Ray Graydon backs Darrell Clarke to make his Walsall mark
Club legend Ray Graydon believes the pre-season trip to Poland will allow new boss Darrell Clarke to really stamp his authority on Walsall’s squad.
Graydon famously won promotion with the Saddlers to what is now the Championship in 1999 and 2001. Prior to both those success, he took his team on pre-season tours of Scotland. And the 71-year-old believes it is on those getaways that a manager can really get his ideas across. “Both trips to Scotland were very interesting,” Graydon said.
“They both gave me the opportunity to be very strong with everybody I had.
“While we were away I laid down exactly what I expected in terms of behaviour. That was needed and that is what I’m sure Clarke will now do.
“People think they are going away to enjoy themselves but, as a manager, it’s actually your chance to start what you want to carry on. You have to be strong enough so that you can get your ideas into the players, they then have to be strong enough to take them on board. But Clarke seems a very strong character. I believe Walsall’s players will come back knowing exactly what is expected from them.”
Graydon believes Clarke’s patience will be tested while the team is away. But the legendary manager feels that will be a good thing.
“You are together all day and all evening while you are away,” the 71-year-old continued. “It’s a group of professional footballers and you are probably going to have one or two who step out of line.
“The manager has to be ready to deal with that. And if you sort out those problems early you can set yourself up for a fantastic season.
“If you have that team spirit, if everyone bonds together and if you have that discipline – if all those things come together that is how you build a successful side.”