Walsall boss Darrell Clarke proved popular with supporters this evening as he met the fans for the first time at the annual meet the manager evening.
Following today’s news of Leigh Pomlett taking over the “Former Chairman Suite’ was rammed. Darrell took to the stage with his coach Brian Dutton
First question of the evening was surrounding the budget at his disposal. Clarke said that whilst he would like more money it was about finding the right balance within his squad which would enable his team to be competitive on the field.
Another Saddlers fan told Darrell he reminded him of another who did well in Bristol (Sir Ray) who came to the club. Clarke said Sir Ray didn’t do too good at Rovers but he understands how successful he was here and prides himself on discipline and a good work ethic.
Clarke says the youth side of the club has been neglected over reason years and believes there is work to be done but says it’s important that a club like Walsall has a good youth set up and can be able to bring their own players through.
Clarke says he hasn’t come to Walsall for a quick fix, “he’s here to fix a football club which is broke”.
Clarke has called on Walsall Fans to support the team 100% during a game but stated if the players have been **** then feel free to let them know at the end of a game.
Darrell said he has been impressed by Alfie Bates and Callum Cockerill-Mollett and is looking to nurture their talent.
One child spent the evening running in front of the stage to which Clarke said he had a bit of pace about him.
He confirmed that James Clarke will be club captain and is still unsure whether Morgan Ferrier will remain at the club, but he states he has Plan C, D and E if plan A and B doesn’t work.
Clarke confirmed this is a massive season for under fire keeper Liam Roberts. Stated that the young keeper only has one year left on his contract and it’s make or break for him at Walsall. He isn’t afraid to bring another keeper in should Liam not live up to expectations.
Clarke also discussed Josh Gordon saying he needs to put the ball in the back of the net more. He is also looking to add another striker to the squad.
Clarke says Monday morning is about the analytical approach towards the next game and then it’s upto himself Dutton and Stewart to arrange the training sessions with the next opponents in mind.
He isn’t afraid of changing things in games if it isn’t working, said he’s made substitutions on twenty minutes before.
He says that the more experienced players will be his eyes on the training ground and around the dressing room ensuring standards don’t slip.
Clarke says Adebayo has raw talent and will frustrate supporters but he believes in him, he said Elijah has already frustrated him during pre-season.
He said Stuart Sinclair is weird for liking fishing but will become a fans favourite.
Clarke says he wants aware of the takeover until three/four weeks ago but he doesn’t like to get involved in the political side of the club.
He feels that we got a reasonable offer for the outgoing George Dobson and Andy Cook. He did say that we got more than we should for Cook. Says whilst goalscorers win games, we had one of the divisions top scorers last season and still went down. “It’s not always about goals but work ethic and the team as a whole”
Clarke says that philosophy is the most overused word in football. He would rather be judged on his team winning games no matter what.
He says that the foundations of building a promotion winning side is by the togetherness of the players and the supporters. He believes that our club should be in League 1 as a minimum and with the right infrastructure in place push on for Championship football.
He won’t ‘panic buy’ in the January window. He says 90% of his sides have improved after the window.
Clarke says he doesn’t get out of bed to fail. He will be hoping for winning League 2 and not mid table.
He didn’t have many positive words for agents or the media. Stating he likes to keep cards close to his chest and not do the work for the agents, the media and opposition by disclosing contract lengths or announcing if players are injured.
He believes that Kory Roberts will start pushing on with the first team within the next few months.
Dutton said if the team conceded goals then he is the man to blame but if the they score off set pieces he will deserve the praise too. Clarke says himself and the coaches will build a side and club which the fans can be proud of.
He was very positive about the recent tour to Poland, Clarke said players had a bbq and a few drinks as they began to build up a bond. A bond which is vital to a successful side.
Clarke says his teams don’t normally do well in Cup competitions but he understands how important they are for the financial side of the club. He does not agree with the concept of the EFL Trophy but says if we can win three games it can go along way to pay for a few additions.
He has spoke to Adam Chambers a few times but Adam has other business options. He said he would treat him like any player wanting to sign for the club but did state he has also offered him a potential coaching role of one of our youth sides
Clarke is a big admirer of players being in and around the area and being part of the community. He said he encouraged three players to move to the area and they have moved in together in a rented house. Clarke confirmed him, his wife and children have moved to the area.
The evening ended around 8pm and Clarke left the room to a rapturous round of applause.
There is a special feeling about this man and his coaching team. Let’s get behind them all and let’s achieve success together.
We have our Walsall back.