XXXX – Walsall FC – Me Love You Long Time XXXXX

Sawadee Saddlers! I am the sole member of the Walsall Supporters Club Bangkok Branch and The Gilbert Alsop has kindly let me do a report on yesterday’s game against the Brentford Bees.

Here I am super cold! You guys have crazy weather here. This is why I wear two hats. This is not buddhist philosophy. This is true life. I wear two hats because it is super cold, you crazy guys. You can see my one hat poking through my retro Walsall hat. Look at the left side of my head. This is not cotton wool this is another hat. Crazy weather, crazy guys!

I saw this super cute mascot for Brentford and thought about switching sides but I had paid £22 to sit upstairs and the nasty man in the bright yellow coat stopped me from walking round to the other end of the pitch, so I stay with the Saddlers. I am happy I stay with them as a well fought goalless draw away from home against a team managed by a Buddhist monk is a very good result where I come from. Super, super Saddlers all the way!

The game was no good but it no matter. I brought many snacks with me to ease the boredom. This is me eating a seaweed-based snack and thus becoming the first Walsall fan to eat a seaweed-based snack whilst watching the Saddlers. I am not the first Walsall fan to eat seaweed though, that was John Stonehouse MP on a beach in Miami in November 1974 as part of his failed Reggie Perrin act. He swallow so much seaweed he change his mind about suicide and then fly first-class to Australia instead. Crazy guy!

Later, I celebrated my first game by eating Mongolian hot pot with The Gilbert Alsop. In-between slurps of his soup, he tell me that McCarey was man of the match and his new favourite player, Andy Taylor, struggled defensively in the first-half but calmed down after the break and was our main threat going forward. All-in-all he think we good value for a point. I disagree. He is crazy guy. Butler was man of the match by long, long way!

Sawadee Saddlers.

Walsall. Back Where They Belong

Booooommmmm! Walsall are back and so is The Gilbert Alsop. After wintering in India and topping up my tan a couple of shades to a sort of off-white colour, The Gilbert Alsop came back to a Walsall team in the midst of a great run.

At our victory in Doncaster I could see that the gloom has been lifted and we can see clearly now the rain has gone. I genuinely felt that there were no obstacles in our way. I thought to myself, ‘Gone are the dark clouds that made us blind’. I had a feeling of great optimism and that it’s going to be a bright, bright, sunshiney end to the season.

Yes indeed. Walsall are back in 9th in the third tier of English football and all is right with the world.

What’s gone right? A midfield. That is the main difference. We now actually have one. Last season (until Flo turned up) our midfielders acted as a tool to protect the back four and then bollock the ball up to Macken. This midfield has kept the back four protected but also created chances for Grigg to bang home. Febian Brandy being the pick of the bunch. Pass and move is always better than hit and hope.

Downing coming in for Holden has made our defence more robust and settled it down. Taylor, in my humble opinion (which is better than most) is a better left-back than Sadler, who was many a fans player of the season last year. He is a threat going forward as well. A great bet for a first goalscorer as he takes a ‘well bang-on free-kick, innit?’ As many a child has stopped me in the streets to tell me, when I walk to work in Hackney, wearing my Walsall badge with pride.

Up front, Will Grigg, the man The Gilbert Alsop championed for inclusion in the Great Britain and Northern Ireland Olympic football team, has been bang on form. Seeing him the other week fighting against the giant Doncaster centre-half, Rob Jones, shows how much fire in his belly he now has. You can huff and you can puff put you wont take this man down. Stuart Pearce hang your head in shame. Your lack of knwoeldge about lower-league football cost us Olympic gold.

Now I will go back to the title of this piece, and explain what it refers to. When I was a lad (sometime in the early to mid-eighties) everytime I checked the league tables, Walsall seemed to be between eigth and tenth in the third tier of English football. Even when we got promoted or relegated we seemed to be in that position. Now, when I look at the league and see we are sitting in ninth, it gladdens my heart. It reminds me of watching Metal Mickey on TV whilst finishing the last scoop of my butterscotch Angel Delight at the table. The only time of the week I was allowed to watch TV whilst eating. This passes for domestic bliss in the West Midlands. Our nirvana.

Long may I be reminded of this glorious time.