Football Widow Weekend

As a Walsall fan at this stage in the season (and it is not often this happens) every point counts.  This isn’t just the games that we play, it’s the teams around us in the league.

The Saddler’s match this weekend has been rescheduled for Monday, as we have been chosen to be shown on Sky Sports.  Meaning that not only did I have to reschedule work to make sure I have the day off, I also had to look for what side I need to cheer for.

bradleydack.jpgOn Saturday Burton face Gillingham at home.  With the Brewers being the team to stop us getting automatic promotion I have taken on the role of being a Gills’ supporter for one day only.
Although secretly I am a bit of a Bradley Dack fan, whose skill I admired when he played against us at the Banks.  I am hoping he’ll become my hero this weekend by scoring the winner against Burton, leaving Walsall still in with a chance of second place.

But today, instead of keep checking my phone for score updates, I will be trying to enjoy my football free Saturday.

Bradford 4 – 0 Walsall

me at bradford

Me at Valley Parade, photo by Peter Grant

Setting out earlier than planned my Dad and I were filled with excitement and nerves.  Bradford away was set to be one of Walsall’s biggest games of the season, against one of the biggest league game crowds I have seen them play.

Getting to the match early and finding a good parking space built our hopes to expect great things from the day.  We arrived at the ground about 1 hour and a half before kick off, in fact the players had only just got there and were having a quick look around before their warm up.

There was a slight sense of grandeur about Valley Parade.  Not in the stand we were in, but looking out at the big stand hinted of what could lie ahead if the Saddlers are to make it to the Championship.

bradford warm up

Saddlers warming up, photo by Rebecca Grant

Arriving earlier means that I get to watch the players warm up, which is one of my favourite  things.  I get to see if they have any particular routines or rituals. Seeing them in a more laid back style, having a laugh and a joke makes me feel like part of the squad ahead of kick off.  Little did I know that this laid back attitude would play a major role in the game itself.

The first half of the game didn’t really get started.  Jordy Hiwula had one chance on goal, but other than that there was no excitement from either side.

During half time I had visions of Jon Whitney giving the players a motivational speech.   I followed my usual routine of texting my Nan with an update of the game.  The text was its usual message that ‘we weren’t playing the best’, and I was ‘not sure where we would get a goal from’.  But with Tom Bradshaw on the bench I had hopes he would come on and make a difference.

Then the second half was underway, and this saw Bradford attacking towards where we were sitting.  I was pleased that Neil Etheridge was now in goals in front of us.

Again we didn’t get started, and in the 54th minute Morais scored in front of what I can just remember as being a defensive shambles.  It pains me to write about the three other goals that were scored, but each and every one of them happened in slow motion.  Plus I could see exactly what was going to happen, and thought ‘here we go again’.

bradford match

Bradford v Walsall, photo by Rebecca Grant

If I felt down about the match then understandably so did the players, well at least I hope that’s why their efforts completely diminished.  I still had hope and optimism, even at 2-0 down.  When the third goal went in I was still praying for a miracle, but then with the fourth I knew that was the final nail in our coffin.

The players lacked the passion and enthusiasm that is needed to get promoted.  My hopes and optimism were not reciprocated by most of them on the pitch.

It seems I may be one of a few Walsall fans who still is looking up and hoping that we will gain automatic promotion.  Whitney made some very interesting comments after the game hinting that not all of the players are up for this promotion battle.  Let’s hope Tuesday sees those whose poor efforts and can’t-be-bothered attitude are out of the team.  I want a squad full of players who want this as much as I do!


Saddlers Cup ‘Like’ Final



Walsall V Swindon – photo by Rebecca Grant

My dad and I were going to give Bradford away a miss this Saturday.

With the impending back to back home matches we thought it would be good to have a break.  These were the thoughts we had before our home game to Swindon, where we drew 1-1.  That was the match where I went full of hopes we would be walking away sitting second in the table.  In the end the result meant nothing had changed.

However my dreams of automatic promotion are still alive.  On Monday, Dad turned to me and said that he has had a look at Google maps, knows the route and researched the ticket prices for Bradford.  Surprised by this I then got excited at the possibility of going to the match.  Later in the week we both decided that we would definitely go, especially as my Dad noted it could be our last chance of feeling the hopes of automatic promotion.

There has been a lot of talk on social media on how all of our remaining matches are like playing a cup final.  I could not agree more, especially with this away game against Bradford.

Today Matthew Pennington was recalled by Everton, following his brief loan spell with the Saddlers.  This means that we should see James O’Connor back in the side, who I believe we have missed massively.

Tom Bradshaw will again be in contention for a starting place in the team.  Although I think we should keep him as a ‘super sub’ on the bench like Tuesday evening.

I am too nervous to make any predictions for the score tomorrow.  Instead I will be focusing my energy on creating a motivational and uplifting playlist for the 3 hour road trip to Valley Parade.  As well as sending all the players my positive thoughts.

Walsall v Southend – Pre Match Thoughts

It’s been a while since I have blogged on here, and I have some catching up to do.

After travelling to our Oldham away game and feeling disheartened, the win away at Gillingham has left me feeling hopeful once again. 

Every game is crucial, and to be honest I’m probably one of the few fans that is still looking for automatic promotion. 

The news that Jimmy O’Connor has been back training and may be considered fit for today’s game is positive.  His presence and determination on the pitch has been missed, although I don’t want him rushing back.

As to predictions for the game today I don’t want to make any. The only thing I will say is all 6 games remaining are a must win!

Sheffield United v Walsall – Pre Match Thoughts

Coming back from the International break feels like the start of a new season.

As I have said before being a Saddlers fan two matches in a row being postponed is a rare event.

Although unlike the start of the season the next three matches are crucial, with all being a must win.

To be honest I am not too sure what to do with myself today.  I am not attending the match, as I am off to see Adele in Birmingham tonight.  Not only am I excited for that, but my nerves for this game are making me feel slightly nauseous.

Maybe I should turn my phone notifications off and stay away from Twitter, and just look for the result at the end. 

The Saddlers saw players Neil Etheridge, Romaine Sawyers, Tom Bradshaw and Jason Demetriou go on international duty. So let’s hope they are still feeling fresh despite their busy schedules. The break has given some time for Jordan Cook, Adam Chambers and James O’Connor to nurse their injuries.

I have no predictions for the result, I will just have my fingers crossed.