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Ipswich (a) - League - 28th December 2002

Reports and reaction from the 2002-03 season as Walsall finished 17th in Division 1
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Ipswich (a) - League - 28th December 2002

Tue Dec 07, 2004 4:37 pm

By Geoff Whiting ( on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 06:59 pm: Edit

Pre-Xmas 12 point gap now down to only 8 over 3rd from bottom Sjoke, 4 over Grimsby and now level with Bradford on 28 points. Bloody unbelievable, I'd expected us to stay on 28 points over these three games (incl. Forest on New Year's Day) but no way was I expecting so many points to be collected by teams below us, and for me this is now getting very worrying indeed.

People on this board slated me a few weeks back for looking too far ahead, saying things like we'd got a cushion so we'd be OK, no need to worry, the other teams will keep losing and won't close the gap. Well I didn't agree then and I don't agree now. We just cannot afford to keep chucking games away like today and relying on teams below us doing the same, it ain't gonna happen. Despite the apparent good performances and so-called bad-luck away from Bescot, the points return away from home is an absolute disgrace and it's got to change quickly or we're gonna be heading in free fall towards the bottom three.

More points gifted away today, apparently Ward made a total balls-up of a soft cross in injury time first half. Just as I was thinking "will we manage to avoid giving away the usual goal in the last seconds of the half ?" consistent as always we go and do exactly that! Then from a corner the defence goes totally a.w.o.l. (again) as their guy gets a free header for the second. What the hell is happening, we've scored two goals away from home again, and again we've lost !

Has anyone got any figures for the number of headed goals we've conceded from set pieces - loads I'd say but I don't know the numbers - Statto required !

I expected this defeat, but I'm gutted with how it's come about (based on WM reports), especially coupled with teams like Wolves letting us down against one of our main rivals, YET AGAIN !

I don't see any points in the next three games to the end of January, Forest away, Wolves home and Reading away, so I think we'll be starting against Brighton on 1st February with 28 points and even closer to the bottom three.

Were my predictions in early November really that far out ? When will our winning spell ever get under way ?

By Surrey Saddler ( on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 09:03 pm: Edit

Just back from Ipswich. It seemed to me that we went to Ipswich today intent on not letting them score and hoping to grab one ourselves- always a risky business. Ainsworth was on and Jorge was all by himself up front. Needless to say we didn't look like scoring and of course they did with seconds of the first half to go. The usual state of affairs. Ainsworth didn't get a look in all afternoon let alone put one of those famous crosses in. (And if he did, who is supposed to head it in?). Thank goodness he was substituted with half an hour to go, together with Corica for Sonner and Junior. We improved immediately and scored 2 goals. Unfortunately they also scored 2. Ipswich were a smart passing side and were able to keep possession. We looked nowhere near as polished but still matched them for endeavour when we had 2 up front after the substitution. Ah well. Wracky MoM.

By RushallSaddler ( on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 09:35 pm: Edit

Well said Geoff, totally agree with all you have said as I have said on the other thread above, I expect the points gap to close even more over the next two league games looking at the other teams fixtures on Wednesday and our recent record against the Dingles even though they're playing poorly at the moment you just know they will be up for it on Jan 11th.

According to radio wm and sky sports we didn't start playing till we were 2-0 down again, how many times have we done that this season, disappointed Junior was dropped, seems we only picked up again when he and Sonner came on, just seen the goals on sky, all I can say is I'm glad Jimmy is back between the sticks on Wednesday, Ward was totally at fault with the first two and I thought should have done better with the third, sorry he is not good enough for me, he dropped a simple cross at the forwards feet for the first, came out for a corner and completely missed it for the second and the third went under him.
Just watched Pompy completely outplay Forest should have beaten them four or five, I think the stats were somthing like shots on goal Pompey 15 Forest 2 and possession 65/35 in pompeys favour. Now I don't know if that is good news or bad news for us on Wednesday, cos Forest have now lost three on the bounce.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 10:02 pm: Edit

Probably bad news knowing our luck at the moment. Yes I also watched Pompey completely outplay Forest without Paul Merson as well. Lets face it unless they do something stupid, they and the best team in this divison, Leicester, will be promoted.
I dont think our record against Forest is all that terrible is it? We only need someone to make sure Johnson doesnt get a luck in, today he was very quiet, cant see him being this quiet again on Wednesday.
To be honest as I said previously on the board I didnt expect anything from today or Wednesday. Now I think we need something from Wednesday for sure. Mind you I must admit I didnt fancy our christmas programme anyway, Sheffield United are looking a decent team for the play offs and Ipswich have suddenly found some form. Forest was always going to be the easiest of the three.
Relegation - Yes it doesnt look as bright as it did this time a month or so ago. It was only a matter of time before teams below us started to win a few games.
50 points is what we should be aiming for, so far 28. That leaves 22 points. Home wins against Brighton, Watford, Millwall, Norwich and Derby. That leaves us to pick a further 7 points away or at home. Only 2 wins and a draw.
Easy isnt it!

By Pico ( on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 10:53 pm: Edit

Been to the game today, and I have to say I was disappointed with the way we went about the game.

Playing so defensively backfired on us big time as we never looked like scoring in the first half. With just Jorge up front, and Corica ofering very little again, we invited Ipswich on to us, which is not a clever thing to do as in my opinion they are one of the best teams in the league, and will be up there come the end of the season.

I hate to say it but the ref was rubbish again, throwing cards around like confetti at a royal wedding. Then came the inevitable goal on the stroke of half time which was a real kick in the teeth.

Second half the players came out. Surely Sonner or Junior would be on, if not both. No sign of either, until another goal later and far too late to get back into the game. Credit to the players after that. We were the better side for the last 20 minutes, but always looked vunerable on the break. This proved to be the case when the impressive Counago scored the third. Credit to Darren Wrack, who got on the end of two excellent crosses, which to be quite frank Jorge, for all his hard work isn't doing.

Another difficult few games await us. This is as big a test as we are going to face this season the next few weeks.

As for Ipswich, I would like to see them go straight back up now the Royle family has taken over. Excellent support, nice ground, good football. Not bad for £24!!!!!!!!!!!.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Saturday, December 28, 2002 - 11:29 pm: Edit

Plus travel, plus refreshments etc. Pico. Credit to you for paying it and going along mate - any idea how many fans we took there ?

Lots of Saddlers fans stayed away today I believe, saying the price was taking the p**s, especially as its only a fiver at Forest on New Years Day.

By Shifnalsaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 12:44 am: Edit

Pico, Jorge might get on the end of some excellent crosses - if he had any. The one excellent cross from which Wracky scored was from Jorge himself. Generally our crossing is poor, our free kicks and corners a waste of time. Lots of height in the team, lots of players who can supposedly deliver a good ball, so why ain't it working?

As for the ref, if players encroach at free kicks, or kick the ball away, they can't complain. I reckon all the bookings today were justified, could have been one or two more in fact.

The subs came on far too late, 2-0 down and could have been more. We were struggling, can't understand why Lee didn't try and sort it earlier, Ainsworth was poor and Corica not much better. I'd have had Ainsworth off in the first half, he was doing nothing to help Bazeley, and nor was offering an attacking threat.

I thought Fitz did well though, and Junior looked lively again.

Ipswich looked very good, what are they doing in the bottom half?

Time for bed, been up since two o clock this morning and driven 370 miles as well. Is it worth it?

By RushallSaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 12:49 am: Edit

Next few weeks tough . . . I think the next four months are going to be difficult, the only bonus being that it is going to be equally if not more difficult for Sjoke, Brighton, Sheff Wed, Grimsby and Brighton, I think we are gonna need to win at least three of our games against these teams and draw the other two, hopefully by the time we play Pompey in April they'll already be promoted so that'll be an easy three points.

By RushallSaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 12:58 am: Edit

Shifnal good point about our crossing and free kicks got to be down to the coaching surely we must work harder in training on this aspect of our game. As for lots of height in team I can only think of our defenders as being tall (Hay, Ropes, Carbon and Aranalde) midfield and forwards are all quite small, Junior's taller but he is absolutely crap in the air, he'll probably score threewith his head on wednesday now.
Everyone is also saying how poor Ainsworth was today, does this mean we won't be keeping him, surely this was his chance to shine today, looks like he blew it, only one game left for him now, but I think he'll be back on the bench on Wednesday, 3-5-2 formation required against Forest as Pompey played tonite and we might just win it.

By Mark W ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 02:10 am: Edit

Anybody want free Forest Tickets? Can't take another "galant" defeat.We are definately going down.Not at the game today because I knew we would lose by 1 goal.I would rather get stuffed as this is far too frustrating.

By Geordiesaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 02:11 pm: Edit

Markw maybe your overt pessimism is your way of coping with a few bad results, but yes let's get back to getting stuffed every week? How I miss the joy of 1-4 at Barnsley, the 0-3 at Man City, that glorious surrender at home to Watford this time last season. Ahh those were the days. At least now we compete against pretty much everyone in the division. Yes I know this hasn't always translated into points, and another couple of bad defeats will see the prayer mats getting dusted off, but for God's sake man pull yourself together.

By Tim Wilkes ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 02:29 pm: Edit

Not many Saddlers there yesterday, which made it unfortunately far too easy to hear some of the imbecilic comments. I took two mates, and it was frankly embarrassing to hear Corica being slated as er....how can I phrase this for a family audience...Colin Lee's very intimate Wolves friend! Pathetic.

I thought Jorge struggled, his cross for Wracky’s goal apart. I know he had to play up front by himself for an hour [a tactic that would have seen us go in 0-0 at half time if the ref had played 10 seconds less injury time!!], and yes, he gave his all as he always does, but he failed miserably at holding the ball up. The Ipswich no 9 was excellent - murdered us all day long.

Wracky was excellent again, but I think MOC may need a rest.

I remember back under RG we used to bring everybody back for corners. I moaned at the time cos I thought it was negative and just invited the ball to keep coming back at us. But now we leave 1 and sometimes 2 players up the pitch, but we keep conceding goals. Amazing, considering the size of Ropes, Zigor, Carbon etc.

By Ian Gittins ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 03:48 pm: Edit

I'm not a fan of playing one up front and the team selection yesterday smacked of late Graydon-era negativity. Junior is always likely to make things happen, and if he needs a rest then bring in Zdrilic, especially as we've picked an out-and-out winger in Ainsworth. That said, we've played two skilled, form teams over Christmas and lost both games by one goal. Frustrating, but hardly cause for self-flagellation: if we'd been offered this New Year league table before the season had started, I reckon we'd have taken it.

By popperpancake ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 03:55 pm: Edit

It is frustrating losing by the odd goal every week. But like Geordie says its nowhere near as bad as last season. I remained pretty much optimistic throughout last season so i'm certainly not gonna get all negative now. It seems to be just a lack of concentration at the back that costs us. Agree with tim above it is crazy how many we concede from set pieces...given the type of defenders we have in the side. Yet it seems bazeley, hay, roper and aranalde are pretty much guaranteed their place in the side. I actually like all 4 of them individually but maybe there's no-one there to organise and keep the unit together. I'm not sure. To be fair to CL he has tried different formations to try and eradicate the silly errors but they just need to CONCENTRATE. Not that hard surely.

By Shifnalsaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 05:07 pm: Edit

Well, two of the goals were pretty much down to the goalie, the third was when we were chasing an equaliser. Mostly I thought the defence coped well on a very difficult day. I would like a new left back though, if there is a decent, solid, cheap one available who can pass a ball.

Leitao did well, can't see how he could have done much better on his own. Won quite a bit in the air even against Gaardsoe, but was only nodding the ball on to Ipswich defenders.

We are crap at corners, defending them or attacking them.

Bazeley had a top quality opponent against him, Ainsworth was no help, but Lee didn't change things to help him until too late. Switching Wrack to the right made a huge diference, Hreidarsson was less effective and Bazeley was able to attack more.

If MOC needs a rest, who do we play? Who is there who could win as much of the ball as he does? Yesterday could have been much worse if he hadn't broken up several attacks near the edge of the area.

Corica is a problem, creative or not, he isn't performing at the moment, but Lee seems reluctant to drop him.

Against such a good side we needed everyone firing and Ward, Ainsworth and Corica were all very poor, so we were buggered. Might only have lost by one goal, but 5 or 6 and we couldn't have complained. And we only had three shots on target, scoring with two. Not sure the scoreline was a fair reflection yesterday. If we say that about defeats at Norwich and Pompey we have to be honest and say the same when it's the other way.

So many last ditch tackles yesterday, Carbon, Roper, Wrack and MOC especially all having to dive in on a few occasions in or around the area. There was some desperate defending from us, I know that's part of the game, but we were under the cosh until the belated substitutions.

If I had to sum up yesterday in a phrase it would be "a load of bollox". We are not doing as well as we should, there are plenty of proven, experienced players at this level, not just in the team but throughout the squad. Not good enough Colin, sort it out and quickly.

By Mark W ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 05:40 pm: Edit

I agree Geordie that perhaps it is a little early to panic however where do you see our next points coming from?

By Jorge14 ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 05:58 pm: Edit

Tim Wilkes, I heard that bloke, he was just behind me at the back and all he did was moan at Corica, every time a pass went slightly astray it was f**k off back to the dingles, you're a dingle Corica you twerp. I've slagged off Corica before, wrongly in hind-sight but never at the game. What is the point in paying £24 to moan, you can sit in front of the box and watch the Sky vidi-printer and moan at that every time we concede.

I know the prices were high, £24 for over 18's £16 for over 65's and £8 for under 16's but as Pico said, it was a good stadium, good support from both sides and a good game of football. It's just a shame that the "record" league attendance of 10,000 plus couldn't have yielded a few more away supporters yesterday, but to be fair, after Thursday's performance you can hardly blame them for not bothering!

We didn't deserve anything yesterday, Jorge tries his hardest always but these last few weeks he's looked lost, whether it's because it's jadedness from so many games or improved marking because of J+J's form. Fitzroy was my man of the match and my chump of the match (Chump! Who uses that word?) is none other than the man with the highest IQ at Bescot, Matthew Carbon. Please, note the sarcasm.

One of the people I was at the game with yesterday said that we're going to get dragged into it if we're not careful, I've got to agree with him, we're looking poor all of a sudden.

Mark W, why would you rather us get "thrashed" week in, week out. I mean, like Geordie Saddler I would love to witness the 4-1 defeat away at Barnsley again. What a great day that was to be a Saddler. If we keep playing "gallantly" then one of the days, we will get a win and I hope it starts on Wednesday, because if not we're in for a long 5 months.

By Geordiesaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 06:25 pm: Edit

I would'nt be at all suprised to see our next points coming on Thursday being as we've beaten them four games running and twice already this season. We have a far more talented team than any of those below us, and many of those above. Yes we've lost a few games we should have won, (and maby even more importantly many we should have drawn), but I'm a great believer in starting from where you are. 28 points from 26 is'nt a bad base, it probably has us about five wins and a few draws from safety, and this team is capable of stringing wins together, they may or may not come in the next month, but they will come. Lets hope it is in the next few weeks so we can relax and have a good cup run to into the bargain. If we do lose on Thursday then this is a big test for Lee and his motivational skills, and maybe a test for the motivational skills of us as supporters - see comments above.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 08:05 pm: Edit

I am 100% sure we wont lose on Thursday. Not sure about Wednesday though! Have you had too much spirit Geordie?

By Geoff Whiting ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 08:12 pm: Edit

Geordie, I really do hope you're right about Thursday, but I'll be very surprised if it turns out that way. Forest have improved since last season and more so since we played them earlier this campaign. That's not to say they're unbeatable, but our current form doesn't give me any reason for being optimistic, even though we have an excellent record against them recently.

Obviously I'm not happy feeling pessimistic or negative, I'm Saddlers through and through and I desperately want to see them safe from the drop as soon as possible, but at the same time I am trying to be realistic in looking forward over the coming four months and right now I'm just not being struck by any feelings of optimism. I just hope that CL and all are looking long and hard at the matches coming up and that they can come up with the right formula to improve the points return both at home and away.

Just take a look at the fixtures coming up :-

HOME - a lot of very hard games, here's the full list and I'll mark them with my forecast (W) = win, (L) = lose (D) = draw (not rocket science ):-

Wolves(L), Brighton(W), Leicester(L), Watford(W), Millwall(D), Burnley(D), Coventry(L), Portsmouth(L), Norwich(D), Derby(D).

So I'm forecasting 10 points out of 30 from these 10 games.

Out of 39 points available so far we've got only 18, and that's from by far the easier half of the season at home. If we somehow manage the same average we'll get about 14, maybe by getting a couple of wins where I've forecast draws.

AWAY from home we have :-

NottsF(L), Reading(L), Sjoke(D), Bradford(D), Rotherham(L), Preston(L), Palace(L), Gillingham(D), Grimsby(D), SheffW(D).

So I'm forecasting no wins and just 5 points from 10 away games - we've got 9 out of 39 so far which is about 25% (AND ABYSMAL), if we manage the same average from these 10 games we'd get 7 or 8, again by grabbing a win here and there from one or two of my draw forecasts.

The forecast 10 points at home and 5 away would only give us 43 at the end of the season, almost certainly in the relegation places.

I doubt if it will turn out as bad as my forecasts show, but uplifted to the current average with the extra say 4 at home and say 3 away we'd still only be just about on the magical 50 points.

I don't see how, faced with the above fixtures, anyone can say our situation looks very optimistic. I don't see any recent signs of improvement, the opposite if anything judging by the last two games, and yes I know they were hard games that most of us expected to lose, but so are a lot amongst the list that we have still got to play.

I think it's looking very tough and I'd rather CL recognises that now and does something positive about it before it's too late. I think we need another one or two experienced new faces, one in midfield and one in defence, to push us on that little bit more and give us the chance to gain those vital extra points.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 08:42 pm: Edit

Tell you what Geoff. If we dont win another away game I will buy you lunch and a bottle of your favourite spirit, as well as donate £50 to a charity of your choice.
If we do however..... you have to do the same for me.
Aere you up for it?

By Geoff Whiting ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 08:51 pm: Edit

Well Sheffield, I have said that "I doubt if it will turn out as bad as my forecasts show" so I do expect we'll win an away game somewhere, I just can't select which one from the fixture list right now you know.

However, I don't think in all my life I've ever won a bet, so if I accept yours the chances are that I'll lose but Saddlers will be safe, which is all I want really.

So yes, you're on,`and I expect to lose !

By Geordiesaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 09:01 pm: Edit

Well if that's what you think Geoff that's what you think, but i've not seen anything from the like of Derby, Grimsby, Stoke, Bradford, Gillingham. Sheff Wed, Millwall or Rotherham to suggest that we are inacapable of striging a decent set of results together against the aforementioned. If we fail to beat any of the above we will deserve to get relegated, but having seen us take 16 points from them so far this season maybe they should be more worried about us. As for the away form, last season we survived having won only three games away all season. Our home form will dictate survival, and we are more than capable of racking up another five or six wins at home to ease us through.

By hullsaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 09:14 pm: Edit

I hope both Geoff & Sheffield will provide an in-depth report on the lunch that Geoff will be providing ( after Forest game!).Perhaps Doffer should run a comp on how many courses there will be, quality of wine & whether they come to blows.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 09:27 pm: Edit

hullsaddler - You are amusing mate. 3 courses of course. Wine - Red from Australia or Chile. Come to blows - definately not, I dont fight with fellow Saddlers!
My favourite spirit - Vodka or Whisky. My charity the NSBTR.

By sjlawton13 ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 10:09 pm: Edit

Geoff you worry to much mate.I think for the bright and erudite bloke you are there is too much heart and not enought head in the mix.You know that should Walsall win the next game you will be talking about the play offs. What I do when I'm getting a bit twitchy is go up my gargen to my newt pond and ponder.Right what I want you to do,because you proably wont have your own pond,is to find a quiet spot, preferably when the wife is out ,strike a Lotus position and chant "George will do it,George will do it".Try Three minutes and repeat as required.

Geoof I,m new to this board but I've noticed a detrioration in your mental health.Please take my advise mate.

Concerned C P N

By Geoff Whiting ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 10:21 pm: Edit

As long as the bet makes sure we stay up, I'll be over the moon, even though it'll cost me a ton or thereabouts, it'll be well worth it.

Geordie, I haven't said we won't win any more games, and I'd defend your right to your opinion that you've seen nothing to suggest we can't string a run of results together against those teams you mention, just as it's my opinion that I've seen nothing yet to suggest WE WILL string a run of results together. We've certainly not done it so far, and we don't seem to be improving at all right now. You may be right that the home form will dictate survival, but I still don't see us winning many of the home games, there are some very tough games to come. I agree we're capable of winning at home, but the fact is we've been capable of that all season, yet we've blown games against the easier opposition - and we've even managed to do that on several occasions AFTER we've established a match-winning lead. I don't need to name the games, we all know 'em already.

I don't think we can do it on home results alone, I think we need to improve a lot at home and away, to improve the points haul at both.

Hullsaddler, I'll be delighted to be providing the lunch if it means we stay up. There's no chance of Sheffield and me coming to blows though, as he says, as Saddlers fans we don't fight one another, and right or wrong at least we respect each other's opinions, depite taking the p**s sometimes, especially when we've had a drop too much of the alcopops! I think it's most likely we'll end up laughing our socks off mate.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 10:34 pm: Edit

sjlawton13, you've got me wrong mate, I'm not really worrying, I'm being realistic about our form, and no amount of pondering at the top of my garden will alter that, only the lads can do that with CL's guidance and team selction.

If, as you say, we win the next game, I'll be delighted. We'll have three points and the 31 points I wanted for the new year, Sheffield will have got himself a free lunch and a bottle and his charity will have £50 coming in, but you know as well as me that I won't be forecasting the play-offs mate. LoL

If things go as I've forecast, in a way I'll be extremely surprised, my forecasting is invariably crap which is why I never win bets, but having stuck my neck out with a view to tempting the lads to prove me wrong, I'll just sit here with everything crossed and see what develops.

If I end up buying Sheffield that lunch, as I fully expect to be doing, a long as we stay up I'll be over the moon.

Worry not, my mental condition is fine, even if my opinions may seem a little unusual mate.

Cheers mate

By sjlawton13 ( on Sunday, December 29, 2002 - 11:23 pm: Edit

Geoff I think I saw you at the last game.Tall Adam Adamant type with a light coloured coat with a much younger man.If that was you(regardless of the young man you were with) say so and I wil have chat with you at the next home game.

Im,still worried about you mate,

Remember George will do it, George will do it

By cannock ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 01:18 am: Edit

No. Absolutely not. Geoff wears a green flasher mac. Well, in my mental image anyway.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 03:25 am: Edit

Nowhere near, either of you guys. I'm short and stubby, although my threatened new year diet might change that over time. Cannock, I have never owned a green mac, flasher style or otherwise, what substances are you on mate ?

sjlawton13, whatever you do, beware, do not approach the tall AdamAnt type in the light coat or he might just ask you what you're playing at. Yes I would be with a much younger man at most matches, that's my son Chris who's 23, but I've never exceeded 5 feet 5 1/2 inches, except when Cuban heels were in fashion, so the tall AdamAnt type is a case of mistaken identity !

Our seats are K40 & K41 in the HL Fellows, which are just above and slightly left of the first exit tunnel along from the Purple Stand End. Come over and meet up next game, or give me your seat number and we'll dodge over to you at half-time.

By Exile ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 07:43 am: Edit

Geoff - nothing but good NZ wine on your lost bet, please - if you're on the red the world can't beat our pinot noir, and our sauvignons are to absolutely die for!! The frogs would kill for NZ winemaking skills, but they're too busy on strike blocking roads to protect their poxy lifestyle blocks to think about a future outside the protectionism of the EU CAP (there I go again!!!)....

Plus NZ makes great beer, and I'm not talking about that steinlager cr@p.

Personally I think we all ought to keep the faith. The team is good enough, the manager is good enough (and if I cast my mind back he's been here before!!) and we are collectively more than capable enough. 1st division here we come. Again.

A happy new year to all!!

Cheers all,

By Geordiesaddler ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 10:15 am: Edit

Geoff sorry to be pedantic, but prior to boxing day we had strung four successive home wins together. A similar run at any time between now and the end of the season will prove the basis for staying up, comfortably.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 01:18 pm: Edit

Yes Geordie, slightly pedantic perhaps, but that's OK mate, it's all about opinions after all.

I'm obviously well aware that we strung four HOME wins together, though I'd say they weren't all convincing and we rode our luck at times - still that's OK too, the three points are all that really matters.

But if we're talking about stringing a run of good results together, I think that should mean consecutive games home and away, and I just see no signs whatsoever of that happening.

We struggled to make a single chance against SheffU, who are admittedly one of the stronger sides in Div. 1, but the fixtures show us coming up against quite a few of those stronger sides over the next four months, so (just my opinion) there will be no run of home wins strung together over this period, and with our abysmal away record I don't see a run there either.

Obviously I hope I'm wrong and that CL turns it all around, but no-one will convince me he can get the same points this time as he did from those last ten or twelve games last season.

We can only wait and see.

By hullsaddler ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 03:28 pm: Edit

A photo of geoff can be found at http://www.laughterhouse.com/lc_cms/pag ... asp?ID=673 , where he is described as "…wonderfully confident, highly entertaining..." He has been fooling us all this time by pretending to be an accountant or suchlike.

By Salop Saddler ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 04:17 pm: Edit

I've just got back from a week upt'north, and returned to all this talk of relegation!!! Far too negative chaps, far too negative. There's little possibility of that scenario coming about when you sit down and look at the ineptitude of sides like Sheff Wed and Brighton, though the latter have improved very slightly of late. Given the percentage options there are five or six teams looking to avoid one place, and don't rule out a continued plummet by Derby Co. They really are in a mess. I'd back us against any of the sides around us, (and frequently do)

Freda. Re: horse tip. Look out for a horse called VODKA INFERNO. It was due to run today but the meeting was abandoned. My chums on the inside tell me it needs a trip of two and a half miles plus, and will go very close next time.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 04:45 pm: Edit

Brilliant hullsaddler, how did you find me then ?

Quite recently, one of my staff brought in a "flyer" advertising some show or other where my namesake (or am I his ?) was the compere. Hadn't seen his (my) photo before though. I just can't recall where he was due to be appearing.

Sorry, this guy's much too young and good-looking and got loads too much hair to be me !

Good laugh though hull, cheers for that.

Salop, I don't think we are being intentionally negative mate, we are being realistic and pointing out our real concerns that CL needs to do something constructive to improve the points total. I think there's a world of difference between negative, realistic, and constructive. Still, at least it's good to discuss it and get everyone's opinions, that's all they are, opinions, only time will tell what the real outcome will be.

One thing is for sure though, we have to stop leaking stupid goals, we've acquired a regular habit of letting in one more than we score, and we won't stay up if we can't kick that habit, especially when you look at the teams we've got to face from now to the May 4th.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 05:00 pm: Edit

Salop might be right about Derby. It appears that the latest rumour is that they have to raise 10 million immediately, which means a certain up and coming English striker on his way to the Bag Ladies for a knock down 2 million. With Christie gone and, presumably one or two others of their stars, they could be in real problems.

I've put the bottom four team's remaining fixtures on a thread on thesaddlersfc.tk, if people are interested.

By Salop Saddler ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 05:02 pm: Edit

Nice one Geoff. It's fair to say that there are one or two problems, mainly in defence, and it's clear that CL has recognised that. How much of that is a psycological thing compared to sheer ability, is hard to say, but if we do have a failing that's it. Allowing for the fact that CL's background in the game was an attacking one, it may be that that is an area in his own managerial make up that he needs to sit down and address.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 08:22 pm: Edit

I'm sure he knows the defensive problems, Salop, his comments in tonight's Express & Star are very much aimed at the defensive errors. Don't know if you've seen it, but amongst other comments on the Ipswich match, he's said :

"It was definitely three bad goals conceded. We can't concede goals like that and hope to win a football match. Basically we've got players who are not good enough in one on one situations, marking at corners or when people are rolling into the box. It's not really a difficult defensive skill, but we found it difficult".

"I could put on a million training sessions, but if you can't mark someone from a corner you've got problems".

"There's not many teams that carve us open, it's individual frailty. Our biggest problem is conceding goals. If you look at the goals against column it's obvious. We've conceded 44 goals, that's nearly two a game. We have to score three to win a game and that's too many".

Too right CL, but we can all recall that even on the five occasions we've managed to score three, on two occasions at home we've conceded FOUR (Rotherham & Palace) and on one occasion THREE (Preston), and all against teams that we basically outplayed on the day. So even on these five occasions that we've scored three, we've only got wins in two, Millwall away (3-0) and Grimsby at home (3-1). We also scored four on one occasion, and won, Sjoke at home (4-2), but even then at 3-0 we got very rocky and allowed Stoke to get back into it at 3-2, before we thankfully finished 'em off in the closing stages.

This is bad for my heart - I'm in my 50's, they shouldn't be doing this to me !

Now tonight it seems Danny Hay's injury is going to keep him out for several games, Tony Barras is coming back from Plymouth with an even longer term injury, and Ludo Pollet is heading back to Molineux after the Forest game. I think that only leaves us with Roper and Carbon, and that's the pairing that played together for most of the Ipswich game, following Hay's injury.

I think we'll see CL trying to bring in a defender and a midfielder very soon now, let's hope he'll be successful and get the right men in, otherwise things could start to get very interesting, and I fear not in a pleasant way.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 08:32 pm: Edit

Carbon and Roper are good together. Remember Coventry away, they didnt give them a look in. Then the next match Hay came in for Carbon and we conceded 4 against Palace. Could never ever realise why Lee did this.
Barras, useless, get rid in my opinion. Hes not up to first division. So yes we do need cover if Hay is injured.
Yes we do need another midfielder for sure. Not sure who the answer is but I am sure Lee has got plans in regards this position by the sounds of it.

By RushallSaddler ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 10:11 pm: Edit

Roper and Carbon was the defensive pairing on last seasons brilliant run-in so lets hope they can reproduce that form again.

On the midfield player I did suggest Steve Hayward (not too popular with some saddlers fans) but another that comes to mind is Daryl Powell at Birmingham aparrantly his contract expires on Jan 12th. Struggling on the Centre Half though

By RushallSaddler ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 10:13 pm: Edit

Salop Saddler: How good is this information you have on the tip Vodka Inferno is it worth a dabble as I enjoy a flutter on the gee gees.

By sjlawton13 ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 10:15 pm: Edit

Geoff my seat number is 59 Row H. see you at the next home game half-time.Regarding the team I disagree with the notion that we need another defender and another midfield player. In my view the club has been obsessed with central defenders in recent times.What we need is two midfielders both with good engines,a young ball winner and a young playmaker

I,m still concerned about you Geoff, I might bring some Valium for half-time.

Regards Steve

By Geoff Whiting ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 11:08 pm: Edit

Don't worry Steve, I don't need Valium, a pre-match Scotch at the Oak in Lord Street is all I need.

Check out tonight's Express & Star, you might start to agree we need another defender judging by the injuries to Hay and Barras, plus Pollet returning to Molineux after the Forest game.

I woudn't disagree about two midfielders though, but I just don't see where they're coming from at a price we can afford, 'cos I can't see anyone coming in to take ours off our hands to release some funds.

Hope to catch you at half time vs Reading mate. I'm making a note of your seat number, now don't sit someone else in it mate, just to fool me !

By Ian Gittins ( on Monday, December 30, 2002 - 11:59 pm: Edit

Roper and Carbon are a pretty sound combination, but a shame we're losing Pollet.

On a separate note, I was a tad concerned to see us start without a goalie on the bench against Ipswich. It's something that rebounded on us once or twice in Ray's day and seems an uneccesary risk. Did we REALLY need three striker subs to choose from?

By SaddlerSteve ( on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 01:11 am: Edit

The Oak, Geoff??

You go in there regularly before matches then?

A good pub for Saddlers fans and only a 10 min walk from the ground.

You ain't one of them 2 blokes that gets up and sings Wonderwall on the karaoke are ya???

By Geoff Whiting ( on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 03:08 am: Edit

SaddlerSteve, correct about the pub, only started to go in there recently. Good atmosphere.

Correct about the karaoke too, I am indeed NOT one of those two blokes !! LoL

By Salop Saddler ( on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 01:11 pm: Edit

RushallSaddler. Re: Vodka Inferno. The stable reckon it's nailed on in novice hurdle company next time. Let me add at this stage that I work on the greyhound racing side of things, and horse racing, though great fun, isn't an area where I'd claim to be an expert. In fairness, the lads on the horse racing desk do come up with a regular supply of decent info. Best of luck.

By SaddlerSteve ( on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 02:29 pm: Edit

Geoff, i usually go in there whenever i make the trip up from MK. Good little place for before and after the game.
I'm usually with the lads in the corner at the back opposite the karaoke.

I still think Ropes and Hay are the best central defence combo we have.
Although the midfield in front of them could do a bit more to help them out on occasion!!

By Geoff Whiting ( on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 04:07 pm: Edit

SaddlerSteve, I'll look out for you if you'll drop a post on here when you're next going to be in there. I'm usually at the end of the bar nearest the door with my son and Ian Hemmings and 7inch off the "thesaddlersfc.tk" site.

Have you heard Hay is out for several games due to that groin injury he picked up or aggravated at Ipswich. With Barras coming back from Plymouth with an even worse injury and Pollet heading back to Molineux after tomorrow, it looks like Roper and Carbon is the only pairing we've got left. So what happens now if either of those gets hurt ?

By SaddlerSteve ( on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 04:19 pm: Edit

Geoff, Hopefully will be up for the Wolves game as long as i can get a ticket.

Not good if Hay is out. Carbon is OK but not as good as Hay i think. Wonder if Lee will bring in another defender permanantly or maybe go for another loan player?

By RushallSaddler ( on Tuesday, December 31, 2002 - 05:45 pm: Edit

Thanks Salop Saddler, I'll watch out for the horse and have a little saver on it, might help pay for some of the festive seasons exuberance, any more information you receive will be gratefully accepted, I also like a little dabble on the dogs if the information is good.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 11:59 am: Edit

Vodka Inferno is declared to run in the 2.05 at Wincanton on 9 January over 2m 6f. Storming Norman is down to ride it as well!

By RushallSaddler ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 12:54 pm: Edit

Thanks Sheff, I'll risk a few bob weather permitting

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