The summer has finally arrived and as I sit in the park thinking about my holidays and drinking myself silly with two litres of Happy Shopper cherryade, Alan Buckley’s 3 Striped Adidas Shirt’s mind is still focused on football and the cold hard loss of relegation….
Walsall FC were involved in a cruel last day relegation decider at the back end of the 1962-3 season. The home game to Charlton Athletic on Tuesday May 21st was of great importance to both sides. Walsall only had to draw to keep their Second Division status, Charlton needed to win. At half time everything was on track. Walsall were the better team going in at 0-0 with the visitors posing no threat. Then came a terrific outburst of heavy rain, so fierce that the game had to be abandoned during the ten minute interval. Nearly 19,000 disappointed and soaked to the skin supporters having to go home.
The game was quickly re-arranged for Friday May 24th. Walsall’s bad luck continued. Graham Newton hit the underside of the bar early in the game and hit the rebound just over. The same player then raced through and collided with visiting goalkeeper Paul Wakeham and the ball rolled into the net but was disallowed for offside. With no substitutes allowed in those days, Newton’s Achilles tendon was heavilly strapped up and he continued hobbling around.
Then, with half time fast approaching, Walsall were hit with a body blow when goalkeeper Alan Boswell’s cheekbone was fractured in a goalmouth collision. He tried to bravely play on but suffering from double vision had to be withdrawn and was taken to hospital. Granville Palin took over between the posts and did well before Keith Peacock struck home.
Just past the hour mark luckless Walsall found themselves 0-2 down when Mike Kenning fired home. A lifeline was given to The Saddlers when Colin Taylor pulled one back with a typical powerful shot with eighteen minutes to go. Try as hard as they did in the closing stages, Walsall simply couldn’t force another goal and were duly relegated, after playing half the game with effectively nine men.