Express & Star

Darren Byfield backs old pal Michael Flynn to be a winner at Walsall

Former Walsall striker Darren Byfield believes ‘winner’ Michael Flynn will get the team firing – just as the Welshman did as a player.


Flynn is gearing up for his first full season in charge of the Saddlers and has been busy building a new-look squad, having made 12 signings so far this summer.

Byfield, who made more than 150 appearances across two spells at Bescot, was a team-mate of Flynn’s at Gillingham and reckons he will get Walsall putting in the hard yards and performing to a high standard.

“It’s exciting times. I’ve seen a few of the signings,” said Byfield. “I know Flynny, he’ll be looking forward to the new season. I came down last season for a bit of co-commentary and before the game, I caught up with Michael.

“He was excited about it and knew what he wanted to do with the team – who was going to come in and leave, and so forth

“I played with him at Gillingham and he’s a good lad, a winner.

“He’ll try to bring all of those qualities he had as a player into his team and get them fighting from the first whistle until the last.”

Flynn, a former midfielder, played for Gillingham between 2005 and 2007.

Byfield, meanwhile, was there from 2004 until 2006 – between his two spells with the Saddlers – and is not surprised Flynn went down the management route after hanging up his boots.

“At the time, when you’re a player, you’re not always thinking about other players potentially being a manager,” added Byfield. “But when you stop playing and look back, you think ‘yes, because I could see how you were’.

“He’d always drive the team on. That’s how he was as a person and a player. He always wanted the best for the team. He gave his all in every game.”

Meanwhile, Walsall were edged out by League One side Barnsley in a training match at the Saddlers’ Essington base yesterday.

Devante Cole got the only goal of the game for the Tykes while some unnamed trialists were involved for Walsall. The Saddlers’ first official pre-season friendly is against Villa at Bescot next Saturday.