On behalf of VitalWalsall I would like to thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this interview.
You started your career at Torquay United in 1990 and helped them to promotion in only your 2nd season. Following your success at Torquay you then moved to Portsmouth, where you would spend 5 seasons for them.
What is your current take on Portsmouth`s situation?
No problems. Anytime for Walsall and their brilliant fans. The Portsmouth situation is a very sad one. I feel a special bond with the people and the fans of Portsmouth, and I feel a great deal of sorrow for what is happening to the club. It will have an effect on the City and its people. The supporters deserve a great football club and deserve better luck than they are getting presently.
You played in 1998 World Cup for Jamaica. How difficult is it to adjust yourself for club matches to that of internationals?
Good question. It`s very difficult, especially when you are flying across time zones and jet lag may be an issue, it sometimes has an effect on your body like tiredness and takes a few days to adjust back. Also, playing international football is very different to club football. You have to be able to make the switch as you are going against the very best players in the world. It takes a lot of adjustment. Sometimes it`s just down to the way how you play, other times the quality of the opposition is the big difference between the club game and internationals.
In March 2000 you arrived at Walsall on loan.
What were your first impressions of the club?
Well I arrived at the club from Premier League Coventry City and immediately took to the area and the fans. A real family atmosphere and I loved how close the supporters were to the pitch.
What was it like to play under Ray Graydon?
Well Ray played in a similar position to myself and encouraged me to get more goals from midfield. He was a disciplinarian and always made sure you knew who you representing and wouldn`t suffer fools lightly. He also didn`t like the players dissenting and if we were caught there would be hell to pay!! I`ll never forget the first day I met Ray and he immediately called me a ‘scruffy get!` Ray had a policy that all the players must dress in trousers, shoes and a collared shirt for training every day. It was a case of ‘tidy in life, tidy on the pitch!` We always were aware that he didn`t want us talking to the referee and it seemed to work for us as we were often favoured in a strange sort of way by referees! I think referees appreciate when the players leave them alone to do their job.
After your impressive loan spell we then signed you permanently in the summer of 2000. In your first full season with the club we gained promotion via the Play-offs.
What was that season like personally for you?
A great season, personally to be involved with the promotion team and to play with such a talented roster of players, was definitely a special time. I think that day will stay in the mind for a long time with everyone who was involved.
Despite being a major part of our promotion team the next season you were used sparingly.
How did this affect you and were you disappointed to then be told you were free to leave?
Very disappointed, I was told only after the first game of the season that I was free to go. I didn`t want to leave and felt let down by Ray for not giving me the chance to play back in the Championship. I felt I had a lot to offer the club and I was a happy player at Walsall, so to be told I could leave was a bitter pill to swallow.
After a 6 year gap you decided to return back to Walsall. Not many players return to their former clubs. How had the club changed from your first time here?
The club had changed in the way that there were many younger players coming through like Scott Dann and Anthony Gerrard, who were quite frankly some of the best young players I`d seen in a long time. Walsall however, will never change, the changing area had changed a little, but the club and the fans were exactly the same as when I had left after the first period. The fans and the club had that same warm and homely feeling.
It was brilliant to see you and Fitzroy back at Walsall for the Portsmouth game, do you still follow Walsall`s results and what`s your take on the current team?
It was great to be back and whenever I can get back to attend a game at Walsall, I always try. The current team like to pass the ball and have some good players. I like the passing style that Walsall has adapted. Walsall has some talented young players and if they get a few experienced players in, I feel that anything is possible.
From your own personal point of view what was your biggest achievement as a player?
Becoming a professional player was the greatest achievement for me. Representing Jamaica in the World Cup Finals was another big achievement; a certain promotion to the Championship with Walsall was right up there among my list of achievements!
You had a brief stint as assistant manager at Mansfield and now a coach at Tamworth is there anything on the horizon for Paul Hall the manager?
Well I have since left Tamworth around a year ago and am now looking for a coaching job within the professional game. I recently applied for the vacant position left by Richard O`Kelly, however was beaten to the post by a more experienced candidate.
Is there anything you would like to say to the Walsall fans?
I would just like to take the time out to thank the Walsall supporters for all the support and good wishes they have passed on to me over the years. Also I would like to thank everyone for taking the time out to read this article and discover some things about me that you may not have known previously. If you would like to know about anything that I`m doing, then take a look on my website: www.paulhallfootball.com or my twitter name is paulhall22
Many Thanks for your time again Paul and good luck for the future.
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