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Walsall - View


Chris

This week for the Walsall game we've taken to asking our very own Saddlers resident on Pride of Nottingham, SadLad who originally joined us after seeing me request for a fans view. He's taken the time to answer 12th questions which are hoped to provide us Notts fans with a general insight into the game on Saturday. Walsall come into the game having not lost any of their opening matches, which will see Notts attempt to notch up our first point or fingers crossed we can leave having taken all three! Pride of Nottingham hopes you enjoy one of our most popular features.

Firstly, could you tell prideofnottingham.co.uk a little about yourself, such as how long you've been a fan for?

I have been supporting Walsall for just over 47 years. My first match was on 23rd April 1966 V Oldham Athletic. I can remember bits of it even now, all these years on. That was the only match I went to that season. Like most boys of my age (I was eight then) I was hooked to football in general that summer with all the hype of the World Cup and England actually winning it! I knew then I had to get myself down Fellows Park for the first game of the 1966-7 season and I have been following Walsall FC ever since. We played at that ground up to 1990 so I had 24 seasons of watching my football at dear old Fellows Park and now 23 seasons at Bescot Stadium.I have been a season ticket holder for the last 28 seasons and I rarely miss an away match.

How have things been in pre-season and which signings are leaving an early impression?

We had a bit of an unsual start to our pre-season as we went on a three match tour of Trinidad and Tobago of all places! It was by invitation as a Scottish club had to back out and it cost the club nothing as we merely took their place! Walsall were unbeaten in those games, winning 2 and drawing one. Back home there were three home games againt Leeds United which we won 1-0 followed by a 1-2 defeat to Nottm Forest and a 0-5 reverse to Aston Villa, just three days before the opening day of the league season. Dean Smith didn't want to risk any injuries so put out a team of young fringe players and a couple of trialists whereas Villa put out their first team. New signings have been goalkeeper Richard O' Donnell plus Milan Lalkovic,Troy Hewitt, Romaine Sawyers and James Mc Quilkin. The keeper, O'Donnell, is gaining confidence all the while but the one the fans are raving about is striker Lalkovic who is on a six months loan from Chelsea.

Walsall have got off to a flying start, are you happy with the opening performances?

Indeed, Walsall have got off to a flyer with a 3-1 home win against Tranmere Rovers and last Saturday a 1-0 victory at Oldham. In between was a 2-1 Capital One win at Port Vale. The Tranmere game was a continuation of our for from the final third of last season, playing their own brand of 'sexy football.' The oldham game was a combination of good football and sound defending. Pott Vale was a tough one but we played well enough. Yes overall delighted with the start.

Are you familiar with signings made by Notts County and what are your thoughts on us signing Danny Haynes?

Of the signings you have made this summer the ones I know about are Mark Fotheringham and Danny Haynes. The former I remember from his days at Celtic and also Norwich City. Danny Hayes I remember him playing for the likes of Bristol City and Ipswich Town. Both midfielders who should provide some bite for County.

Which League One teams do you feel have made the best summer signings and why?

I would have to say Sheffield United. They seem to have covered all departments and the stand out ones are Stephen Mc Ginn, a centre midfielder from Watford, Sean McGinty a young centre back from Manchester United and a player we all know about from his season at Walsall, Febian Brandy. He has got pace and an eye for goal and I can see him grabbing his fair share of goals this season.

Who do you see struggling this season and who would your four relegated predictions be?

Tranmere, Crawley, Stevenage and Shrewsbury.

How pleased are you with Craig Westcarr and in general do you like him as a footballer?

Craig Westcarr! Has done a great job this season. I do like him as a footballer yes. He holds the ball up so well and has scored some goals already this term. He seems to have lost a bit of weight . He took a long time to actually sign a contract over the summer and there were fears he would go but no, to the delight of the fans he has signed.

Can you please share a good memory and a disappointing memory from watching Notts as a Sadler fan?

Good memory- at Meadow Lane for the Play Off Semi Final in 1987-8 season. On a warm sunny afternoon, Craig Shakespeare and a brace from hot-shot David Kelly saw Saddlers home. Willie Naughton produced a superb ball for 'Shakey' to slot home. One of Kelly's goals was a checky back flick which caught the defence out big time. 'Ned' always claims he meant it.

Bad memory- same season in the league game back end of April at Fellows Park, Although Saddlers won 2-1, a reckless tackle by Derek Kevan in the first minute effectively ended Paul Jones's career. There was absolutely no need for it and the game was held up for a long time after the bad leg break. I chatted to Paul Jones last season at a game at Walsall and 25 years on he is still disappointed with that tackle.

Tell us who you feel will be Notts County's key players and who you'd have mark them?

A great battle should be between Anoch Showunmi and Andy Butler! Two powerful men and they have had some interesting tussles in the past when Tranmere played Walsall. Enoch is about four inches taller mind! Adam Chambers and Andy Fothringham should be another good contest I feel.

Out of your offensive players, which do you see posing a risk to Notts County's defence?

Craig Westcarr and Nilan Lalkovic will be the main ones but don't rule out midfielder Sam Mantom who strikes the ball well. Winger James Baxendale has alreader scored two as well.

Where do you see Walsall and Notts finishing? Also, who do you see automatically gaining promotion?

Sheffield United have come so close the last couple of years and I think it will be their team to gain automatic promotion. Wolverhampton Wanderers will surely take another automatic spot. Kenny Jacket is the man to lead them back up the leagues I feel. MK Dons may sneek in to. Walsall should finish 7th, just missing out on the play offs, but a slight improvement on last season and Notts Coumty I would say 12th spot.

Please tell us about Walsall and the surrounding area, including Bescot Stadium?

Walsall is about 10 miles north of Birmingham and has a population of over 250,000. It was once a very thriving industrial town best known for its many leather works which was the trade from which the town's football team took its knickname 'The Saddlers'. There were dozens of small leather works who specialised in saddles manufacturing. Walsall Football Club is in the suburb of Bescot, to the south of the town about two miles from the centre. The M6 motorway runs right by the stadium in an elevated section. The Walsall - Birmingham railway line also runs nearby and Bescot Stadium Station is just two minues walk to the away end. The nearest motorway junction (Junction 9 of the M6) is only about a mile away and the large supermarket on the way to the junction (Morrison's) is where the former Fellows Park once stood.

Pride of Nottingham would like to thank our very Walsall resident SadLad for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish Walsall all the very best with their season ahead.

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i always enjoy reading these joe.

it is also nice to see sadlad around here again, he brings interesting views and i appreciate them here. good opposition view :)

thank you joe and sadlad

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I really enjoy these posts and I've not been let down with this one.Though I want Notts to win I sincerely hope Walsall have a good season for Sadlad.Thanks for taking the time to respond Sadlad and also very nice to see you on here again.Thanks to Joe,too


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