Your Favourite Pre-Season Friendlies?

At both Bescot Stadium and Fellows Park (if you are old enough to remember!)

At our current home, the 2-1 success against Aston Villa in 2003 is a stand out one. Villa fans had the chance to cheer on former Holt End fave Paul Merson whilst for many Saddlers fans it was the first sight of Merse in our colours.

It was an encouraging display by Walsall who ran out 2-1 winners with Merse getting one of our goals. His departure on 73 minutes saw a standing ovation from all four sides of the ground.

Another stand out for me was a 2-1 win at Fellows Park against Joe Mercer’s Manchester City in 1966. Allan Baker and Jimmy Murray notched our goals. This game marked the first of the new look ‘Saddlers News’ replacing the little red books of the previous season’s programmes.

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Does anyone recall a friendly played against the Malawi national team at Hednesford? One of our more bizarre pre-season outings, pretty sure we played India at some point, too.

I don’t remember those but I do remember us beating Singapore 7-1 at Fellows Park in the early seventies. Hat-trick from a kid called Brian Beresford, and debut by another Brian (Caswell)

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Never been to a friendly. Waste of time and money.

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How is life down on Jollity Farm?
Have you ever thought of dropping the ‘k’ from your user name?

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I didn’t attend the game myself @simon but I remember us playing against Malawi national team at Hednesford in 2002. Junior and Corica on target. The Indian National XI game was the previous
summer with a 2-0 win thanks to Jorge and Daz Byfield.

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That was a strange choice of opponent at the time, @cookyskid I remember that game as it included a rare goal from Frank Gregg. For some reason though it was played a day or so after the final game of 71-2.

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Villa away in 1988 for Alan Evans testimonial was an enjoyable evening.

Seeing Liam Brady play for us against ■■■■■■ in 1989 was also good (Mark Rees testimonial?).

Peter Hart’s testimonial and the final goodbye to Fellows Park. :sob:

The centenary game in April 1988 against United when Fergie brought a full strength side.

Four games from an era when there used to be lots of testimonials and a manager treating a lower league club with respect. Friendlies yes, but still occasions to look forward to and remember fondly.

Bosman all but killed the testimonial and the all consuming Premier League killed everything else. In fact that centenary game was treated with more respect by Fergie than most top five PL managers now treat the two domestic cup competitions.

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Not pre-season, but I was at these friendlies:
29 Oct 1965 Walsall v St Gallen. We won 8-0.
8 Dec 1965 Walsall v Moscow Dynamo.
Lost 5-0.
19 April 1966 Walsall v Valkeakosken Haka. Won 8-0.

Happy days.

How do you know they are a waste of time and money if you have never attended ?
I am intrigued.

I just missed out on those you mentioned @hkpete but the following season saw the one against Slovan Bratislava.

You are probably right @Fellows1926 it was post-season rather than pre-season. Odd.

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An unusual occurrence in 68-9 - We had TWO home friendlies against Aston Villa that season. One in August and one in February. The latter being a splendid gesture from AV to help out with a cash flow crisis. A 3-0 win and a near 7,500 gate meant everyone in the Walsall camp went home happy.

About 1k Walsall fans, pedestrian football and the outcome having no bearing at all on the season we are about to have. Not something I would spend my money on, just a personal thing. Sounds like it may have been a different experience historically.

Actually I tell a lie, I went to one friendly, Weymouth vs Reading the pre season after we had beaten Reading at the Millenium Stadium. Went in my Walsall shirt and received a number of threats from the plastic cockneys and gave Martin Butler some good natured banter outside - now, that was a top day…

I went to a Reading game at the end of last season. Couldn’t resist voting Tony Rougier as player of the year.


Wasn’t Lev Yashin in goal for Moscow Dynamo?


Yes, I forgot about that one. I think we won 3-1, but can’t be sure.


Terrific programme that @hkpete including a pic of Allan Clarke with Alf Ramsey. 3-1 was indeed the score with Taylor, Middleton, Kirby getting our goals.



HKPete mentioned our 8-0 friendly wins against St Gallen and Valkeakosken Haka. Both of those have moved on to play in the EUFA Cup and the Champions League!