Our regular blogger, Adam Guest, welcomes Sean O’Driscoll to the club.
Two weeks ago I said he was my pick, the majority of those that took part in a poll on this site also wanted him, and yesterday it finally happened. Sean O`Driscoll was appointed as the new Walsall manager, and it`s an appointment that in the long run could make Dean Smith`s defection a blessing in disguise. It`s about as solid an appointment as we could have got, and for the first time since the appointment of Colin Lee back in 2002, the Saddlers have actually appointed a manager with a proven track record at the level we are currently playing at.
It`s all very un-Walsall like.
Of the other contenders, Mark Cooper wouldn`t have been a bad option, and the idea of someone like Jose Dominguez coming in would have been too much of a gamble given where we are both in terms of league position and stage of the season. At another point in time, such as if we were bumbling about in mid-table with a dozen games to go then that sort of appointment might have been worth a shot, but with where we are now then I feel the club has definitely made the right call. We needed someone who would carry on the philosophy that has been put in place; our friends from One Pod Beyond commented on Twitter that the fact we even have a philosophy shows how far we`ve come as a club and is a sentiment I`d like to echo.
It does however lump immediate pressure on O`Driscoll given the expectation that comes with him. He`s certainly not going to have been the cheap option, which is an accusation thrown at many managerial appointments under Jeff Bonsers` tenure, and he`s achieved things at this level before. For the first time in a long time, the new manager has come in and the supporters are pretty much unanimous in their belief that he`s immediately going to know what he`s doing. An unknown or a cheap option would have left most of us expecting us to fall away from the promotion picture whereas this appointment does the opposite, we now expect not too.
It also serves as the club sending a message that we are serious about wanting to get promotion out of this league; it`s a show of intent we`re not always used to seeing. Let`s hope it`s something they continue to show when the transfer window opens in two weeks time and clubs start bidding for our best players.
It`s over to you Mr O`Driscoll.
Welcome to our club.