The life of a football manager is short lived. According to stats a manager stays in a job for an average of three years, however less than twelve months into his reign as Walsall manager many feel that Dean Keates time is up.
We look at the reasons we believe now is the right time to do it.
Lets not beat around the bush here, our form in the last twenty games is pathetic. Only Bolton and Ipswich boast (wrong word to use im sure) a worse record than us. In the past twenty games we have managed to accumulate just THIRTEEN points. That’s thirteen points from the last sixty available. If we didn’t have the start we did then its certain that we would find ourselves below AFC Wimbledon and stranded to the bottom of the table.
What are those? I hear you ask. Dean Keates found a way of getting results at the start of the season. Free flowing attacking football which put the opposition under the cosh. When we wasn’t at our free flowing best we had pressing midfielders that threw everything on the line in order to get back and help the defence. We may have had a shaky defence but we had a game plan and found a way of stopping the opposition from having chances from close range. Saturday proved those long range efforts are no more and the opposition are getting into our box with ease.
The free flowing attacking football has long gone. The panic has set in now and we have resorted to hopeless long balls to Cookie. It is dire to watch.
We have three games now which we need to do all we can to win them. Bradford (h), Burton (a), Fleetwood (h) – after these three games we face four of the top six. Now is the time we need a change in order to grab 4-9 points from these three games so we have a glimmer of hope of staying out the drop zone by the end of March.
Think its safe to say Keates has lost the backing of a few players. Morris was shipped out on loan after his mothers rant on Facebook, Kinsella somehow found himself out the squad despite being our best player and Morgan Ferrier was miraculously given the opportunity to speak to Southend during the transfer window.
On paper this team is not bad. How many more League 1 clubs can boast having Matt Jarvis and Zeli Ismail on the wing? How many more League 1 clubs can boast having someone like Dobson and Edwards in midfield? How many more League 1 clubs have a striker that’s scored sixteen goals this season? – Answer is not many. What this side is desperately lacking is organisation and a manager that will just put their arms around them and help them through this bad patch.
We know Jeff and the board get a little nervous around this time of year. The early bird campaign is due to start within the next ten days and with the Saddlers currently just two points above the drop many supporters will be questioning whether its worth getting a season ticket for home games against Solihull, Grimsby and Crawley. With a new manager it might just give fans confidence irrespective of what league we are in next season.
Board in the spotlight
One thing we know is the board hate the spotlight and the pressure pushed upon them. For the first time this season the annual “We want Bonser Out” chants were heard at the Ricoh on Saturday. A sign that its not only the manager feeling the wrath of the past few months.
The only reason Keates is still here in our opinion is due to the fact he has another two years left on his contract.
The board have openly admitted they are still paying off the previous regime and its unthinkable that Jeff Bonser could find himself in a position of paying off two managers, their backroom staff and hiring a new manager all within twelve months. Further proof that the man that prides himself on being a great businessman is finally losing a grasp on the modern world of football.
Right here, right now Dean Keates legacy as a Walsall player is still in tact. No one will ever forget that goal at Swindon, that performance in the play off semi final against Stoke and that assist for the Tony Rougier own goal in the play off final against Reading….but the anger and frustration is now seeping through. I have seen some unthinkable words directed at Keates over the past few weeks and its crazy how people can turn so quickly.
However should the local lad take this side down with a whimper then many will remember that more so that his previous achievements and that’s one thing I cant stomach right now. He was my idol growing up and it hurts to see us in this position with him as manager.
We all wanted him to succeed, but he isn’t. If he turned it around we would all be overjoyed however hand on heart it isn’t going to get any better is it?
If you have a family pet that is suffering, you do the right thing and end that pain. The love will always be there but at that moment you do the right thing for that loyal companion that gave you many years of happiness.