Saddlers fans buying into Smith’s philosophy

Value for money is important in today’s cash crisis.

Dean Smith/Walsall Mgr decides who will take the spot kicks

The clamour for results is only ahead of the desire to be entertained as Walsall try to strike a balance.

And in yesterday’s survey on match-day prices the Saddlers proved they are one of the most competitive.

They offer the third cheapest season ticket in League One at £215 – behind Hartlepool (£155) and Leyton Orient (£200) – while their most expensive is £290.

A season ticket at Colchester is a staggering £357 while Bournemouth, who Walsall beat 2-1 last month, are the most expensive in the league at £361.

Tomorrow’s visitors Crewe offer a season ticket for £275 after being promoted from League Two last season.

The Saddlers still offer free football to under-18s after being the first club in the Football League to introduce the scheme two seasons ago while the cheapest match-day ticket on offer at the Banks’s Stadium is £17.50.

With Dean Smith’s style, fans have been convinced the Saddlers are on the up and the manager is delighted with the personal endorsement.

“I got stopped in the petrol station filling up in the week by someone who said they were at Shrewsbury and they were coming again tomorrow,” he said.

“They said to keep it going because it was some of the best football they’d seen for a long time. It’s really pleasing we’ve got supporters who are as understanding as that because we have lost three games on the spin in the league.

“Sometimes that can be a little bit grinding for fans because it’s a results-based industry but they can see we’re heading in the right direction.

“They can see a project is going on at the football club. We want to win football games but we want to play a style of football which the fans can identify with and a group of players they can identify with.

“The football club have always done very well in the ticket department and they had the kids for a quid scheme a couple of seasons ago.

“They know it’s an area which has been hit in the economic crisis and they’re looking to help the general public go and watch the games.

“We’ve got a good standard of supporters and loyal fans who come every week and it’s much appreciated from everyone at the club. Their backing is really important.

“It was great on Sunday, it was a pity they never had anything to cheer because their support was fantastic from start to finish.”

Smith insists his men have moved on from the weekend defeat as they prepare to welcome Crewe with the manager keen to emulate the visitors’ production line.

They sold Nick Powell to Manchester United for £4m in the summer and also banked £3m from Norwich for Dean Ashton in 2005.

He said: “It’s club who have produced a lot of players and have had a style of play which has been associated with the football club for a long time. Hopefully we can emulate that.

“Let’s hope people are talking about our football club in the same sort of tone as Crewe in a couple of years.”