Saddlers Social: Walsall fans have their say

By Liam Keen | Walsall FC | Published:

Walsall look to be in serious trouble at the wrong end of League Two. Here Saddlers fans give their thoughts on events at the Banks's Stadium.

Walsall fans' verdict

Chris Saunders

Another defeat and the slide continues, things are really starting to look worrying. This momentum and losing mindset are going to be tough to turn around and we need to turn it round and fast.

Worryingly this season we seem to be collecting injuries at a rate that would leave even Sister Dora overwhelmed.

Whether that is due to overloading of training ground work or injury prone players brought in does not really matter but it is simply harming us from playing any form of a settled side.

Younger players are playing with passion and energy but they cannot turn results around on their own and the more experienced players really need to come to the fore now and start performing.

This must start Saturday, we cannot lose in the first round of the cup, we have to go on a cup run and gain some feel good factor around the place.

I fear if we don’t get some feel good factor back and soon we could very well be in danger of the unthinkable happening and football league status being under serious threat.

Jon Taylor


January could be the biggest transfer window in the last decade and there’s a strong argument this is the biggest in the clubs history with the position we find ourselves in.

Trying to recruit players into a League 2 relegation battle will be a tough task and I am sure Clarke was telling players at the start of the season were aiming to bounce back to League 1.

This recruitment pitch will be entirely different to any incoming players and hardly an enticing one. Clarke’s strategy so far has been have a basis around youth with a smattering of experience which I agree with but hasn’t worked on this occasion as potentially more experience is required.

Our inability to score which was highlighted on Saturday with Gaffney being the biggest culprit showed the front line needs work.


The clean sheets have dried up as well. I think we will need to see some outgoings before any new players come in unless Pomlett digs into the coffers. Rome wasn’t built in a day and we are in rebuild mode, whilst the results and performances aren’t great we need to stick with Clarke otherwise the rebuild starts all over again with a new boss.

Stuart Cox

It’s not much fun being a Walsall fan right now. At the moment, we are looking around hoping there is at least one team that are worse than us.

The performance was better on Saturday and I felt we deserved at least a point. Again though, two defensive errors cost us the game.

I’m pretty sure Eoin Doyle won’t score an easier goal than that all season. Looking at the squad we have, I can’t help but think that Darrell Clarke should have combined the funds for five or six players to ensure that we got two or three of quality.

The problems seem to be deeper than that though. I assume that confidence is rock bottom in the dressing room and the fans are turning again (quite rightly). Back in the days when we were successful (remember them?) we had a settled side, everyone knew their job and everyone knew what to expect from each other. I don’t think that League 2 players are at the standard where you can ‘tinker’ every week to match the opposition.

Let’s face it, it hasn’t worked so far has it? Jeff Bonser stuck with Smith during a dreadful run of form a few years ago – 16 games without a win. Will Leigh Pomlett do the same? Darlington D-Day? Perhaps not, but it’s getting close.

Robert Dearn

I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said. 6 defeats in a row is very poor. However I still believe in Clarke. Despite this awful run we are on, I believe that he will turn it around. I feel sorry for him.

The last 2 games has seen a miss each game that we should be scoring, and if we did, the season looks different. I don’t know what more he can say post-match either. Fans give some stick about him saying the same thing, but what else can be said? He knows we need to win, he knows were not playing well and making mistakes. I didn’t think we would beat Swindon, its a tough place to go to right now.

Saturday is a must win, for confidence, and also the monetary gain that can come with each round. I hope that Clarke fields a strong team, but also a team with players coming back from injuries too. Kory (Roberts), (Caolan) Lavery, (James) Clarke and (Shay) Facey should be playing in my opinion. They need the game time and an FA Cup game followed by our favourite trophy must be utilised for this.

Dan Price

I said last week that November would be a crucial month for us in the long run, With another defeat on Saturday its clear the Cambridge and especially the Stevenage game are going to be huge in the context of the season.

If we pick up no points in those 2 games I’m pretty certain that it will leave us bottom of the football league come December. New chairman, New manager and background staff, numerous ins and outs in the player pool was always going to create a risk but never did I think that we would have the worst form in league 2 and now be in our worst league position for over 30 years!

Touching on the above point the amount of ins and outs still isn’t enough for us to sustain efl football this year so January’s transfer window now becomes even more important, I think we definitely need quality over quantity with a prolific goal scorer being very high on the agenda.

I think the issue we will have will be how many efl strikers of that calibre will not be wanting to join a relegation threatened team in January ? the flip side is we find a non-league gem who will adapt to the EFL like a duck to water .. Either way we have to find that player from somewhere.

Jack Talbot

Another game, and another defeat. Last week I said that relegation was unlikely due to there being far worse teams in this league but I am starting to doubt myself now.

When will this horrid run of form end? Just over 3 years ago we was flying high and just missed out on promotion to the Championship, now we are potentially about to drop out of the football league to play ‘part time’ football. Next up is a home FA Cup tie against in form national league north side, Darlington. How do we approach this game?

Do we rest some players for the league to try and get our season back on track but risk of a shock and potentially losing out on some prize money, or do we put out our strongest side and try and get some confidence back into them with a potential win.

It is quite obvious that the confidence of our squad is at rock bottom so playing our strongest side is a must to get this back.

James Kenealey

LLLLLL. 22nd in the fourth tier. How did it come to this? It came to this because for well over a decade the club has been completely rudderless, underfunded, lacking in purpose besides existing to fulfil a financial obligation.

It came to this because rapidly dwindling supporters have been bereft of hope - that invaluable commodity that drives people to keep standing in the cold every Saturday - for half a generation.

What reason does anyone below the age of 20 have to support Walsall? The 12 years before 2007 had ups and downs, excitement, FOUR promotion seasons.

The last 12 years? One beautifully bittersweet near miss, one relegation, one gradual decline. It came to this because our lord and saviour slashed budgets year-on-year even as those green shoots of hope started to appear… all while trousering his millions.

It came to this because we’ve ultimately been hamstrung into oblivion, never really likely even with the very best of managers to achieve any moderate success.

It came to this because football has moved on. We haven’t. Walsall Football Club, that modest, once seemingly perennial third tier entity with dogged dreams of another shot at something good, seemingly cannot compete anymore, even in League Two.

The rot started long ago and, as is true with any pernicious disease without remedy, has caught up with us in the end. I really fear this could be the year that we drop out of the Football League like those that who once our peers; Stockport, Wrexham, Notts County. But worse than that? I’m falling out of love with it all.

Nick Etheridge

Another weekend, another defensive error and another defeat. At the moment it feels like the squad are forming a queue as to who is going to make a costly error.

It's here that I have sympathy for Darrell Clarke. You can work on formations, tactics, finishing and defending all you like, but there is no way that you can plan for individual errors.

It's not as though these errors have been confined to the last six games either. As early as our first home game of the season we saw James Clarke make an error leading to a penalty, and it seems to have really spiralled from there. 108

If the team can cut these errors out then it gives us a fighting chance of starting to pick up wins. Over the last couple of games we have at least been creating chances, which is something that couldn't be said earlier in the season.

With Gaffney and Adebayo both scoring in the last two weeks, hopefully they will now be more relaxed in front of goal, and with Caolan Lavery returning , who I believe is our most natural goalscorer we should start seeing an upturn in results.

Ian Newbold

Is Darrell Clarke doing a Graydon? Ray Graydon worked wonders here at the Bescot. He oversaw two unlikely promotions to Division Two, or whatever it was called at the time.

Proper Roy, or Ray, of the Rovers stuff. Operating on a shoe-string budget he assembled a slim squad of undesirables that managed to pull off some of the most unlikely football promotions of the last few decades.

Despite a sad ending to his reign, Sir Ray is held in the highest regard amongst Walsall fans, and rightly so.

Then he went to Bristol Rovers. The Pirates were playing in the League’s basement at the time, but Graydon couldn’t rejuvenate Rovers in the same way he had ignited the Saddlers.

They finished a lowly 20th in his first full season, and he only made it to January the next season before being dismissed. Bristol Rovers fans were probably left scratching their heads as to why he was so revered by Walsall fans and yet so disappointing for them.

They say the football was turgid and results likewise. Perhaps how many Saddlers fans are feeling about Bristol Rovers legend Darrell Clarke right now. I do hope things aren’t happening in reverse here, Clarke doing a Graydon, but at the moment the signs aren’t great.

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter - @LiamKeen_Star

Sports journalist at the Express & Star, primarily covering Walsall FC and grassroots sport across the Black Country and Staffordshire. Got a story? Get in touch on 01902 319456.

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