Chris Marsh: Andy Cook just start of Walsall's recipe for success

By Chris Marsh | Walsall FC | Published:

It was encouraging to hear Dean Keates compare Walsall’s new signing Andy Cook with Andy Rammell.

Cook won at Wembley this month – let’s hope he’s back in a year

I could not have put it better myself and if he turns out to be half the player Rambo was, then the fans are going to love him.

We all know it is a big summer ahead for the Saddlers, but Cook’s signing is a really promising start.

Credit must go to Jeff Bonser and the board. I’ve been critical of them in the past, as regular readers will know! But they’ve acted swiftly to get this signing over the line and it bodes well for the weeks ahead.

There were several other clubs interested in Cook so bringing him in is undoubtedly a bit of a coup.

It would not surprise me now to see Dean go out and get another striker to play alongside him. I think two up front is the way he wants to go and if you look back through history, that tactic has usually brought Walsall success.

Way back when I started my career, the club had David Kelly and Trevor Christie up front. A few years after that, it was Kyle Lightbourne and Kevin Wilson, while under Ray Graydon we had Andy Rammell and several other partners.

Of course, 4-4-2 has gone a bit out of fashion in recent years. Yet while I love watching Pep Guardiola’s teams play, there is more than one way to get success. Leicester won the Premier League a couple of seasons ago playing two up top.

There are several ways of playing the system. Under Chris Nicholl, our set-up was very defence-minded but under Ray Graydon it was far more attacking, with the full-backs encouraged to push on and support the wingers.


In that respect it doesn’t surprise me Dean is looking at Zeli Ismail, or someone of that ilk to supply the crosses for Cook. I’m sure he’d love Erhun Oztumer to stick around and partner the big man in attack, though at the moment that looks highly unlikely.

On a slightly-related Saddlers note, I was at Wembley on Monday to see Coventry win promotion back by beating Exeter in the League Two play-off final.

My pal and former Walsall team-mate Adi Viveash is acting assistant boss to Mark Robins at the Sky Blues and I was delighted for him. It was a fantastic day out, with Coventry taking more than 40,000 fans down the M40 to London.

My only hope is I can be back at Wembley next May, only this time watching the Saddlers.


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