club limps on in the horrific wasteland of League Two. Not quite bad enough to go down and get a fun ride on the non-league journey, but not challenging productively either. Crowds dwindle further and ‘the feeling’ reduced to trying to best Crewe twice a season.

Basically, football purgatory.


I think the point is, the way we are heading we will be in League 2 before long anyway. No-one wants, or aims, to be in the Conference but if we break the current model it is a risk (if a new chairman comes in and its a disaster). But, should that become a reality, it would not mean the end of the club.

Anyway, hopefully a decent chairman could come in, keep us at league 1 level with some investment in facilities and a sensible plan to reconnect with the community.


Let’s not will ourselves into a lower league with no plan about the future is my point. We may be stuck there far, far longer than anyone would like.

League one is still one promotion from the championship. Far better to find a solution and retain our place in it.


I think anyone supporting a protest should know there are some risks attached,and have chance to evaluate them. Rather like another subject debated on here, we don’t want people suddenly being told they voted to be worse off ,without actually realising it.