Right here we go the evening before our final league game of the 2018/19 season – its been a blast…on the magnitude of a nuclear disaster.
By Sunday morning the Saddlers could be relegated to the bottom tier of the Football League for the first time in thirteen years.
Where did it go wrong? Blame lies with the people at the top. Lets stop this “we are a well run club” rubbish – evidently we are not.
Lets be honest since Dean Smith left the club to join Brentford in 2016 it has been one monumental mistake after another. Call it reactive rather than proactive.
The club relied on the professionalism and plan that Dean Smith had. He had visions beyond what the club could offer and rightly moved on. He could be managing in the Premier League next season whilst we languish in League 2.
The hierarchy within the club allowed contracts to dwindle away that season. Paul Downing, Sam Mantom, Jason Demetriou, Romaine Sawyers, Andy Taylor and Milan Lalkovic were all allowed to leave on a free transfer that summer in an end to season which had so much distraction. O’Driscoll came in at the wrong time, upset the apple cart and then Jon Whitney was given the reigns until the end of the season. The players should have been tied down before Christmas but in true Walsall fashion we let their deals run out. Did they learn? Nope.
The anger that summer pushed the hierarchy to break our transfer record, with the signing of Andreas Makris. For a club who didn’t have a scouting system in place it was quite strange that a club so tight with finances would shell out so much money after watching a YouTube compilation and word of mouth by the the outgoing Jason Demetriou…it really doesn’t add up does it?
During the summer Whitney also brought in Erhun Oztumer – two years later we allowed his contract to dwindle away also and he left for Bolton.
Yes we understand that the players probably wanted to hold out for a bigger lucrative deal but rumours suggest the contracts offered to these players were derisory, the Walsall way you could say.
Whitney was quite evidently not up to the standards of the job and this came to the forefront when we were knocked out of the FA Cup by Newport. A fan stormed the dressing room to show his anger – the result and the reaction of the fan meant nothing to the hierarchy and allowed Whitney to continue.
Whitney stayed in his role for far too long and the board decided to qualm the increasing anger from supporters by installing our prodigal son Dean Keates.
Yet again the ability of the board to try and deflect criticism was evident and yet again they managed to accomplish it.
Keates who had no idea of league management was allowed to bring in seventeen players on top of what we already had, was allowed to bring in a full compliment of backroom staff and was allowed to relinquish our youth and reserve sides.
Roll forward a year and the Saddlers had dropped into the relegation zone of League 1. A team so disjointed, full of bad apples and a side which doesn’t care.
SEVENTEEN players are out of contract this summer and for once its probably a godsend given their performances both on and off the pitch.
Over the past three years we have gone from a club which looked like we had a plan to this – As the saying goes “throw everything up a wall until it sticks”
Away from the pitch you have had overflowing urinals, last minute cancellations of acts in the Bonser Suite and players moms going on Facebook to complain about the club – it has been three years to forget but in those three years it has proven those at the top of the food chain are not good enough for their roles.
The hierarchy have got away with a lot for far too long. They have failed in their roles and have been paid a nice sum for the decline of our great club.
We will be here long after these players and the hierarchy have departed.
There is talks of banners, wearing black, turning backs on 18th minute and walking out on the 88th minute – however whilst all this is going on around you, you still have something more powerful…..your voice!
NOW you have the chance to make your feelings known, stand up and raise your voices – don’t let this moment go to waste, it has been a long time coming.