Walsall F.C.

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Walsall F.C.
Logo is 2007–2016
Full name Walsall Football Club
Nickname(s) The Saddlers
Founded 1888; 129 years ago (1888)
(as Walsall Town Swifts)
Ground Bescot Stadium
Ground Capacity 11,300
Chairman Jeff Bonser
Manager Jon Whitney
League League One
2016–17 League One, 14th
Website Club website
Current season

Walsall Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Walsall, West Midlands, England. The team play in League One, the third tier in the English football league system.

The club was founded in 1888 as Walsall Town Swifts, an amalgamation of Walsall Town F.C. and Walsall Swifts F.C. The club was one of the founder members of the Second Division in 1892, but have spent their entire existence outside English football's top division; their highest league finish was fourteenth in Division Two in 1961–62. Their first match at Wembley Stadium was the 2015 Football League Trophy Final, which they lost to Bristol City.

Walsall moved into their Bescot Stadium in 1990, having previously played at nearby Fellows Park for almost a century. The team play in a red and white kit and their club crest features a swift. The club's nickname, "The Saddlers", reflects Walsall's status as a traditional centre for saddle manufacture.

History and the present day[edit]

Formation and early years[edit]

The Walsall team pictured in 1893

Walsall were formed as Walsall Town Swifts in 1888 when Walsall Town F.C. and Walsall Swifts F.C. amalgamated.[1] Walsall Town had been founded in 1877 and Walsall Swifts in 1879.[1] Both clubs had played at the Chuckery, and the new club remained at the same ground. Walsall Town Swifts' first match was a draw against Aston Villa. Two players from this early era received international caps. In 1882, Alf Jones won the first two of his three caps (against Scotland and Wales) while with Walsall Swifts, and in 1889 Albert Aldridge received the second of his two caps while playing for Walsall Town Swifts. The club were first admitted to the Football League in 1892, as founder members of the new Second Division. They moved to the West Bromwich Road ground in 1893. After finishing 14th out of 16 teams in 1894–95 the club failed to be re-elected to the Football League.

At the start of the 1895 season the club moved to Hilary Street, later renamed Fellows Park. In 1896 they changed their name to Walsall F.C.[1] and joined the Midland League. A year later, they returned to the Second Division, three teams having failed re-election in 1896. The team finished in sixth place in 1898–99, but once again failed re-election two years later, dropping back into the Midland League. A move to the Birmingham League followed in 1903, and in 1910, the club were elected to the Southern League. With the expansion of the Football League after World War I, Walsall became a founding member of the Third Division North in 1921.

Walsall's highest "home" attendance was set in 1930, when they played in of front of 74,600 fans against Aston Villa in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Although a home match for Walsall, the tie was played at their opponents' Villa Park ground, and it remains the highest attendance that Walsall have ever played in front of.

In 1933, Walsall won 2–0 in the FA Cup against Arsenal at Fellows Park. Arsenal went on to win the First Division that season, and the cup defeat to Third Division North side Walsall is still regarded as one of the greatest upsets in FA Cup history.[2]

Post-war era[edit]

In 1958, following a reorganisation of the Football League, Walsall became founder members of the Fourth Division. Under the management of Bill Moore, the club achieved successive promotions, scoring 102 goals on their way to winning Division Four in 1959–60 and finishing as Division Three runners-up in 1960–61 to reach the second tier of English football for the first time since the early 1900s. Players such as Bill 'Chopper' Guttridge, Tony Richards and Colin Taylor were intrinsically important to the success of the side. After just two seasons in the Second Division, the club were relegated back to Division Three in 1962–63, and remained there until a further demotion to the Fourth Division, in 1978–79.

The club has always had a rich history of producing players who go on to play at the top level. Allan Clarke went on to win the League Championship under Don Revie at Leeds United after beginning life at Fellows Park. Bert Williams and Phil Parkes both became England goalkeepers in the years after they progressed from their roots in Walsall. David Kelly had a long career at the top level after leaving Walsall in 1988, representing the Republic of Ireland at the very highest level of international football. More recently, Michael Ricketts represented England after blossoming at Bolton Wanderers. In recent years, Matty Fryatt and Ishmel Demontagnac have both represented England age-groups.

1980s[edit]

Walsall in action in 1982

The 1980s were a period of considerable activity for Walsall. In 1983–84 they defeated First Division club Arsenal in the League Cup at Highbury, and advanced to the semi-final, where an estimated 10,000 Saddlers saw a 2–2 draw against Liverpool at Anfield, however a second leg 2–0 defeat in front of 19,591 at Fellows Park saw Walsall lose the tie 4–2 on aggregate. This cup run saw Walsall famously only 90 minutes away from playing in Europe, which was once the name of a Fanzine, unfortunately no longer running. Walsall narrowly missed out on promotion to the Second Division in the same season.

In 1986 plans were announced to move Walsall to Birmingham, to groundshare with Birmingham City. The town rallied behind Barrie Blower, who led a campaign to save the club. Walsall were subsequently bought by millionaire entrepreneur and racehorse owner Terry Ramsden and with his money came high-profile signings and the attention of the national media. In 1986–87, under new manager Tommy Coakley, Walsall narrowly missed the play-offs, but made considerable progress in the FA Cup as they defeated First Division Charlton Athletic and Birmingham City and took Watford to two replays in the fifth round.

Walsall earned promotion through the old Division Three play-offs in 1988, beating Bristol City in a replayed final at Fellows Park, 13,007 where there to see it. 1988–89 saw the club relegated from Division Two and Ramsden's business empire collapsed alongside the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Walsall were minutes from being taken over by Japanese administrators and folded, but survived, again through the actions of Barrie Blower and local businessmen.

Further relegation followed at the end of 1989–90 as Walsall were consigned to Division Four.

1990s[edit]

Logo is 2007–2016

The club moved to the Bescot Stadium in 1990. At the time it was a state-of-the-art arena, and was only the second new Football League ground since the 1950s. The arrival at Bescot Stadium saw some stability brought back to the club after two successive relegations. Ex-Wolves star Kenny Hibbitt managed the club for four years, setting the groundwork for a golden era for the club that would follow soon after his dismissal in September 1994.

New manager Chris Nicholl led the club to promotion in his first season, building the nucleus of a strong and under-rated team. Two seasons of stability followed, the team finishing 11th and 12th, before Nicholl resigned in 1997.

Ex-Ajax and Danish international Jan Sorensen took the helm after Nicholl`s departure. Whilst 'The Saddlers' finished a lowly 19th in Division Two that season, the club reached the 4th Round of the League Cup, as well as rampaging through the early rounds of the FA Cup. Lincoln United were dispatched in the first round, before league newcomers Macclesfield Town were beaten 7–0 away and a victory over Peterborough United in the 3rd Round was rewarded with a glamour tie away at Manchester United, which Walsall lost 5–1. However, despite the club's cup exploits, a poor finish in the league signalled the end of Sorensen's time at Walsall after just one season.

In 1998–99, ex-Aston Villa winger Ray Graydon took over as manager and led the club to a runners-up spot in Division Two, beating Man City to automatic promotion by 5 points.[3]

2000s[edit]

After an unlikely promotion to the second tier Walsall found life difficult at a higher level, but battled right until the final day of the season, when their fate was finally sealed. A 2–0 defeat at Ipswich coupled with West Brom's home victory over Charlton meant Walsall returned to the third tier, despite derby wins over local rivals Wolves, Birmingham and West Brom earlier in the campaign.

The Saddlers returned to the second-tier of English Football at the first attempt, defeating Reading 3–2, after extra time, in a thrilling play-off final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.[4] After a promising start to the season, the form began to slip away over the winter period. However, the signings of Fitzroy Simpson and Don Goodman added much needed steel to the side and spurred them on to reach Division One once again.

Despite all the success he had delivered, it soon became clear that Ray Graydon had reached the end of the road at the club. Following an abject performance and 2–0 defeat, live on Sky Sports against local rivals West Brom, Jeff Bonser dismissed Graydon. His replacement, ex-Wolves manager Colin Lee polarised supporters, but ultimately proved to be a success. The style of football improved and Lee's signings improved the team dramatically. Relegation was avoided thanks to vital away wins against Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

Chart of table positions of Walsall in the Football League.

2003–04 proved to be one of the most remarkable seasons in the club's history. Up until Christmas, Walsall were flying. West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest were both destroyed 4–1, as new-signing, the ex-England and Arsenal star, Paul Merson, seemed to be repeating some of the magic that had led Portsmouth to promotion the previous season. Following a Boxing Day victory at Cardiff City, the club sat just four points off a place in the play-offs.

However, 2004 saw a spectacular slump in form. The New Year began with a disappointing FA Cup Third Round defeat away at Millwall, and an embarrassing 6–1 home defeat against fellow-strugglers Coventry City. The following weeks saw further costly defeats, and it took until 13 March for the club to win their first league game of 2004. Colin Lee was sacked on 16 April 2004 after a shambolic display at Gillingham, though the reason given for his dismissal was his decision to speak to Plymouth Argyle about their vacant manager's position.

Lee was replaced on a temporary basis by Paul Merson, who was assisted by Simon Osborn. Despite the rallying cries of the ex-England international, and the backing of the town, Walsall were ultimately relegated, agonisingly by a single goal, despite a 3–2 victory over Rotherham Utd at home, on the season's final day.

Despite the club's relegation and no previous managerial experience, Merson was immediately appointed as full-time manager of the club in May 2004. Although initially a popular choice, a poor season almost ended in successive relegations. However, an inspired loan signing Julian Joachim spurred the team on to winning all five of their final games of the 2004–05 season and 14th place in League One, restoring some faith in his management ability.

Although the 2005–06 season started promisingly, it turned into a disastrous one for Walsall. After increasing supporter pressure following a string of bad results, culminating in a 5–0 defeat at Brentford, Merson's reign as Walsall manager came to an end on 6 February 2006.

Later that month, former Birmingham City captain Kevan Broadhurst was appointed as Paul Merson's replacement. However, Walsall were relegated on 22 April 2006 after losing 3–1 to Huddersfield Town. Broadhurst was sacked the next day. On 3 May 2006, the team appointed their third permanent manager of the season in former Scunthorpe manager Richard Money.

Richard Money's reign started with a bang as Walsall lost just once in the first 20 League games in League Two, including maximum points from their first seven home ties. An impressive start to the season was maintained throughout, and despite a mini-blip in February, Walsall remained in the top three for almost the entire season. Walsall were promoted into League One on 14 April after beating Notts County 2–1 away from home. On the final day of the season, Walsall drew 1–1 with Swindon Town at the County Ground thanks to a last-minute goal by Dean Keates in front of 3,419 travelling fans, to secure the League Two title.[5][6]

Walsall (in red shirts) playing Gillingham in 2009

Walsall's form continued into the new season, as the club performed strongly in 2007–08, including a run of 17 League matches without defeat. However, a January transfer window that culminated in the sales of important first team players Daniel Fox and Scott Dann (both to Coventry City) caused a drop in form throughout 2008. The club's play-off challenge was ended after a run of poor results in March leading to Richard Money resigning as manager in April. Jimmy Mullen took over as caretaker manager before being given the job on a permanent basis after the club finished in 12th place.

Walsall endured an inconsistent start to their League One campaign in 2008–09, with a number of home defeats leading to the sacking of manager Jimmy Mullen in January 2009. Mullen was replaced by former Walsall player Chris Hutchings. Hutchings started his reign with a 1–1 home draw with Hereford United. His first win as Walsall manager came against Leeds United on 31 January 2009 at Bescot Stadium, with Troy Deeney's first half goal proving enough in a 1–0 win.

2009–10, Hutchings's first full season as Walsall manager, was again inconsistent. At the start of December, Walsall were 7th and only a point outside the play-offs. However, the start of 2010 brought a slump in form and by the beginning of April, Walsall were 13th with only one win in seven League games. The last eight games brought a striking change in form, only losing once to seal a top 10 finish – their highest since being relegated in 2004.

The end of the 2009–10 season saw some of the darkest days in the club's history. Chairman Jeff Bonser & then Chief Executive Roy Whalley banned innocent supporters Neil Ravenscroft, Wayne Swift & Darren Rhodes from the football ground for daring to bring a Cypriot flag into the Bescot Stadium.[7] Roy Whalley stepped down at the end of that season[8] and Jeff Bonser has not attended a Walsall game since the end of that season. The innocent supporters were eventually unbanned but no formal apology was either received or presented to either the supporters or individuals concerned. The retirement of Roy Whalley and Jeff Bonser's exile was the start of a new era at Walsall. Stefan Gamble took over the reins as Chief Executive and the club has not looked back since.

2010 to present day[edit]

The 2010–11 season started poorly and by the beginning of October, Walsall were rock-bottom of the table and facing a relegation battle. On 3 January 2011, after a 4–1 defeat against Peterborough United, Hutchings was sacked. Head of Youth, and ex-Walsall player, Dean Smith was placed in temporary charge. On 21 January he was announced as permanent manager of the club until the end of the season.[9]

On 29 January 2011, Walsall recorded their best League result since 1986 by beating Bristol Rovers 6–1. This was Smith's first win in charge, and sparked an upturn in form seeing Walsall gain ground on their relegation rivals. A 1–0 win over promotion chasing Southampton on 1 March 2011 saw Walsall climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since October. A points haul of eight in April was enough to ensure Walsall were one point clear of the drop zone going into the final set of fixtures. Despite losing 3–1 to Southampton, and accumulating only 48 points, Walsall survived relegation by one point ahead of Dagenham & Redbridge, who lost on the same day to Peterborough United.

The 2011–12 season once again saw Walsall flirt with relegation from League One. However, a 1–1 draw at home to Huddersfield Town on 28 April 2012 guaranteed Walsall's survival in League One at the expense of Wycombe Wanderers, Chesterfield, Exeter City and Rochdale, who were all relegated.

The 2012–13 season began with a 3–0 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers on 18 August 2012, though Walsall gradually began to improve after their initial setback, reaching 5th place in the League One table after a 2–1 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park on 15 September 2012. However, a winless run of 16 games followed from early October until 22 December 2012, when the Saddlers defeated Colchester United 1–0 at home. Following this, the club began to prosper in the New Year, only being beaten three times in 24 games until the end of the season and emerging as a serious contender for the play-offs. Despite falling just short, they finished 9th in the table, marking a significant improvement following two seasons of struggling.

On Tuesday 9 December 2014 Walsall drew 2–2 against Tranmere Rovers in the Johnstone Paint Trophy Area Semi-Final in which they ended up winning 5–4 on penalties to reach the Area Final [10]

On Wednesday 7 January 2015 Walsall played the Area Final first leg against Preston North End, winning 2–0 by scoring twice within the 80th to 90th minute with Tom Bradshaw playing a key part. After a stalemate second leg Walsall reach the Football League Trophy final and for the first time in their 127-year history play at Wembley Stadium where they were beaten 2–0 by Bristol City on Sunday 22 March 2015. Topping a disappointing season for the club where they managed to become clear of relegation just two games before the end of the season, a 3–3 draw with promotion play-off side, Swindon.

Walsall started the 2015–16 season well, with Smith being named as League One Manager of the Month and Rico Henry named youth player of the month for August as the club ended the month at the top of the table.[11] Walsall rejected an approach for Smith from Rotherham United in October, describing him as "fundamental to our future plans".[12] Smith signed a new 12-month rolling contract on 16 October. However six weeks later he left Walsall for Brentford with the "Saddlers" fourth in the table; at the time of his departure he was the fourth longest serving manager in the Football League.[13]

On 18 December 2015 Walsall turned to Sean O'Driscoll as head coach. O'Driscoll, previously Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers' assistant, had become available following Rodgers' sacking.[14] O'Driscoll made it clear that he did not intend to make any major changes. Going into the new year Walsall were top of the table on goal difference after winning all three games since O'Driscoll took the reins.[15] After 16 games in charge, Walsall were placed fourth but on a six-game winless run. On 6 March 2016 it was announced that Walsall had parted company with O'Driscoll.[16]

A timeline of Walsall's history[edit]

  • 1888 – Founded as Walsall Town Swifts
  • 1892 – Founder Members of the Football League Second Division.
  • 1896 – Renamed Walsall F.C.
  • 1896 – Move into the new Hillary Street Ground, which will later become known as Fellows Park, Walsall's home, on and off, until 1990.
  • 1901 – Failed to gain re-election to the Football League.
  • 1921 – League football returns to Walsall after 20 years as the club become Founder Members of the Football League Third Division North.
  • 1933 – Beat Arsenal in the FA Cup, a result still regarded as one of the greatest FA Cup upsets of all-time.
  • 1960 – Win the Fourth Division title. The club's first league win in their history.
  • 1961 – Win second successive promotion to reach Second Division.
  • 1963 – Relegated back to Third Division where the club would spend 24 out of the next 25 seasons.
  • 1972 – Club rescued from financial oblivion by new owner Ken Wheldon.
  • 1975 – Defeat Manchester United and Newcastle United in the FA Cup on the way to the fifth round.
  • 1978 – Defeat Leicester City in the FA Cup on the way to the fifth round.
  • 1979 – Sign striker Alan Buckley back from Birmingham City, for a what was a club record of £175,000 until 2016.
  • 1984 – Reach the League Cup semi-finals, defeating Arsenal at Highbury in the fourth round.
  • 1986 – Racecourse owner Terry Ramsden buys the club.
  • 1988 – Promotion to the Second Division is achieved through the play-offs.
  • 1989 – Relegation to Third Division after just one season in the Second Division.
  • 1990 – A second successive relegation to the Fourth Division in time for the move to Bescot Stadium, a few hundred yards from Fellows Park.
  • 1992 – Jeff Bonser buys the club, which again was minutes away from entering receivership.
  • 1995 – Win promotion to Division Two as runners-up.
  • 1998 – Reach the fourth round of the League Cup and FA Cup under Jan Sorensen, who lasts only one season and is succeeded by Ray Graydon.
  • 1999 – Win promotion to Division One as runners-up ahead of Manchester City.
  • 2000 – Relegated back to Division Two, being pipped to survival by local rivals West Bromwich Albion.
  • 2001 – Promoted to Division One at the first attempt, winning the Division Two play-offs.
  • 2004 – Relegated from Division One on goal difference.
  • 2006 – Two relegations in three seasons sees the club fall to League Two.
  • 2007 – Win the League Two title at the first attempt and are promoted back to League One.
  • 2015 – Reach the Football League Trophy final, play at Wembley Stadium for the first time in their history but lose 2–0 to Bristol City.

Rivals[edit]

Walsall have rivalries with neighbouring teams West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Birmingham City.

More 'reciprocal' rivalries exist with Shrewsbury Town and Port Vale, whom to many are Walsall's main traditional rivals especially when the clubs clashed frequently in the 1970s and 1980s, and more recently Burton Albion.

Grounds[edit]

The Chuckery[edit]

This multi-purpose sports ground was situated in a district near to the Walsall Arboretum. It comprised some 12 soccer pitches and four good-sized cricket squares. It was the first ever home ground for Walsall F.C. from 1888 until 1893.

West Bromwich Road[edit]

The new ground in West Bromwich Road, which had a capacity of just over 4,500, proved to be a lucky omen for The Saddlers between 1893 and 1896.

Fellows Park[edit]

Fellows Park was a former football stadium in Walsall, England. It was the home ground of Walsall F.C. from 1896 until 1990, when the team moved to the Bescot Stadium.

Bescot Stadium[edit]

Bescot Stadium, currently also known as Banks's Stadium for sponsorship purposes,[17] is the home ground of Walsall Football Club. It was built in 1989–90 at a cost of £4.5m, replacing the club's previous ground, Fellows Park, which was located a quarter of a mile away. The ground was opened by Sir Stanley Matthews.

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 3 October 2017.[18]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Mark Gillespie
2 England MF Joe Edwards (vice-captain)
3 England DF Luke Leahy
5 England DF Jon Guthrie
6 Scotland DF Nicky Devlin
7 England MF Adam Chambers (captain)
8 Belgium MF Florent Cuvelier
9 Canada FW Simeon Jackson
10 England MF Erhun Oztumer
11 England MF Kieron Morris
13 England GK Liam Roberts
14 Wales DF James Wilson (on loan from Sheffield United)
15 Republic of Ireland MF Liam Kinsella
17 England MF Reece Flanagan
18 Wales FW Tyler Roberts (on loan from West Brom)
19 England MF Zeli Ismail (on loan from Bury)
20 Sierra Leone FW Amadou Bakayoko
No. Position Player
23 Republic of Ireland DF Shaun Donnellan (on loan from West Brom)
24 England DF Kory Roberts
25 Afghanistan MF Maziar Kouhyar
26 England MF Rory Oliver
27 England MF Daniel O'Sullivan
28 Republic of Ireland DF Callum Cockerill-Mollett
29 England MF Will Shorrock
30 England FW Cameron Peters
31 England DF Sam Tonks
32 England FW Dan Agyei (on loan from Burnley)
33 England MF Stefan Mason
34 England DF Dan Vann
35 England MF Tobias Hayles-Docherty
36 England FW Mitchel Candlin
37 England GK Brandon Ganley
38 England FW Joe Cairns

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
21 Bermuda MF Kacy Milan Butterfield (at Rushall Olympic)
22 England MF Jordan Sangha (at Rushall Olympic)

Reserves and youth[edit]

For the Development and Youth Academy squads, see Walsall F.C. Youth and Reserves.

Former players[edit]

For a list of former players, see Category:Walsall F.C. players.

Players of the Year[citation needed]

Anthony Gerrard (Player of the season 2005–06 & 2007–08)
Ian Roper (Player of the season 2002–03)
Name Season
England Jason McCarthy 2016–17
England Adam Chambers 2015–16
England Richard O'Donnell 2014–15
England Sam Mantom 2013–14
Northern Ireland Will Grigg 2012–13
England Andy Butler 2011–12
England Andy Butler 2010–11
England Troy Deeney 2009–10
Trinidad and Tobago Clayton Ince 2008–09
Republic of Ireland Anthony Gerrard 2007–08
England Dean Keates 2006–07
Republic of Ireland Anthony Gerrard 2005–06
England Matty Fryatt 2004–05
Scotland Paul Ritchie 2003–04
England Ian Roper 2002–03
England Jimmy Walker 2001–02
Portugal Jorge Leitão 2000–01
Argentina Gino Padula 1999–00
England Jimmy Walker 1998–99
France Jeff Peron 1997–98
England Adrian Viveash 1996–97
England Adrian Viveash 1995–96
Northern Ireland Kevin Wilson 1994–95

Top goal scorers[citation needed]

Tommy Mooney (Top Scorer 2007–08)
Michael Ricketts (Top Scorer 1999–2000 and 2008–2009)
Player Goals Season
England Erhun Oztumer 15 2016–17
Wales Tom Bradshaw 20 2015–16
Wales Tom Bradshaw 20 2014–15
England Craig Westcarr 16 2013–14
Northern Ireland Will Grigg 20 2012–13
England Alex Nicholls and Republic of Ireland Jon Macken 10 2011–12
England Julian Gray 10 2010–11
England Troy Deeney 14 2009–10
England Michael Ricketts and England Troy Deeney 12 2008–09
England Tommy Mooney 12 2007–08
England Dean Keates 13 2006–07
England Matty Fryatt 14 2005–06
England Matty Fryatt 15 2004–05
Portugal Jorge Leitão 9 2003–04
Brazil Júnior 16 2002–03
Portugal Jorge Leitão 10 2001–02
Portugal Jorge Leitão 21 2000–01
England Michael Ricketts 11 1999–2000
England Andy Rammell 20 1998–99
France Roger Boli 24 1997–98
Bermuda Kyle Lightbourne 20 1996–97
Bermuda Kyle Lightbourne and England Kevin Wilson 15 1995–96
Bermuda Kyle Lightbourne 23 1994–95
England Dean Peer 8 1993–94
England Wayne Clarke 21 1992–93
England Rod McDonald 18 1991–92
England Stuart Rimmer 13 1990–91
England Stuart Rimmer 10 1989–90
England Stuart Rimmer 8 1988–89
Republic of Ireland David Kelly 20 1987–88
Republic of Ireland David Kelly 23 1986–87
England Nicky Cross 21 1985–86

Club officials[edit]

Board officials

Name Role
England Barry Blower MBE President
England Jeff Bonser Chairman
England Stefan Gamble Chief Executive
England Clive Welch Director
England Nigel Bond Director
England Peter Gilman Director
England Richard Tisdale Director
England Roy Whalley Director
England Leigh Pomlett Director[19]
Republic of Ireland Mick Kearns Ambassador

First team staff

Name Role
England Jon Whitney First team Coach/Senior Physiotherapist
England Ian Sharps Coach
England Marc Czuczman Senior Physiotherapist
England Neil Cutler Coach (esp. Goalkeepers)
England Callum Hayes Performance Analysis
England John Ward Professional Development Coach
England Tom Bradley and Scott Hamilton Kit Man

Youth Team Staff

Name Role
England Neil Woods Academy Manager[20]
England Graham Biggs Head of Academy Coaching
England Paul Larvin Lead Coach for Youth Development Phase
England Adam Davy Lead Coach for Foundation Phase/ Community Manager

Medical staff

Name Role
Dr Ricky Shamji Club Doctor
England Jon Whitney Senior Physiotherapist/First team Coach
England Iain Dutia Assistant Senior Physiotherapist
England Dean Harris Sports Scientist

Managerial history[edit]

Only competitive matches are counted. Wins, losses and draws are results at the final whistle; the results of penalty shoot-outs are not counted.[21]

Name From To P W D L Win% Honours Notes
England H. Smallwood s 01 Aug 1888 01 Aug 1891 89 45 11 33 050.56
England A. G. Burton s 01 Aug 1891 01 Aug 1893 49 14 6 29 028.57
England J. H. Robinson s 01 Aug 1893 01 Aug 1895 62 22 3 37 035.48
England C. H. Aislo s 01 Aug 1895 01 Aug 1896 31 19 6 6 061.29
England A. E. Parsloe s 01 Aug 1896 01 Aug 1897 33 12 5 16 036.36
England L. Ford s 01 Aug 1897 01 Aug 1898 30 12 5 13 040.00
England G. Hughes s 01 Aug 1898 01 Aug 1899 35 15 12 8 042.86
England L. Ford s 01 Aug 1899 01 Aug 1901 79 25 24 30 031.65
England J. E. Shutt s 01 Aug 1908 01 Jul 1912 144 69 28 47 047.92
Wales Haydn Price s 01 Jul 1912 01 Aug 1915 114 57 19 38 050.00
Wales Albert Groves 01 May 1920 01 Aug 1921 36 19 6 11 052.78
England Joe Burchell 01 Aug 1921 01 Feb 1926 199 74 36 89 037.19
Republic of Ireland David Ashworth 01 Feb 1926 01 Feb 1927 42 16 9 17 038.10
Scotland Jimmy Torrance 01 Feb 1927 01 May 1928 61 17 12 32 027.87
England James Kerr 01 May 1928 01 Apr 1929 39 13 12 14 033.33
England Sid Scholey 01 Apr 1929 01 Oct 1930 61 21 10 30 034.43
Scotland Peter O'Rourke 01 Oct 1930 01 Feb 1932 63 21 10 32 033.33
England Bill Slade 01 Feb 1932 01 Oct 1934 114 55 21 38 048.25
Scotland Andrew Wilson 01 Oct 1934 01 Apr 1937 133 47 32 54 035.34
England Tommy Lowes 01 Apr 1937 01 Sep 1939 105 33 22 50 031.43
England Sam Longmore 01 Sep 1939 05 Aug 1944 166 54 34 78 032.53
England Harry Hibbs 05 Aug 1944 30 Jun 1951 230 85 57 88 036.96
England Tony McPhee 01 Jul 1951 01 Dec 1951 21 7 3 11 033.33
England Brough Fletcher 01 Mar 1952 01 Apr 1953 52 9 8 35 017.31
England Frank Buckley 01 Apr 1953 01 Sep 1955 112 24 28 60 021.43
Scotland John Love 01 Sep 1955 01 Dec 1957 113 38 26 49 033.63
England Bill Moore 01 Dec 1957 01 Nov 1963 332 132 68 132 039.76 1 Division Four (Champions)
1 Division Three (2nd place)
England Alf Wood 01 Nov 1963 01 Oct 1964 3 1 0 2 033.33
England Ray Shaw 01 Oct 1964 01 Mar 1968 166 67 35 64 040.36
England Dick Graham 01 Mar 1968 01 May 1968 13 5 4 4 038.46
England Ron Lewin 01 Jul 1968 01 Feb 1969 28 8 10 10 028.57
England Bill Moore 01 Feb 1969 16 Oct 1972 179 65 52 62 036.31
England John Smith 16 Oct 1972 23 Mar 1973 27 8 5 14 029.63
Scotland Jimmy MacEwan 23 Mar 1973 01 Jun 1973 9 3 2 4 033.33
England Ronnie Allen 06 Jun 1973 20 Dec 1974 23 4 9 10 017.39
Scotland Doug Fraser 01 Jan 1974 07 Mar 1977 151 54 43 54 035.76
Scotland Dave Mackay 09 Mar 1977 05 Aug 1978 61 23 25 13 037.70
England Alan Ashman 23 Aug 1978 17 Feb 1979 18 6 6 6 033.33
England Frank Sibley 01 Mar 1979 05 May 1979 15 2 4 9 013.33
England Alan Buckley p 27 Jun 1979 01 Jul 1981 93 36 33 24 038.71 1 Division Four (2nd place)
England Alan Buckley p &
Scotland Neil Martin
01 Jul 1981 01 Jan 1982 18 9 5 4 050.00
Scotland Neil Martin 01 Jan 1982 01 May 1982 24 3 8 13 012.50
England Alan Buckley p 01 May 1982 01 Jun 1986 201 87 48 66 043.28
Scotland Tommy Coakley 01 Aug 1986 27 Dec 1988 141 60 36 45 042.55 1 Division Three (Play-off winners)
Republic of Ireland John Barnwell 17 Jan 1989 01 Mar 1990 54 10 18 26 018.52
England Paul Taylor 01 Mar 1990 15 May 1990 18 4 4 10 022.22
England Kenny Hibbitt 16 May 1990 01 Aug 1994 201 69 55 77 034.33
Northern Ireland Chris Nicholl 01 Aug 1994 21 May 1997 157 71 41 45 045.22 1 Division Three (2nd place)
Denmark Jan Sørensen 25 Jun 1997 05 May 1998 62 26 13 23 041.94
England Ray Graydon 05 May 1998 22 Jan 2002 199 79 49 71 039.70 1 Division Two (2nd place)
1 Division Two (Play-off winners)
England Colin Lee 24 Jan 2002 16 Apr 2004 116 38 30 48 032.76
England Paul Mersonp 16 Apr 2004 06 Feb 2006 94 32 23 39 034.04
England Kevan Broadhurst 22 Feb 2006 24 Apr 2006 11 1 4 6 009.09
England Richard Money 03 May 2006 22 Apr 2008 103 44 33 26 042.72 1 League Two (Champions)
England Jimmy Mullen 22 Apr 2008 10 Jan 2009 29 10 5 14 034.48
England Chris Hutchings 20 Jan 2009 04 Jan 2011 98 31 24 43 031.63
England Dean Smith 04 Jan 2011 30 Nov 2015 260 84 96 80 032.31 1 Football League Trophy (Runner-up)
England Jon Whitney c ^ 30 Nov 2015 18 Dec 2015 3 1 2 0 033.33
Republic of Ireland Sean O'Driscoll 18 Dec 2015 06 Mar 2016 16 6 5 5 037.50
England Jon Whitney 07 Mar 2016 present 67 25 17 25 037.31
Key
s Pre-WWI the Club Secretary picked the team on matchday.
c Caretaker manager.
p Player-manager.
Served as caretaker manager before being appointed permanently.
^ Initially assisted by John Ward and Neil Cutler in a managerial trio.

Correct as of 6 August 2017.

Records[edit]

Competitions

Attendances

  • Highest League Attendance (at Fellows Park): 25,453 v. Newcastle United. Second Division (now Championship), 29 August 1961
  • Highest League Attendance (at Bescot Stadium): 11,049 v. Rotherham United. First Division (now Championship), 9 May 2004
  • Highest Third Division (now League One) Attendance: 19,589 v. Notts County, 18 March 1950
  • Highest Fourth Division (now League Two) Attendance: 15,403 v. Carlisle United, 10 September 1959
  • Highest FA Cup Attendance: 24,045 v. Fulham, 4th Round Replay, 30 January 1962
  • Highest League Cup Attendance: 21,066 v. Liverpool. 4th Round, 17 February 1968
  • Highest Football League Trophy Attendance: 10,038 v. Preston North End. Area Final Second Leg, 27 January 2015
  • Highest Average Attendance (at Fellows Park): 15,711, 1947–48
  • Highest Average Attendance (at Bescot Stadium): 7,853, 2003–04

Scores

  • League Win: 10–0 v. Darwen. Second Division, 4 March 1899
  • League Defeat: 0–12 v. Small Heath. Second Division, 17 December 1892
  • Cup Win: 7–0 v. Macclesfield Town. FA Cup 2nd Round, 6 December 1997

Players

Sequences

  • Most Games Won in a Row (7): 1959, 2005
  • Most Games Lost in a Row (15): 1988–89
  • Most Games without Defeat (21): 1979–80
  • Most Games without Victory (18): 1988–89

Honours[edit]

League[edit]

Football League Third Division (now League One)

• Runners-Up (2): 1960–61, 1998–99

• Play-Off Winners (2): 1987–88, 2000–01

Football League Fourth Division (now League Two)

• Champions (2): 1959–60, 2006–07

• Runners-Up (2): 1979–80, 1994–95

Cup[edit]

Birmingham Senior Cup

• Winners (4): 1880–81 (as Walsall Swifts), 1896–97, 1897–98, 1993–94

Staffordshire Senior Cup

• Winners (4): 1881–82, 1884–85 (both Walsall Town), 1928–29, 1967–68

Walsall Senior Cup

• Winners (5): 1876–77 1877–78 1888–79 (all as Walsall Swifts), 2014–15, 2016–17

Walsall in film and television[edit]

  • In the film Fever Pitch, the day Arsenal were beaten by Walsall in the League Cup Fourth Round in 1984 is mentioned by Mark Strong as Steve during a game of pool with Colin Firth as Paul.
  • 1970s BBC comedy television series Ripping Yarns the soon-to-be disgraced coach Mr Dainty says: "I didn't come here on a free transfer from Walsall ...."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c M Greenslade, ed. (1976). "Walsall Social Life". A History of the County of Stafford: Volume 17: Offlow hundred (part). British History Online. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Porter, Steve. "Walsall 2–0 Arsenal". www.thegiantkillers.co.uk. Retrieved 5 May 2016. 
  3. ^ "Up where we belong! Graydon upsets the odds to take Walsall into Division One". Birmingham Evening Mail (England). 19 May 1999. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  4. ^ "Walsall break Reading hearts". BBC Sport. 27 May 2001. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  5. ^ "Swindon 1–1 Walsall". BBC Sport. 5 May 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  6. ^ "Promoted Walsall's open top tour". BBC Sport. 8 May 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  7. ^ "Whalley promises to ban protestors". www.expressandstar.com. 
  8. ^ "Walsall Chief Exec fans the flames of protest - Football Supporters' Federation". www.fsf.org.uk. 
  9. ^ "Dean Smith gets Walsall job until end of season". BBC Sport. 21 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-21. 
  10. ^ "Tranmere Rovers v Walsall". 9 December 2014 – via www.bbc.co.uk. 
  11. ^ "Dean Smith named Manager of the Month". Express & Star. 4 September 2015. Retrieved 27 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "Dean Smith: Walsall turn down Rotherham approach for manager". BBC Sport. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  13. ^ "'Disappointed and shocked': Fans react as Dean Smith leaves Walsall FC". Express and Star. 30 November 2015. Retrieved 30 November 2015. 
  14. ^ "Sean O'Driscoll: Walsall name new head coach to replace Dean Smith". BBC. 18 December 2015. Retrieved 19 December 2015. 
  15. ^ "Walsall 2–0 Peterborough". BBC. 28 December 2015. Retrieved 30 December 2015. 
  16. ^ "Sean O'Driscoll: Walsall part company with head coach after 16 games". BBC. 6 March 2016. Retrieved 6 March 2016. 
  17. ^ "Walsall rename ground Banks's Stadium". Football Shirts. 11 May 2007. Retrieved 11 May 2007. 
  18. ^ "First Team". www.saddlers.co.uk. Retrieved 9 July 2017. 
  19. ^ http://www.saddlers.co.uk/page/News/0,,10428~2086528,00.html
  20. ^ http://www.saddlers.co.uk/page/InDepth/0,,10428~2380827,00.html
  21. ^ "Soccerbase". 

External links[edit]