Saddlers Social: Walsall fans have their say

By Liam Keen | Walsall FC | Published:

Walsall fans have their say after another week at the Banks's Stadium.

Saddlers Social

Stuart Cox

Ouch. There’s no papering over that - it was a very poor performance with players struggling to get the basic things right, no creativity, poor defending and lumped balls forward.

I’ve said it many a time but Clarke is NOT a full back. He was beaten far too easily for their opener and really should only be used as a centre half and not shoe-horned in as if he has some kind of deal with the manager that he must play every week or the world will implode. At least DC admitted that he should have played Norman there and, given that Norman has played very well recently I can’t understand why he didn’t do that anyway (apart from the world imploding issue).

I’m sure there were three different formations played during the game, none of which were very effective - 4-4-2, 4-5-1, 3-4-3 - basically any random numbers that add up to 10.

I know football has moved on since the Nicholl/Graydon days, but back then everyone knew their job in what was a fairly consistent formation. Some of these formations are too much for League Two players who are often technically limited. Let’s go back to 4-4-2 and stick with it.

Get a proper winger for the right hand side, another striker who is different to Gordon and Lavery who can actually play alongside one of them and put the ball in the net. Stick with two centre halves and two full-backs and play players in their preferred position.

This league is pretty poor and we are making everyone other team who actually know what they’re doing look good.

Ian Newbold


One thing defeat on Saturday might have done is give us a timely dose of reality and sharpen minds ahead of the fans’ forum this week.

The optimism generated of recent weeks has been fantastic, but it may have given our Chairman and Manager an easier ride from a happier fan base. Not that I’m saying they deserve a hard time, somewhere between a Lorraine Kelly interview and the Spanish Inquisition would be about right.

I’m sure we'll get the same impossible to answer questions. Why does every player come back for corners? When will we get chips in all the kiosks? When are we buying the freehold? How can the £1 a ticket 50/50 draw end up with £184.36 prize?

I’m also expecting some new ones. Is the Chairman taking any form of remuneration from the club? How many players are we signing this window? Can you replace the awful half-time entertainment?


Be good to know what progress we think we’ve made as a club, and perhaps more importantly, how that’s being measured and benchmarked both on and off the pitch.

Rob Harvey

Well we were all brought back down to Earth with the result against Cheltenham. It shows that we are actually a mid-table League Two side at the minute, which given the amount of incomings and outgoings in the summer, is OK for this season.

With the transfer window being open, it will be interested to see the kind of business we do. Will we try and bring in the signings for a push at the play-offs this season? Or will we bring people in with a view to next season? We need to do something, that much is clear.

I was thinking over the weekend, this season is one of very few in my time supporting Walsall that is a bit of a nothing season. There’s usually been something happening, whether fighting for promotion or to avoid relegation, but given the state of the League at the moment we are in no danger of going down and we don’t seem consistent enough to challenge the play-offs. In a weird way it’s nice not to have to worry too much, although I’d much prefer to have something to fight for.

We now look ahead to the next three games and I think we could get nine points if we turn up, seven if I’m being a bit optimistic. I think the game against Crawley poses the biggest challenge on paper. Let’s see what happens!

Jon Taylor

Saturday was one of those games where we were just not at the races (terrible joke)and we’re beaten by the better team. We were second best across the park which after some positive results and performances was difficult to understand. The tactics were reminiscent of days under Keates where we hooded the ball aimlessly and had no real sense of purpose of how we were going to play. I still dream of a play-off run but I would be pleased with a mid table finish after our free fall the past couple of seasons and the beginning of this one and build for a true promotion push next season.

So we’re pretty much half way through the window and Wes’s contract aside we have made no moves in the window so far. Whilst by no means am I expecting a plethora of players through the door I was expecting a couple of fresh faces to fill our need especially another winger. Admittedly we are not an attractive proposition as the table stands and in precious seasons we have seen the likes of Shaibu, Ngoy, Bielik and Oteh but we have also seen Some quality arrive in Jan in the form of Fitzwater, Hiwula and Evans arrive in Jan who have been solid players.

Let’s hope we get to see a couple of fresh faces to make a positive end to the season.

Chris Saunders

So Cheltenham rolled us over but for me it’s not the end of the world or reason to panic. I know it’s frustrating and we all want to get back to League One as quickly as possible but it’s not all doom and gloom.

We need to respond in the next game and with the addition of just a couple of players we can still finish the season competitively but we must also not panic recruit. As a squad we would not be anywhere near the standard required for League One currently and just recruiting for the sake of it will not change that.

This window is perfect for a few tweaks to add to the spine we have but each one must improve on what we already have. We must also not hamper the progress of the promising younger players and if we get January right we will look much stronger long term for it.

Robert Dearn

Saturday was very disappointing. The last couple of months have seen a real upturn in form, but so in performances. We have fought, battled and grafted in every game. For me, that was what was the worst part about Saturday. We didn't have that fight about us.

I think this week will give the boys and DC chance to rest a little. For the first time in about a month we do not have a midweek game, and it has shown. The squad has been hit with injury and the odd suspension, which is makes it difficult to effectively rotate.

Were awaiting our first signing of the market, and many fans will be wanting reinforcements in ASAP. Personally, I would rather wait to get the right player than sign some January howlers that we have done previously.

James Kenealey

I didn’t go to Cheltenham but by all accounts we were poor and second in every respect. While I’d have snapped your hand off for a draw before the game, I didn’t expect the defeat to be quite so emphatic.

I read a comment online about the idea that the Cheltenham project is a year further advanced than ours and it shows. I think this is exactly right. The measure of our progress as a club will be when we play a similar fixture in 12 months time.

Just in the same was that nobody should have gotten carried away about back-to-back wins and a pretty decent run of form, nobody should get carried away by a poor performance and a clear defeat away to a side who are almost definitely going to be up there at the end of the season.

A good chance to regain form comes this weekend at home to a side just a point behind us. It’ll be interesting to see what the line-up is given reports that one or two manager favourites didn’t perform well.

In my opinion, the last two results have exactly summed up where we are as a club right now. Slightly better than lower-mid table League Two (Leyton Orient and Salford) but a significant way off challenging for anything more than that.

I’m fine with that for now.

Dan Price

Hoping Saturday was just a hangover and not the start of a slump, Cheltenham were by far the better team on the day and any other result than a home win would have been unfair. We looked a little jaded and tired with again team selection leaving a little to be desired based on players “availability“, also Saturday saw me at times questioning what formation we were playing and who was playing where.

Admittedly I wasn’t playing so didn’t need to know who was playing where, but again is player loyalty driving players to play out of position rather than players play their specific position, maybe just my thoughts?

As above I think it’s a hangover and Saturday will see us bounce back, based on stats on social media if we can improve on either our home form or/and second half form then we could really push on this second half of the season. In regards to transfers there’s just over two weeks left I’m thinking at least two in and two out with a wide player and forward being the incoming, probably a little hopeful but let’s see what happens.

Liam Keen

By Liam Keen
Sports Reporter

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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