What Could have Have Been!

OK so Flynn has gone and football is full of ‘what ifs’ but I like many others were really excited when he first arrived. He turned the ship around after Taylor/Dutton and on paper he made some decent signings. Sadly though injury robbed us of his strongest 11 for long periods of the season and of course we all know what happened in January. Had the gods of fortune shined on us more favourably we could have had a very different year :

  1. Riley getting injured pre season was a massive loss. He is clearly a very good player at this level and if we had him available at the same time as Bennett we would have had a pair of formidable wing backs
  2. Earrings injury again was another big loss, he offers something different and as a consequence forced us into the continued use of ‘Comsella’ and the associated lack of creativity
  3. Mcentee. Again through pure bad luck injury robbed us of a very good defender that as part of a back 3 with Daniels and Monthe is more than good enough for L2. instead we had to make do with White who was being carried for large parts of the season as opposed to being an asset.
  4. Wilkinson not coming back as the same player. Whether this is down to attitude or physical issues I could not say for certain but a fit CW for the whole season would have given us more goals
  5. DJ ! If we had got the deal across the line I genuinely think we would have seen different recruitment and the squad would have been strengthened elsewhere as opposed to panic buying ‘the Matts’.
  6. The FA Cup … A bit of a leap but I think Leicester were there for the taking that day and having DJ in the side could have been enough to get us a result. The knock on being more money in the tin and better recruitment in Jan. Not to mention the feel good factor of making it even further in the cup.

Whilst I agree things went south for Flynn, the amount of draws and for large parts of the season a positive goal difference showed we were not a million miles away. I also stand by the fact that if what I would consider to be our strongest side, which would include Riley, Mcentee, Bennett and DJ was available for the majority of the season we would have had a very different year.

Yes Flynn’s recruitment was a bit scatter gun and towards the end he seemed to be void of new idea’s but I think both he and the fans were robbed of what could have been. Between the Mansfield chairman, Cambridge’s injury crisis, our own treatment room troubles and some genuinely bad luck 2022/23 can be filed under ‘what could have been’.


And that’s why, despite dire performances, if Flynn should have been given the start of next season
We’ll never know.


What IF:….

  1. We hadn’t had to rebuild almost the entire squad in the summer. Again.
  2. Our two best players hadn’t been on half season loans.
  3. We had 2/3 youth players coming through & in genuine contention to start.
  4. We had a decent fitness trainer, attacking coach.
  5. We had new blood in the boardroom who had football knowledge experience.
  6. We signed players early in the window & had a decent pre season.
  7. We instilled a football philosophy in our club.
  8. DJ had got injured a few weeks in, we’d have been in real trouble.

I like your post, as that’s football, but bottom line is IF we’d had Riley, Bennett, DJ, Wilkinson all season then Flynn would have a stood a chance of getting us into the playoffs; but he/we knew three of those would not be available all season.

As soon as we lost to Leicester the season was over, confidence in the squad plummeted & Flynn had no idea how to approach the team without its best players.

Whatever happens this off season, our success can’t be at the behest of parent clubs or the physio room, we need to plan accordingly.

0 top 10 finishes in 7 seasons
3 top 10 finishes in 16 seasons (since Dicky Dosh)
What IF we changed our approach


I like your optimism, but I don’t really agree.

  1. Not sure what evidence we have for Riley being a very good player at this level. If he were, he would stand out in our squad, but based on his appearances to date, he is no better than the rest.
  2. Earing was having a poor season before his injury, only selected to start 5 league matches, 6 sub appearances, no goals, no assists.
  3. McEntee has been tried at full back and centre half without success so far. He is now in midfield with mixed results.

All in all, I would say that we have had more good luck than bad luck this season. There was a spell at the end of last year when we were winning matches without playing well. We could easily be a lot closer to relegation than we are.


Pointless thread… what, ifs, buts…. At the end of the day as much as I wanted it to work out under Flynn it didn’t.


Focus on what we did have

Hayden White susceptible to balls over the top or switching off in the box

Manny Monthe prone to clumsy errors

No driving force in midfield no matter who is fit

Cart horse strikers

Flynn was the manager - his responsibility


What if- Flynn was a good tactical manager

Bit harsh, he was asked to play full back due to us having no other options and did a decent job. His CB appearances have been decent as well, I’d go as far in that he has been unlucky to be the one to be sacrificed due to the inability of Flynn to get things set up correctly from the start of the game. His move into a defensive midfield role against Salford was heralded as a sign that Sadler could adapt formation during the game due to it stopping us getting a foothold in the game.


White, Monthe with Daniels were a good back three. I do not think our disappointing season was done to them.

To be fair, he has only played twice in midfield and I thought he looked good there.


Flynn must be our unluckiest manager ever, since so many of our players lost form and got worse the longer they played for him.

McEntee was not successful at full back or centre half, but he is still young. As for midfield, I have seen a lot of praise for him there, but would have preferred to see a specialist midfielder, RAM, given more time.

McEntee is very young for a centre half. I think we have a good player given time and a manager that trusts him. A full pre season is vital for him.
Will be a centre half long term I think. Done ok in midfield but hopefully we sign someone in the summer for that position

I mean he got MoM on his full debut :man_shrugging:t3:

I’ve been watching Walsall since the late 80s

This is the worst Walsall side / period I can remember and White is our worst footballer by a country mile.

They are not a good back three at all. That back three was protected by two sitting midfielders most weeks.

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Part of the reason scoring goals wasn’t a strength…

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Agree. I don’t know if the two CMs was just Flynns thing or he knew that trusting the back 3 wasn’t something he could do so he shred it up with two sitters.

Seen other managers do it.

Simply, he is not. He is not the best and he has his faults but he is not so much worse than others.

As someone said on another thread, when players are disliked, fans ignore their good play and pounce on any mistake. With favourite players, they do the opposite.


I’ve never really rated White: I think he’s a very limited footballer but I’ve never booed him - it’s not his fault that he’s been given contracts with us.

As far as individual errors go and lack of accountability he is right up there. As for his behaviour and yellow card count - that’s in addition to his poor footballing displays

Didn’t flynn force him in to the Carlise dressing room to apologise after the FA cup fracas ? And then left him out for “internal discipline reasons”

Sounds like the ideal type of pro to
Have around

I agree about the disciplinary record. I do not recall too many of the goals conceded being down to him, though and he always seems keen to get forward and play the ball to feet when he can. As I said, not our best player but by no means the worst and certainly not worse by a “country mile”.


Youd be suprised how many goals are down to him

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