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Stoke (a) - League - 26th February 2003

Reports and reaction from the 2002-03 season as Walsall finished 17th in Division 1
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Stoke (a) - League - 26th February 2003

Wed Dec 08, 2004 9:00 am

By Geoff Whiting ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 10:19 pm: Edit

65 minutes gone and it sounds like we've only just started to play - sometimes you have to wonder whether we really want to keep some breathing space over the relegation places.

Still 1-0 to Sjoke and I'll take a draw at any price right now.

Did anyone tell our players how important this game really is ?

By Surrey Saddler ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 10:54 pm: Edit

My internet connection broke down half way through the second half. It is as useless as Walsall seem to have been. We need inspired performances in the next two games with a real will to win. We are not out of trouble and the team has to go out there with more fighting spirit. By the sounds of things tonight was like our performance against Sheffield United. It will not do!!!

By Geoff Whiting ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 11:17 pm: Edit

Playing the bottom club, with a defence that let 6 goals in on Saturday, we should have gone to Sjoke with confidence and we should have gone for their throats. Instead, we don't play with any spirit, we are disinterested, we don't even put any pressure on them for 65 minutes, and even when we do start to put the effort in we are inept. I am sick to the back teeth tonight of hearing the commentator say that we've won the ball only to hear we've given it back to the opposition almost immediately.

There are NO excuses for this tonight, NONE WHATSOEVER. To lose to a superior side is acceptable, but to lose to a poor side in this way is nothing short of surrender, and it's happened too many times already away from home this season.

Why does this happen so often, why do we only start to put the effort in and play when it's too late ?

I am glad to say I wasn't there, but the WM commentary and every fan that's been on WM since the final whistle, all tell the same story.

As for my predicted results from last November, that people on here slated me about and told me I was mad to start predicting results so early, well lads I've got ONE wrong so far, the point we unexpectedly got at Forest, and I still see NO sign of an away win coming up.

By the time we've played Rotherham next week we could be in really serious trouble. Unless this lot of clowns on the pitch start to wake up and realise we've been in a relegation fight since last November and we're even deeper in one now, get their bloody fingers out and show that they're willing to stand up and fight for the cause, we WILL be joining Sjoke and Wendy back in Division 2 next season.

By belgian saddler ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 11:20 pm: Edit

pants. please explain to me how there can be an apparent lack of effort in a match like tonight? this needs sorting. be interesting to hear the views of those who went. still reckon we'll
a. finish higher than joke (not hard unless they invented a 25th place)
b. stay up while they go back to their true level with their mates from burslem

up the saddlers

By Jane ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 11:36 pm: Edit

Just got back, no commitment, no passion, no shots on target and no Pedro until late. He needs to start!

By DF ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 11:37 pm: Edit

Just got back
An absolute shambles
No pride, no passion, no shape, no leadership
No more excuses
Sack Him

By RushallSaddler ( on Wednesday, February 26, 2003 - 11:49 pm: Edit

Didn't go tonite, like Geoff I sat at home and listened to WM and afraid to say I'm glad I did, sounded like the worst performance for some time even worse than Sheff Utd and that was shocking, the two commentators sounded very embarrased by the performance, they couldn't believe how inept we were, apart from a 15 minute period towards the end of the game, but even then it sounded like we didn't look like scoring, good job walker was on form or they could easily have scored 4 or 5, even Kearnsey was scathing about em I just can't see where the next away win is coming from, but looking at the remaining fixtures I think we will definitely need to win at least one away game before the end of the season or it could be curtains.

By Shifnalsaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:00 am: Edit

Walker superb, Roper very good, managed to keep the score down, could/should have been more.

No excuses, don't blame the ref, the pitch, too many games, too few games, injuries or anything else, the blame lies at the managers door.

By Wyrley Saddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:01 am: Edit

Any one who comes on here and defends that little australian prick called Corica must want certifing.
He is an absolute disgrace to Walsall FC. and as for the other Australian pillock, he could not get into Stafford Rangers team on a performance like that.
Ashamed to be a Saddler after watching this pile of shite.Watch out lads, your in freefall to the second division on this showing.

By Telford Saddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:05 am: Edit

Went tonight, have to say possibly the worst performance I've ever seen. I wouldn't mind losing even to a poor team if we'd looked like we put some effort in.

I'm not usually a manager blamer but i think we've got to put this one down to Colin Lee, how he can't get the team motivated for a big game like this is beyond me, i think had we won we'd have been more or less safe, now we've got one hell of a fight on our hands.

The team didn't even look like they wanted to win, Corica looked lightweight as did Simmo. Why didn't he play O Connor from the start? Even if he was not fully fit, in my opinion, it's better to give him the first half than the second, at least he could have give the team something to build on.

Also does anyone know why Leitao wasn't there? Was he suspended or injured? I didn't hear anything prior to the game. I think we missed him tonight, he always does well against Sjoke.

By Salop Saddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:08 am: Edit

Now that WAS poor. Nobody emerged with any credit other than Jimmy W, and really the team together with the management need firstly to say sorry to the supporters, and secondly to get a grip of the situation.

I'd have been in favour of making the sad sorry bunch walk it back to Bescot, (a) with no socks and shoes on, and (b) each carrying a sack of coal on their backs.

Only kidding, keep up the good work lads. I know night's such as this are simply a ruse designed to keep us on the edge of our seats.

By Paul G ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:17 am: Edit

Tonight for the first time this season the word relegation rang around my mind. Despite what was said in the papers by CL our approach was totally negative. First 10 minutes we should have gone for the jugular - an early goal against a team who had just conceded 6 and they would have folded. Instead we play the ball backwards, occaisonally sideways and usually into touch. Every forward run lasts for 2 paces before the player stops, turns and desperatly looks behind him for an easy pass. In the meantime he is dissposessed as his teamamtes are all hiding. Sadly its this been this way for too long.

There were sone really awful individual performances tonight. Simpson was slow and always losing possession. Robinson not a patch on saturday's promise. Barras as usual tried but has limitations. The main problem was the forwards who were an absolute disgrace.

Junior - time and again failed to hold the ball up. Wins nothing in the air, has no pace and always fouls his marker. Has been exposed as a one trick pony and like Roger Boli is living on one run of goalscoring which included a wonder strike. He will most likely fade away and go home never to be heard of again. He has started to just stand around the penalty spot in the hope of getting a chance rather than make the intelligent runs he was doing earlier in the season. Corica played an excellent pass to him inside the box in the 2nd half which he failed to read and then stood and moaned about. Earlier in the season he ran on to exactly the same ball from the same player against gillingham and scored.

Zdrillic - always jumping into his man and not watching the ball. No pace, no upper body strength and poor control. Guilty of possibly the worst moment I've ever seen from a proffessional footballer tonight when he gave up on collecting Pedro's cross presumably in disgust at it being overhit. As the ball rolled gently towards the line he turned and let it go when he could have reached it by walking on his hands. It's one thing not to have the ability but not to care is unforgivable.

The WBA game during RG's era is often quoted here as the benchmark for a poor performance. The first hour of this was worse. At least Graydons players tried against superior opponeants. This lot just rolled over and died against a weak side low on confidence. This will take some time to get over. Utter garbage Mr Lee.

By Jane ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:19 am: Edit

Leitao didn't play as he suffered an head injury in training and was suffering from concussion. We certainly could have done with him out there.

By Fish ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:32 am: Edit

Sheffield Utd revisited.

No pride or passion no guile or skill, only Wacker and Roper can hold their heads up.

What bothers me is the style and pattern of play (there aint any !), yes the strikers were rubbish, but it takes an eternity to get the ball to them.

The number of times that the ball goes backwards is amazing, particularly to Walkerwho was constantly having to kick under pressure.

Without wishing to re-ignite the Graydon debate (the right decision was made in my view), we are missing some of the values that were important to him i.e. Dont give the ball away (we do with monotonous regularity); Maintain self discipline (we are not a disciplined team in the way we organise ourselves and in our behaviour) - when we should have been pressing in the 4 extra minutes, how many stupid fouls did we give away ? and O'Connor would do better concentrating on his game rather than mouthing off at the ref and getting himself booked. The ref wasn't the problem tonight, it was the gutless performance that the team yet again served up.

By Salop Saddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:40 am: Edit

Did they ALL have bumps to the head?

By Fish ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:47 am: Edit

Oh! and Stoke were absolutely awful, that what makes it worse.

By popperpancake ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 01:01 am: Edit

That was pathetic. Agree with people who say only walker and roper are exempt from criticism. I'm just trying to understand what CL said to the players prior to the match...we just let them play for the first half...no pressure on the ball..no tackling..no movement...no passing...nothing. I've not specifically come on here to defend any of the players but when will people learn that it is not one players fault for a pathetic team performance....you know who i'm talking about......i thought not only was our performance embarrassing but so were our supporters..alternating between occasional support but mainly heavy criticism. Shall i come round to ur place of work and shout abuse at u? I know people have a right to express their opinions but i will always defend a player who gets the blame for everything, be it bennett, angell, aranalde, or corica. The reason? Because it is completely pathetically moronically stupid. Just like the team and manager on tonights performance. U think sheff utd and WBA were bad. Tonight was far worse in my opinion and it was against a totally inept stoke side.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 02:36 am: Edit

This is probably THE worst result of the season, not only because of it's importance to us as regards points for safety and league position (though obviously not so to the manager and players) but the fact that it was a total surrender to the Sjokers - how many of us come on here and respond to having the p**s taken out of us by brain-dead Sjoke fans, and how embarrassing is it tonight to have to comment on this totally inept effort ?

So, my talk of relegation last November was stupid was it ? How are you feeling now - as bad as me I hope !!

By Lee ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 09:30 am: Edit

Zdrillics point blank refusal to chase a 50-50 ball summed up our performance. Stoke are an awful side but fought to the death. Credit to them.

By Lee ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 09:32 am: Edit

Oh and yes Mr Zdrillic, dont think I will forget either. If you see yourself as some sort of Mr Big-shot that is too important to try, hand your notice in now. WFC fans will hammer you for not trying so blatantly.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 10:05 am: Edit

I thought I would wait till this morning to post my message, mainly due to the fact last night I could not have written a sentence without swearing. So here goes.
You know something, if I turned up for work and put that effort in, my boss would say excuse me I would like to give you this envelope. Within this envelope there would be a P45.
So this morning CL should be handing out 10 of these envelopes. I will exempt O'Connor, Roper, Walker and Matias.
No player bar the above played with the passion of wearing a Walsall shirt. What is worrying to me is that after the Sheffield United game CL said that he and the players had had a get together to discuss what happened and how they can correct it, one match after this 'talk' we are in a worse position than before. Last nights performance was WORSE than at Sheffield United, I didnt think this could be possible.
I would not single out anyone as worse than anyone else like the biased people in the above posts. Corica and Zdrillic were no worse than anyone else, face the facts, you just have some sort of problem with them.
I wasted £19 to get in as well as all the added extras of going to a football match. Makes me wonder why I should bother to go on Saturday. I feel that it would be better for me to send a cheque to the NSBTR (Northern Satffordshire Bull Terrier Rescue) knowing full well that the money will be well spent and most of all spent on a deserved cause. Not like the £35+ quid I f*cking wasted last night.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 10:17 am: Edit

Why does everyone always go on about passion and comittment? It's bugger all to do with it, it's lack of class, especially in midfield. I didn't hold out any hope as soon as I heard the midfield of Wrack, Robinson, Simpson and Corica. Far too lightweight, would have struggled in the second Div.

Bit different from the possible first choice of Robinson, O'Connor, Sonner and Samways, isn't it?

You can blame the strikers for not scoring when they get some decent possession.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 10:26 am: Edit

Neil - How can you say its lack of class? Do you realise that 3 of the 4 players have international caps? Robinson, Corica and Simpson.
Its lack of passion and comittment.

By popperpancake ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 10:29 am: Edit

I don't think its a lack of class. It was the fact we stood of stoke, let them pass the ball, did not put in a challenge that was so disgraceful. It was the things that football teams do that are nothing to do with class, more to do with hard work and giving a ••••, that we didn't do. The thing that really gets to me tho is it looked like they were told to play like that in the first half. CL was not urging them to press the ball or to get closer to them, it looked like he wanted to contain them for the first half. Now, having lost 6-0 on saturday u know they're gonna be up for it the first 20 mins or so and u also know if u get an early goal their heads will probably go down. So CL should have been imploring the players to go out and be up for the fight in the initial stages, not sit back and let them knock it about and get a bit of confidence. I am still as angry this morning as last night.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 10:40 am: Edit

I know Robinson has - that's why I still included him in the strongest line up. Simmo - he is struggling at this level as a central midfielder. Corica? His dip in form is alarming and he needs time on the ball he won't get with the other three.
None of those four have the ability to break up the opposition's game like O'Connor and Sonner (who are both Internationals as well). The four who played last night are too similar and we were always going to have problems. We didn't start playing until O'Connor came on and that's because of the kind of player he is, not just his leadership abilities.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 10:49 am: Edit

Neil - Your argument was lack of class, not players in or out of form or breaking up the oppositions game.
I go back to mine and poppers point, its lack of passion and comittment, simple as that.
And where was Robinsons last night? I think he must have left it at Portsmouth.

By Stu ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 10:56 am: Edit

Yet, for all of this we're still just as near 13th place as we are the relegation zone! Makes you think if our form had been just half decent as of late how much rosier the picture would look.

I didn't think we'd get much of a result tonight as it was anyway, that 6-0 defeat on Saturday was the worst thing that could have happened in my eyes.

The apparent lack of passion is worrying, we do lack that fight needed. The sort of fight that Goodman, Viveash and Rammell used to be able to inspire, we don't seem to have anyone to inspire that attitude at the moment. Hopefully Samways can play that role...

I didn't go last night (can't do any midweek games north of Northampton really), but you have to ask how Zdrillic can go from a superb workmanlike performance on Saturday to, by all accounts, as poor as he was last night.

Is it motivation, is it a mental thing about playing away from home (we've gone that long without a win that the players just don't have any confidence, a lack of confidence can quite often look like a lack of passion). Is it tactics? Is it simply they're not good enough.

I'd have been pleased with 3 points from Joke, Bradford and Rotherham. I still will be as well. Fortunately, I think the points we can get at home will be enough to see us safe. But, we must start to realise this 'supposed' potential and ability of the team to perform to a higher standard.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 11:00 am: Edit

And just when we'd started agreeing! I still think it's the mix - just as the problems in central defence are. Hay and Roper, OK, Roper and Carbon OK, Hay and Carbon OK, but Roper and Barras? - No. Both need a leader. Up front is similar - Jorge and Zdrilic, Jorge and Junior work, Junior and Zdrilic won't most of the time (I think Saturday was an exception).
Let's just wait until we see the strating line up on Saturday and see if there's a difference.

By Tim Wilkes ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 11:13 am: Edit

Utter rubbish...a 5 hour round trip, the only saving grace being that we are still 7 points clear of trouble.

By Paul G ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 11:20 am: Edit

A player refusing to collect the ball because a cross has been overhit is nothing to do with lack of class and everything to do with a lack of passion. I have seen some lazy buggers in the Walsall side over the years but Zdrillic clealry has an attitude problem if last night is anything to go by. Typical bloody Australian attitude. If you are winning great but if you are losing pretend its not happening. This is why they bury reports of lost Rugby internationals five pages into their sports papers whilst hyping victory in meaningless football internationals. Zdrillic can live off the eight goals he scored past Western Samoa and does not need to try to impress us.

By RushallSaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 11:37 am: Edit

Whats this rubbish about class, from what I've seen of the first division this season - there's not a great deal of it about apart from the odd couple of players at the top 6 or 7 clubs, ie Izzet and Co at Leicester, Pompey have a few, the Dingles etc etc, but the rest of the teams are very much the same and get by on passion, commitment, teamwork and a strong desire and will to win, which we sadly seem to be lacking recently and most of the season away from home, name me a Sjoke player with any class, I can't seem to think of one, Sheff utd have a couple but they were also very poor on the day, but still managed to outplay us thoroughly, but I didn't see much class from their players on the day.

By Stu ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 11:37 am: Edit

Spot on Neil. But then again, I've said that Barras - Roper doesn't work. Just as Sheff did. But because Barras had one good game people didn't want to see that, because Barras has "heart" and "passion", forget the ability, he has heart. Roper ins't a talker in defence and neither is Barras. Where as both Carbon and Hay are. Being a keeper myself, having a centre half who can talk to his fellow defenders as a keeper does is a big help. When you have two defenders who don't talk, it often leads to problems.
Spot on about the forwards as well. Jorge and Driller does work well as they're both hard-working (most of the time) and hold the ball up fairly well (most of the time), but they'd be much better if they had a winger to let them get the ball out to and who could then give them decent service in return!
Jorge and Junior works well as if we're playing on the deck, they can both drop deep and run at defenders. Unfortunately, teams have cottoned on to this and Junior is so easily worked out by opposition teams now they've played against him.

Driller might have been awful last night, but he was also superb on Saturday. I would say to you that Junior shows more laziness every game than Driller does, but people don't notice it or don't want to notice it. Would anyone have dropped him last night after his performance on Saturday? Hindsight is a wonderful thing...

I'm not defending his performance at all, just saying that I think Junior is just as bad. But, because his Brazillian he seems to get away with it.

By Geordiesaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 11:56 am: Edit

err Geoff, your prediction of November stated most pessimistically that we would get 40 points this season, and most optimistically that we would get 46-49, which you also stated would not be enough to survive this season. Well we've got 36 already, and there's 13 games to play. Yes our away form has been abysmal, and defeat on Saturday will have us right back in the relegation fight. I agree with Stu, our home form alone is good enough to keep us up, and I expect much better on Saturday and next Tuesday - certainly some points on the board. We will survive, comfortably.

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 12:14 pm: Edit

Oh Geoff - You have got 2 results wrong! You predicted a draw against Stoke. :o)

By Geoff Whiting ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 01:43 pm: Edit

Did I Sheff ? Sorry - that surprises me, but basically puts my points total back to exactly where it would have been then.

What thread were these predictions on mate, I can't find 'em now so I'm currently just going on memory. I should have printed it out at the time.

Oh, and of course I'm still keeping this money on hold awaiting the elusive away win - were you expecting to wait this long ?

As for the predicted points total, I'll still be surprised if we get to 49 even with 13 games left, although maybe, just maybe, the new midfield combo might be able to change things around - at least I do hope so.

Geordie, I still don't see anything happening to justify the expression "survive comfortably" - that's surely more in hope than judgement based on our performances, which overall are still showing no real sign of improvement.

By spinner ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 01:53 pm: Edit

The problem last night was as usual midfield. Simpson was the worst, but that was no surprise since has been abysmal for the last six matches. Robinson had a reasonable match on Saturday but last night he was just not interested. He does not deserve his place on that performance.
Corica was our third worst midfielder last night. He achieved nothing, but there was some effort. Wrack also was unimpressive. He gave his usual wide performance - never beat a man, never put in a cross. He is better in the middle.
O'Connor did not look fit, but was better than the above. Mattias gave us some options, and showed how weak Stoke were. Birch came on too late and did not make much difference.

By Jorge14 ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 02:16 pm: Edit

Sheff, **** off. I answered you last week why I criticised Corica and you ignored me, like you'll probably do today. You are still defending Corica to a point. How the hell you can do that after last night is beyond me. Last night is the first I have, and the first time I've seen my brother, boo a Walsall player, and no one can say he didn't deserve it, he was the appaling, as was Zdrillic, Junior (apart from a few good touches), Simpson and Zigor (until Pedro came on). Bazeley had his worst game in a Walsall shirt and Robinson is not any where near better than what we already have. Pedro came on late on and tried hard and why was Wrack taken off before Corica? Absolute disgrace on Lee's part.

If the officials hadn't been so absolutely diabolical then I am sure that the heat wouldn't have left Lee. and we would probably have no manager at the moment. A loss at Bradford then I think Lee's time is up.

The only good thing about that performance I can think of is Jimmy Walker and Ian Roper. They were brilliant again.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 02:23 pm: Edit

Wrack was injured, according to WM.

By IHATEVESTS ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 02:25 pm: Edit

Cool, someone else from my school posting! (Jorge14)

We were appaling last night. What tactics did Lee actually employ? Did he go for a draw or containment because he sure as hell didn't attack.

By Neil Ravenscroft ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 02:26 pm: Edit

Sheffield, Stu, have a look at the official site, the Manager is agreeing with you!

By SheffieldSaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 02:30 pm: Edit

Jorge14 - Try putting your point in a more sensible way and I may respond to you. And anyway if you care to read my post as obviously you hadnt bothered you will see that I critised all players bar 4 (Walker, Roper, Matias and O'Connor), this includes Corica as he was one of the other players obviously! I also do not feel the points mentioned earlier in the thread critising certain players is really justified as they were all as bad as each other.

By Ulster Saddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 02:31 pm: Edit

We might look at Rotherham at think. "why can't we be up where they are"
The simple answer is that teams like Rotherham are fudge hard to beat and they chase everything until the death.
We just seem far too easy to beat. After the game v Watford I thought theres a chance we might win three on the trot. Not now.
You are always goona get games like the team don't care, but along with Sheff Utd, this was a very big game that the team should not have needed motivating for. Yet so soon after they supply another completely unacceptable performance.
Do they not understand that a win against the likes of Sjoke make life an awful lot easier later on in the season.
Do they not care or is it simply that they are not as good as we (or some of us)think.

By Cockerney Saddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 02:58 pm: Edit

This is all very depressing. The nosedive since the end of last year has been catastrophic and we need to find inspiration from somewhere fast.
Corica is proving to be a liability. Agree with most people, we need a really strong midfield (an area we haven't sorted out properly for a few years). It'll be good to get MOC, Hardman Samways and Robinson all playing together this weekend.
I agree with Neil in that a bit of class can unlock defenses and make a huge difference, but when things are going badly (as they so obviously are at the moment) we need players to chase every ball (retrievable or not) and show genuine passion and desire to turn the situation around. Then some class and confidence can flow (as it did at times during last Sep/Oct/Nov).

Surprised Meir Stoke hasn't come on and had a word. It's not like him to be so quiet.

By Dave Roe ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 03:03 pm: Edit

Forget about class or tactics or formations. Until Lee can put some fire in their bellies (and a good kick up the arse) then we are in REAL trouble. There are so many players that should be hanging their heads in shame today.

Corica should've been taken off a lot earlier than he was. What does he add to the team at the moment (I'm not interested in what he used to add or what he can add) ?

Simpson ought to have his Contract ripped up in front of him and shown the door.

In the words of the song "If Zdrillic can play for Walsall, then so can I".

I thought the fans singing "Sack the Dingle" were way out of order, but I must admit I am very seriously concerned about Lee's ability to change things when it's not working.

By Geoff Whiting ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 03:12 pm: Edit

He's probably still in shock, having witnessed us being bad beyond his wildest dreams last night.

He'll be along eventually, and any p**s-taking he indulges in will probably be justified in the circumstances. Even though it won't save HIS side from the drop, our feeble surrender last night could just be another of those results that helps to take us down with them.

By TheFridge ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 04:01 pm: Edit

Ok i have a lot to say so here i go.
It was poor, it was bad you could even say it was terrible and that was just Stoke...we were even worse.
Just to give my 2p worth on the deabte about certain individuals.
Corica was no worse than any other starting midfielder last night and he was the ONLY saddler to force the Keeper to make a save.
Driller didnt have a great game but likewise he wasnt as bad as people are making out. He got stuck in, he backtracked into midfield and won tackles unlike Junior who never challenged for the ball allnight. Yes he gave up and that cross and yes that 'rather annoyed' me but i would rather see Driller play on sat than Junior on this display.
Midfield in general lacked ideas, couldnt get the foot on the ball and play. Stoke had done homework on Wrack and knew he was a release valve. They marked him well.
Simmo hit too many wayward passes and Robinson well i didnt notice him which means he was neither good or bad.
The defense was pretty solid. I dont like the Ropes and Tony combo but what other options did Lee have. Zigor had a solid game and make one superb interception in the second half that prevented a clear chance.
Baze was quiet but solid.
Overall as i have said to people all season Walsalls problem is in midfield. The mid provides the shield for the defense and it should provide the chances for the forwards at the moment ours is struggling to do the latter...earlier in the season it was the former.

I dont think we can afford to play Junior and Corica in the same team as both have a tendancy to drift in and out the game... u can get away playing with 10 men but not 9.

Finally when will i ever see an away game when we turn up before half time. Does CL say top the team " concede a couple in the first half then we will look good when we turn it round in the second." ???
Well this time it didnt work.

By Stu ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 04:03 pm: Edit

If I was a player reading such negative comments then I must admit, I'd probably convince myself that we were going down.

Can I just point out, that despite our run of recent downright awful form, we are just as close to 13th place as we are to the relegation zone. We are just 3 pts away from leap-frogging Wimbledon, Bradford and Preston. Its not a "bottom 4 and us" situation. Add to that, Brighton apart, who else in the bottom 3 is racking up points and closing the gap? Nobody really and we need two teams to overhaul us to put is in the bottom 3.

Our away form has been crap all season, fortunately our home form isn't. If our home form was like that of Wendy, Grimsby, Brighton and Stoke then I may worry. But it isn't.

Finally. As I've said before, all teams go through a bad run of form. Espeically those teams in the bottom 6-8 of the table, this is our run. It happens, it goes away.

Can we just forget such negativity and look at the fact, as stated, that despite such crap form we are just as near 13th as we are relegation. Or are we just constantly looking for something to moan about?

And before anybody comments on the "You were'nt at Stoke so you don't know how bad it was", it was only the 7th or 8th game I'd missed this season and I do 210 miles round trip just for a home match. So I know what its like to waste £20 in petrol alone...

I think 46pts will keep a team up this season personally, and we need just 4 (5 max) home wins to secure safety. That's assuming our god awful away form runs for the course of the season.

Geoff, so what if Meir Moron comes on. Fact of the matter is they're still 7 points behind us. Maybe the teams above and below us should be just as worried, that despite our poor form they haven't really capitalised. You could say "But I can't see us pulling out of this form", but then again, we've been like it since after Forest away and nobody has capitalised. We'll stay up even if its down to the complete and utter ineptness of the teams below us, then next season you re-group and see what's needed.

I know as Walsall fans we're used to having a glass that's half empty, but come on...

Sorry for the length but I can't help but feel its a tad over-reacting. I'd have been pleased with 3 points from these 3 away games(remember Stoke and Bradford are fighting hard as well and have the home advantage), I still will, but even if its 0 I won't panic as we have two home games on the bounce after. (If we get 0 from those, then I deny I made this post)

By Geordiesaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 04:55 pm: Edit

Geoff its results not performances that decide whether we stay up or not. Thus far i.e. 33 games into the season we are 7 points clear of relegation. Its up to you whether you regard that as being comfortable or not. Secondly, I see a manager who reacts truthfully and logically to poor performances, as he has in today's press. His reaction to the SHeff U game was to go out and sign two players, today he has signed one more, todate only one of those players has played. As Stu says teams go through runs of bad form, but even during this run we have dug out a couple of wins in the last four games, and managed creditable points away at a couple of top four teams in Reading and Forest. We havn't lost eight, ten , tweleve games in a row like the other bottom teams have, and that's been the difference. I agree things could get uncomfortable if we lose the next two games. That will heap pressure on lee and the players almost to the extent of last season, lets just remind ourselves that this time last year we had a mountain to climb and managed it - comfortably, and let's show a bit of faith in the manager and players who achieved that, rather than jumping on every bad performance as though the season depended upon it.

By Peter Beardsley ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 05:06 pm: Edit

Ill do what i can

By PJD ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 05:33 pm: Edit

Also don't forget our goal difference which is worth an extra point against the four teams below and Bradford above.

By everready ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 05:42 pm: Edit

Have you lost the plot? Walsall never win the league or cup. Therefore, we must hover near the bottom and when we win our last few points to stay up everyone goes beserk! All we were doing at Stoke was following the script.

Safe - mid table positions are not exciting

By 1933 ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 08:23 pm: Edit

Can I just say, I agree with Stu and Geordiesaddler in everything they say.


PS I'm not taking the

By Tommy Coakley ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 08:49 pm: Edit

Yesterday at Stoke was a joke. We lack passion i agree with that. remember Rammell,Viveash they all had it. Players such as Simpson,Corica and Junior do not. As for Junior I've always said he is to lazy for us , people have a go at the Driller but least he tries he gets no service from the wings( until Pedro comes on).

By Dave M ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 09:03 pm: Edit

I went last night and was appalled at the lack of commitment by some players in the first half. It was even worse than at Sheffield.

I would like to add however that Walker, Baseley, Barras and Roper could not be faulted. Without these it would have been an absolute hammering. OK so Tony is not skillful enough for this division but at least he tried and gave his all.

The rest who started the first half should never pull on a Walsall shirt again.

Totally disgusted and predict we will be relegated on that performance.

By Fish ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 09:18 pm: Edit

My mood has not really improved since last night, what really got to me was the utterly inept ponderous build up. We probably had 70% of the possession in the second half and still wouldn't have scored if the game was still being played now.

Much criticism has been made about the strikers with some justification, but they were totally detached from the play for most of the game, midfield were so deep in the first half, under orders, I ask ? If not what did Lee do about it, nothing, apart from standing in the box with his arms folded.

Someone mentioned Rotherham above, I saw Ronnie Moore after the game (he was there last night), boy did he look smug and particularly happy - realising that his boys won't have to break sweat next week.

By Shifnalsaddler ( on Thursday, February 27, 2003 - 11:12 pm: Edit

Central midfield, Lee is able to select from Simpson, MOC, Sonner and Robinson, with Samways soon available. First season we came up, for four months Graydon had Bukran, Keates and Bjarni to perm from and try to keep us up.

Bazeley, Roper, Carbon, Walker, Wrack, MOC would all either get into or be very close to a best ever WFC team from the last 30 years. Sonner, Leitao, Simps, Hay are also very good players.

So why doing so badly? We are a shambles, ill disciplined, lose possession from throws in regularly, can't defend or attack set pieces, give the ball away regularly even when under no pressure, shooting is rubbish, crossing is rubbish, some players struggle to last 90 minutes, no passion, not enough effort, players look confused, uncertain of their role.........stand up and be counted Lee, it is your fault, the buck stops with you.

Lee is a very lucky manager, no one else has been able to collect such a talented bunch of Saddlers, it seems clear he does not know how to get the best from them.

By popperpancake ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 01:07 am: Edit

The buck does stop with lee. It has to.

By Tweeky ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 09:33 am: Edit

Whast's up Buck? Libby, Libby, Libby

By Mal ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 09:50 am: Edit

For me it's quite simple, Colin Lee has been trying to improve the squad from the day he arrived. He gave everyone of Sir Rays's boys a chance and of the ones brought in during the previous close season they have all gone except Fitzroy who in hindsight we shouldn't have signed.

The midfield and forwards have been a problem for three or four years which is amazing considering the success we have had in that time. The point being we have at last raised all of our expectations to one of looking fo promotion to the big time when in all my time of being a Saddler surviving in the league was a bonus.

We now have a better squad who are under achieving and that needs sorting but the fact we are looking for diamonds for the price of cut glass is still with us, i.e Junior, Zdrillic, Corica, Simpson etc.

I think we have taken huge strides forward but I think Colin is frustrated that his team is Jekyl & Hyde so I don't think coaching is the problem just attitude and application.

Lets face it who would have thought players of the name of Jansen, Huckerby, Richardson all from top clubs would consider playing for us just a short while ago.

Last point, we must survive this season and I have no worries that we won't, then I think you will see an even bigger merry go round of players this summer and the Saddlers squad completely re shaped. Simpson, Sonner, Barras, Matias, Birch, Wright, Junior, O'Connor (coaching possibly) will all go.

Bring on Bradford cos our backs are against the wall and thats when we are dangerous aka Watford

By flownswift ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 10:03 am: Edit

Carbon is overrated, not the best we have had in the last 30 years.

By Geordiesaddler ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 10:59 am: Edit

I just hope now we've signed a winger, lee is bold enough to dispense with this 3 centre halves nonsense, and play 442 against Bradford. If we revert to the attacking style we showed earlier in the season we will definately pick up more points than if we sit and try and hit teams on the break. We've shown enough poor teams too much respect over the last ten games and its got us worse results than the earlier period of the season.

By Meir Stoke ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 11:33 am: Edit

I'm still here guys. If you lose on Saturday and we win believe me Ill be giving you some serious stick. You are in trouble.

By Salop Saddler ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 11:45 am: Edit

Hi Meir Stoke. Why don't you go and shove your head up your ar$e and see if it fits?

By popperpancake ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 11:57 am: Edit

Aranalde is suspended tomorrow i think. Any ideas who will play left back? Or will we switch formations?

By Stu ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 12:26 pm: Edit

Meir, if we lose on Saturday and you win. Your still 2 wins off over-taking us. After this run of 3 successive away games, we've two home games against mid-table sides that should bring 4-6 points. So don't get too excited, after all, Sjoke are famous for bottling it when the going gets tough.

Enjoy the trip to Hartlepool next season.

By RushallSaddler ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 12:46 pm: Edit

I reckon we'll go to 3-5-2 with the new boy Shuker playing left wingback and Samways, Robinson and MoC in the middle with Jorge and junior reunited up front.

By Cockerney Saddler ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 01:59 pm: Edit

There he is! Into the lion's den once more. I do enjoy Meir Stoke's quiet little wind ups – they do make me chuckle. Keep em coming Meir!

By geoff ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 06:03 pm: Edit

Perhaps we could call them "Meirly little wind-ups"

By Shifnalsaddler ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 07:07 pm: Edit

Flownswift, have a look at the points gained last season in matches which Carbon started, and the points gained in matches when he didn't. An amazing difference. He was perhaps the key figure in us staying up.
Frustrating yes, but not over rated. Easily the best, along with Roper, in the last thirty years, IMO.

By Robin2Bilston ( on Friday, February 28, 2003 - 08:16 pm: Edit

Watford was the first league match this season that we won with Carbon playing, for the majority of it, I think you'll find shifnal.

By Shifnalsaddler ( on Saturday, March 01, 2003 - 09:11 am: Edit

Correct, now post the details from last season.

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