Finally we can all enjoy our weekend following the news that lifelong fan, legend and hometown boy Dean Keates has today been named the new manager of Walsall Football Club, signing a three and a half year deal.
Keates joined the Saddlers as a YTS in 1995 and made his debut in October 1996 against Plymouth Argyle. In January 1997 he made his first start for the Saddlers as we defeated Notts County 3-1. The following season, aged just 19, Keatesy made forty eight appearances that season and was a key figure in our promotion under Sir Ray in 1999.
Keates then played a major part in our first season in Division 1 for over a decade as we were relegated on the final day of the season against Ipswich.
The boyhood fan then was instrumental once more as we gained promotion at the first time of asking defeating Reading in the play offs.
The following season was stop start for Deano under new manager Colin Lee and was surprisingly released at the end of the 2001/02 season after playing 156 times, scoring 12 goals.
Keates then joined Hull City where he gained his third promotion of his career, as the Tigers won promotion from League 2.
Keates then joined Kidderminster and Lincoln before making an emotional return home to the Saddlers on deadline day in 2006, the Saddlers could not avoid relegation to League 2 but Richard Money came in and gave Deano a new lease of life as he was voted in the PFA Team Of The Year and scored the title winning goal at Swindon on the final day. Its a boyhood dream to score the title winning goal for your hometown and Keatesy did just that!
Deano left the club in 2007 after failing to agree a new deal and joined Peterborough United. He scored 11 goals during his time and gained his sixth promotion of his career as the Posh marched to the Championship.
He then joined Wycombe before making a permanent move to Wrexham. Keates lost in the play off final with Wrexham but as club captain he continued to try and get the Dragons back into the football league. Once his playing days were coming to an end he joined Rhyl and then Rushall before being offered the managerial position at Wrexham a year later.
Its here where it all started for Deano as he completely turned around the fortunes of the Dragons. The club were on the downward spiral under then manager Mills but Keates came in and gave the club a lift. One year later and Wrexham are now chasing for promotion in the Conference.
Late last night the club had agreed a compensation package with Wrexham and Dean Keates is a Saddler for a third time, this time as manager!
Lets all get to the Bescot on Wednesday night and welcome one of our own home, it might end in tears but for now lets ruddy well enjoy it!
Welcome home Deano, Dean Keates Barmy Army!