During the late 90`s and throught the 00`s we relied on Paul Taylor`s scouting network to assemble sides that could compete.
We have had some quality imports over the years and some of our best players have came off the continent, below is my favourite Non-British X1.
Today we look at our strikers…
Striker- Kyle Lightbourne
Kyle ‘killer’ Lightbourne joined Walsall in 1993 from Scarborough. During his 4 years at Walsall he finished leading goalscorer in three of those 4 seasons. People will remember Killer more for his partnership and understanding with Kevin Wilson which led to our promotion from the Old third division. He was nicknamed Killer from the Walsall faithful due to his killer instincts infront of goal. He didnt scored many goals outside the box but was always in the right place at the right time. Kyle was one of the first strikers I saw at Walsall and can honestly say there wont be many better.
After leaving Walsall in 1997, Kyle signed for Coventry City in a deal worth £500,000. This was at the time the highest fee Walsall had received for a player, later to be Scott Dann’s move also to Coventry City.
He spent only a brief time at Coventry not coping with Premier League football and was loaned out to Fulham before making a move to Stoke City in 2001. He spent 3 years at Stoke before joining Swindon and Cardiff on loan before his final permanent English move to Macclesfield Town.
He ahs been back to Walsall since his departure as a player. He did some coaching with Dean Smith and the team last summer.
He is now coaching back in Bermuda with Bermuda Hogges.
He played 165 times for Walsall, scoring 65 goals.
Striker Jorge Leitao
Joining in the summer of 2000, Jorge Leitao became Walsall’s second highest signing – he cost £150,000. At the time most would believe that we had taken a huge gamble on someone unknown to the British game. However 5 years later the £150k figure we paid was priceless as Jorge became one of the greatest strikers to put on the Walsall shirt.
I dont need to tell many about his achievements at Walsall but who could believe that in his first full season in English football, Jorge picked up Player Of The Year, was leading goalscorer and helped the club achieve promotion through the play-offs!
In 2002/03 Jorge and Junior scored 30 goals between them in the Championship and led Walsall to their highest position in over half a century.
No one will ever forget Jorge’s last game for Walsall (against Blackpool) when the supporters sang his name for the whole 90 minutes and brought him to tears. He will never be forgotten for his shee determination to chase lost causes but most importantly his goals. He will always be a Walsall legend.
Following his departure from Walsall he left to return back to Portugal as he was missing home too much and signed for Beira Mar before moving to Arouca. At the young age of 37, Jorge is still playing professional football.
He played 230 games for Walsall, scoring 57 goals.
Clayton Ince (Trinidad and Tobago)
Charlie Ntamark (Cameroon)
Anthony Gerrard (Rep of Ireland)
Danny Hay (New Zealand)
Zigor Aranalde (Spain)
Jeff Peron (France)
Gabor Bukran (Hungary)
Steve Corica (Australia)
Pedro Matias (Spain)
Kyle Lightbourne (Bermuda)
Jorge Leitao (Portugal)