Date: 16th March 2018 at 10:17am
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So at some point today it seems the lad from the Beechdale Estate will be unveiled as the new Walsall manager.

Forget those football movies, Goal, When Saturday Comes or Roy Of The Rovers – this is our story about a young lad from Beechdale becoming Walsall boss…

Dean Keates is a hero to many fans that watched the Saddlers during the late 90’s and early 00’s and looking at Twitter and Facebook everyone is delighted with the news…well apart from Wrexham fans that is.

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.

Its difficult at this moment to rule with my head rather than my heart, but this is the lift the club needs right now and albeit not at the same level as Wrexham but we find ourselves in their position once Mills departed. If Keatesy can get us organised and put bums on seats again then it will have been a success.

The club which had drifted so far away from its fans may have just turned it around.

For now we will just enjoy the fact that the lad from Beechdale is set to become the new manager of Walsall Football Club.

Welcome home Deano.

 

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