RUFC - Q & A Session from Walsall!
Rotherham United play their first pre-season friendly on Saturday, against Walsall at Don Valley. Vital Walsall's Ed has taken time out to answer our questions.
How long have you been supporting Walsall
I am 22, but I have been supporting the Saddlers for as long as I can remember. Even though I move slightly north of the Midlands, I still get to as many games as I can.
What made Walsall 'your' team
It runs in the family. My Grandad took me to my first game in the early 90s, in the days of Kenny Hibbitt as our gaffer, and I just got into it and became a massive fan. I could've been a Wolves fan, a Baggies fan or a Villa fan, but there was something about Walsall that was different so I've been a massive fanatic ever since.
Who is your favourite ever Walsall player
Difficult question, there are so many. Andy 'rambo' Rammell is a legend, then again so is Jorge Leitao, roger boli, Chris Marsh, etc, etc. However, even though he spent one season as a Saddler, I was wowed by the skill of French wideman Jeff Peron. He was a typical flair winger with plenty of skill, who unfortunately only scored one goal for the club, but it was a magical goal that meant we beat Wigan 1-0 at the Bescot, which steered us towards safety in 1998, and I was there! I have to mention Pedro Matias as well, who had a similar impact at the club, but Jeff was unique and I managed to meat him - he was a nice chap and spoke great English
Who do you think will be an asset for Walsall next season
Not sure, as we seem to have sold all of our assets for what seems like 50p to most Saddlers fans, i.e. Anthony Gerrard to Cardiff. I think one player who will become an important asset to us though is our young striker Troy Deeney, who scored 12 goals for us last season and is bound to score more next season. Watch out for him on Saturday
And who would you gladly order a taxi for
Not a difficult one....club owner Jeff Bonser. He man did good in his first few years at the Bescot helm and brought stability to the club when it needed it most. However, we need to move foward and that involves spending a little bit more money than the previous season in order to get back into The Championship. Bonser will not do this and seems to spend more money on giant advertising hoardings that overlook the M6 from the stadium rather than building a team, as players seem to come and go every season. We have alyways been a little club with potential surrounded by giants and we need to move on from that and get an owner who's a little flush with his dosh and committed to making a successful football team. Taxi for Bonser!!!
Have you ever been to Millmoor/Don Valley
I have not had the chance to get up to Millmoor or Don Valley, but maybe in the future.
How do you think you will do in the coming season
Again, not sure. Bit of a lottery at the moment as the poll on our site suggests. The fans are torn between playoffs, a midtable finish, and relegation. Personally, I think the bottom half of the table, maybe not too far off the bottom four, which sounds negative, but we have no players with experience, so I think it will be a season of building a team under our new gaffer Chris Hutchings and looking at possible promotion in 2010/11.
Favourite and worse football grounds visited
The Millennium Stadium has to be a favourite with Walsall, especially on May 27th 2001, where we beat Reading in the then Division two playoff final, when a fimiliar face called Darren Byfield scored the winner in extra-time to send us back up to Division One. It was the first big ground I had been to, having only seen the old Wembley from the outside, and it was a fantastic experience, especially when the roof was closed to start with.
The worst ground i've been to has got to be Gresty Road, home of Crewe Alexandra. To sum it up, when you walk into the away end, there is a sign on the wall that states you cannot stand on the roof because it is made of fragile material. It was just a bizarre stadium!
Favourite food ever bought at a football ground
It has got to be a good old Balti Pie from the Bescot, or as it's now called The Banks's Stadium. Simply the best, so much so it caused Pete Waterman to boast about their greatness to Richard Keys when Sky covered a game a few years back. Keys tried one and totally agreed!
Thanks for answering these, Rich! You never had a Pukka pie at Millmoor - they are the best! And, I agree, Crewe's ground is a one-off!