New Sponsor for The Gilbert Alsop

As you should all already know,The Gilbert Alsop stand has not been called that for a long time. It changed its name some time ago and has now again. I will not name the new stand on here as that will be sacrilegious. If you so wish, you can read all about the name change here:

Walsall unveil new stand sponsor

This is what it used to look like before the time of corporate sponsorship…

At Colchester on Saturday I saw that even Colchester’s goal-kicks were sponsored. At least we haven’t sunk that low, yet.

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Whack it to Mack(en) – In-depth tactical analysis of the Colchester Game

It seems like I am stuck in a time-warp when watching Walsall play away from home. For the last ten years I have been summing up these games with the following sentence; ‘Lost. Would have been more if it wasn’t for Wacka’. Even though tha sentence holds true for today, I will attempt a better analysis.

Smith started off with the standard 4-4-2; Walker; Beevers, Smith, Butler, Saddler; Patterson, Taundry, Chambers, Hurst; Grigg, Macken. That is the last time you will see the names of Taundry and Chambers as they were both completely anonymous throughout the game, because the midfield was completely bypassed. 

Instead of passing through the middle of the park, it appeared that Smith and Butler would be our designated playmakers. This is all very well if they have the passing range of Glenn Hoddle and Siniša Mihajlović, but they don’t, Smith in particular has the range of Ian Roper as not one of his passes hit the intended target. When any player managed to get possession the plan seemed to be hit it behind Colchester’s full-backs and chase after the ball or whack it to Mack(en) for him to hold the ball up. Neither of these tactics worked and the latter tactic failed because Colchester were by far a physically stronger team and Macken was simply knocked off the ball every time he got it.

The game was extremely congested in the first half as both of these photos show.

This meant that nobody had any time on the ball and whoever used their possession better would make the breakthrough. It was Colchester who did this as a simple through ball resulted in Walsall’s defence being caught flat-footed and Butler conceding a penalty and getting a red card.

This meant that Lancashire came on for the ineffectual Patterson to move into the back line with the midfield three spreading themselves across the park. This change meant we then had a bit of possession with Hurst being the most impressive on the ball, however, the ball never stuck when it went forward and Colchester would always soon be attacking us.

In the second-half we played better than in the first but there was still no bite up front which meant that Grigg was inexplicably replaced by Westlake, meaning another change in formation to 4-4-1. This made matters even worse as Macken had no energy left to make any runs and he stayed on the pitch ten minutes too long before being replaced by Jarvis.

The last tactical change was to push Smith up front but as he is so small (he struggled against the much taller Colchester centre-forward, Kayode Odejayi, all afternoon) he did not help at all and the 3-4-2 formation was just as ineffective as the others.

Walker made 3 or 4 great saves and Saddler improved a lot in the second half.  At one stage Saddler made a great off the ball run that would have sent him clear but the man with possession failed to spot him and the attack broke down before it even started. Those are the only two players to come out of the game with any positives.

Colchester were not great but they were certainly better than Walsall and deserved the victory. Dean Smith cannot be accused of not willing to change things when they are not working as we tried four different formations today. But the worrying thing is that they were all so ineffectual that it is difficult to remain upbeat after a game like this. We need to give Chambers and Taundry a chance to prove that they can pass the ball because the long-ball game certainly isn’t working.

Awaydays

As regular readers of this blog will know, I am not a big fan of Soccer AM.

However, I did get sent this link of Walsall’s recent appearance on this programme and it did genuinely make me laugh despite the predictable, unoriginal reference to Walsall as Warsaw.

The presenter is obviously parodying the mockney Danny Dyer who is actually a unknowing parody of all mockney wide-boys to have ever been on TV. e.g Del Boy, Arthur Daley etc.

FACT: When I attended the interview for my current job Danny Dyer was in the caff (as he would call it) downstairs. I heard him before I saw him and he was in full on mockney swagger even on his day off.  Here is the video:

The Gilbert Alsop – As Featured in the Scunthorpe Chronicle

The Gilbert Alsop has been in touch with The Scunthorpe Chronicle to give them a lowdown on the Saddlers ahead of tomorrows game against the mighty Iron!

You will see a picture of me wearing a lovely retro Walsall hat. Do not let my handsomeness distract from the intelligence of my writings. I do not want to be known for my beauty alone!

Tomorrow is a big game as we are losing confidence and slipping down the table but as stated in the article, I think we can sneak a victory as Scunthorpe are yet to register a win in the league this season.

Next week I will be posting an in-depth tactical analysis of the Colchester game.

Saddlers Players and Celebrity Girlfriends

Taiwo Atieno Story

News has just reached me that ex- Saddler Taiwo Atieno, the man Paul Merson once said was not good enough to play for Walsall before picking him to lead the line a  couple of weeks later, is dating ex- Sugababe Keisha Buchanan. Taiwo who is now playing for Torquay and a Kenyan international has been dating this lovely lady for a short while now.This completes a hat-trick of ex- Saddlers who have dated famous celebrities.

‘Who needs Cantona when we got Cecere?’ Was a cry I used to hear from The Gilbert Alsop on a regular basis. I am too young to know if this was sarcasm or it was genuine affection. What I knew for sure was that Cecere was dating Sally Ann Matthews aka Jenny Bradley off of Coronation Street. The relationship didn’t last sadly but the fact that it ended did make The News of the World, which apart from a story about Jason Brisset is the only time a story about a Saddler has been in that excellent publication. You can read a little bit more about Cecere’s relationship in this blog: Girl on the Terrace Brisset’s exploits are showcased here: Brisset in The Guardian

Darren Byfield and Jamelia were another celebrity Saddlers couple and perhaps the most famous of all. They were often seen together drinking turbo shandy’s in Yates’s Wine Lodge in the centre of town before heading over to Sofa Sofa to dance along to that man who used to play bongo’s whilst sat next to the DJ. They were Walsall’s answer to Posh & Becks but sadly (again) it wasn’t to last as it was announced they were going to divorce in November 2009.

Are there any more celebrity Saddlers couples out there? I used to go to Walsall College of Arts & Technology with a girl who dated our ex- midfielder Wayne Thomas. I can’t remember her name though so that doesn’t count. Please give me your comments below: