Walsall F.C.

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Walsall Football Club
Full name Walsall Football Club
Nickname(s) The Saddlers
Founded 1888; 134 years ago (1888)
(as Walsall Town Swifts)
Ground Bescot Stadium
Ground Capacity 11,300
Chairman Jeff Bonser
Head coach Sean O'Driscoll
League League One
2014–15 League One, 14th
Website Club home page
Current season

Walsall Football Club are an English association football club based in the borough centre of Walsall, West Midlands. They currently play in League One, the third tier in the English football league system.

The club was founded in 1888 as Walsall Town Swifts, an amalgamation of Walsall Town F.C. and Walsall Swifts F.C. The club was one of the founder members of the Second Division in 1892, but have spent their entire existence outside English football's top division; their highest league finish was fourteenth in Division Two in 1961–62. Their first match at Wembley Stadium was the 2015 Football League Trophy Final, which they lost to Bristol City.

Walsall moved into their Bescot Stadium in 1990, having previously played at nearby Fellows Park for almost a century. The ground is known as Banks's Stadium for sponsorship purposes.[1] The team play in a red and white kit and their club crest features a swift. The club's nickname, "The Saddlers", reflects Walsall's status as a traditional centre for saddle manufacture.

History and the present day

Formation and early years

The Walsall team pictured in 1893

Walsall were formed as Walsall Town Swifts in 1888 when Walsall Town F.C. and Walsall Swifts F.C. amalgamated.[2] Walsall Town had been founded in 1877 and Walsall Swifts in 1879.[2] Both clubs had played at the Chuckery, and the new club remained at the same ground. Walsall Town Swifts' first match was a draw against Aston Villa. Two players from this early era received international caps. In 1882, Alf Jones won the first two of his three caps (against Scotland and Wales) while with Walsall Swifts, and in 1889 Albert Aldridge received the second of his two caps while playing for Walsall Town Swifts. The club were first admitted to the Football League in 1892, as founder members of the new Second Division. They moved to the West Bromwich Road ground in 1893. After finishing 14th out of 16 teams in 1894–95 the club failed to be re-elected to the Football League.

At the start of the 1895 season the club moved to Hilary Street, later renamed Fellows Park. In 1896 they changed their name to Walsall F.C.[2] and joined the Midland League. A year later, they returned to the Second Division, three teams having failed re-election in 1896. The team finished in sixth place in 1898–99, but once again failed re-election two years later, dropping back into the Midland League. A move to the Birmingham League followed in 1903, and in 1910, the club were elected to the Southern League. With the expansion of the Football League after World War I, Walsall became a founding member of the Third Division North in 1921.

Walsall's highest "home" attendance was set in 1930, when they played in of front of 74,600 fans against Aston Villa in the FA Cup Fourth Round. Although a home match for Walsall, the tie was played at their opponents' Villa Park ground, and it remains the highest attendance that Walsall have ever played in front of.

File:Walsall Leather Museum Winning Football.jpg
The football used in Walsall's victory over Arsenal in the third round of the 1933 FA Cup.

In 1933, Walsall won 2–0 in the FA Cup against Arsenal at Fellows Park. Arsenal went on to win the First Division that season, and the cup defeat to Third Division North side Walsall is still regarded as one of the greatest upsets in FA Cup history.

Post-war era

In 1958, following a reorganisation of the Football League, Walsall became founder members of the Fourth Division. Under the management of Bill Moore, the club achieved successive promotions, scoring 102 goals on their way to winning Division Four in 1959–60 and finishing as Division Three runners-up in 1960–61 to reach the second tier of English football for the first time since the early 1900s. Players such as Bill 'Chopper' Guttridge, Tony Richards and Colin Taylor were intrinsically important to the success of the side. After just two seasons in the Second Division, the club were relegated back to Division Three in 1962–63, and remained there until a further demotion to the Fourth Division, in 1978–79.

The club has always had a rich history of producing players who go on to play at the top level. Allan Clarke went on to win the League Championship under Don Revie at Leeds United after beginning life at Fellows Park. Bert Williams and Phil Parkes both became England goalkeepers in the years after they progressed from their roots in Walsall. David Kelly had a long career at the top level after leaving Walsall in 1988, representing the Republic of Ireland at the very highest level of international football. More recently, Michael Ricketts represented England after blossoming at Bolton Wanderers. In recent years, Matty Fryatt and Ishmel Demontagnac have both represented England age-groups.


Walsall in action in 1982

The 1980s were a period of considerable activity for Walsall. In 1983–84 they defeated First Division club Arsenal in the League Cup at Highbury, and advanced to the semi-final, where an estimated 10,000 Saddlers saw a 2–2 draw against Liverpool at Anfield, however a second leg 2–0 defeat in front of 19,591 at Fellows Park saw Walsall lose the tie 4–2 on aggregate. This cup run saw Walsall famously only 90 minutes away from playing in Europe, which was once the name of a Fanzine, unfortunately no longer running. Walsall narrowly missed out on promotion to the Second Division in the same season.

In 1986 plans were announced to move Walsall to Birmingham, to groundshare with Birmingham City. The town rallied behind Barrie Blower, who led a campaign to save the club. Walsall were subsequently bought by millionaire entrepreneur and racehorse owner Terry Ramsden and with his money came high profile signings and the attention of the national media. In 1986–87, under new manager Tommy Coakley, Walsall narrowly missed the play-offs, but made considerable progress in the FA Cup as they defeated First Division Charlton Athletic and Birmingham City and took Watford to two replays in the fifth round.

Walsall earned promotion through the old Division Three play-offs in 1988, beating Bristol City in a replayed final at Fellows Park, 13,007 where there to see it. 1988–89 saw the club relegated from Division Two and Ramsden's business empire collapsed alongside the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Walsall were minutes from being taken over by Japanese administrators and folded, but survived, again through the actions of Barrie Blower and local businessmen.

Further relegation followed at the end of 1989–90 as Walsall were consigned to Division Four.


File:Walsall FC logo (1995-2007).svg
Logo used from 1995 to 2007

The club moved to the Bescot Stadium in 1990. At the time it was a state-of-the-art arena, and was only the second new Football League ground since the 1950s. The arrival at Bescot Stadium saw some stability brought back to the club after two successive relegations. Ex-Wolves star Kenny Hibbitt managed the club for four years, setting the groundwork for a golden era for the club that would follow soon after his dismissal in September 1994.

New manager Chris Nicholl led the club to promotion in his first season, building the nucleus of a strong and under-rated team. Two seasons of stability followed, the team finishing 11th and 12th, before Nicholl resigned in 1997.

Ex-Ajax and Danish international Jan Sorensen took the helm after Nicholl`s departure. Whilst 'The Saddlers' finished a lowly 19th in Division Two that season, the club reached the 4th Round of the League Cup, as well as rampaging through the early rounds of the FA Cup. Lincoln United were dispatched in the first round, before league newcomers Macclesfield Town were beaten 7–0 away and a victory over Peterborough United in the 3rd Round was rewarded with a glamour tie away at Manchester United, which Walsall lost 5–1. However, despite the club's cup exploits, a poor finish in the league signalled the end of Sorensen's time at Walsall after just one season.

In 1998–99, ex-Aston Villa winger Ray Graydon took over as manager and led the club to a runners-up spot in Division Two, beating Man City to automatic promotion by 5 points.[3]


After an unlikely promotion to the second tier Walsall found life difficult at a higher level, but battled right until the final day of the season, when their fate was finally sealed. A 2–0 defeat at Ipswich coupled with West Brom's home victory over Charlton meant Walsall returned to the third tier, despite derby wins over local rivals Wolves, Birmingham and West Brom earlier in the campaign.

The Saddlers returned to the second-tier of English Football at the first attempt, defeating Reading 3–2, after extra time, in a thrilling play-off final at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium.[4] After a promising start to the season, the form began to slip away over the winter period. However, the signings of Fitzroy Simpson and Don Goodman added much needed steel to the side and spurred them on to reach Division One once again.

Despite all the success he had delivered, it soon became clear that Ray Graydon had reached the end of the road at the club. Following an abject performance and 2–0 defeat, live on Sky Sports against local rivals West Brom, Jeff Bonser dismissed Graydon. His replacement, ex-Wolves manager Colin Lee polarised supporters, but ultimately proved to be a success. The style of football improved and Lee's signings improved the team dramatically. Relegation was avoided thanks to vital away wins against Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United.

Chart of table positions of Walsall in the Football League.

2003–04 proved to be one of the most remarkable seasons in the club's history. Up until Christmas, Walsall were flying. West Bromwich Albion and Nottingham Forest were both destroyed 4–1, as new-signing, the ex-England and Arsenal star, Paul Merson seemed to be repeating some of the magic that had led Portsmouth to promotion the previous season. Following a Boxing Day victory at Cardiff City, the club sat just four points off a place in the play-offs.

However, 2004 saw a spectacular slump in form. The New Year began with a disappointing FA Cup Third Round defeat away at Millwall, and an embarrassing 6–1 home defeat against fellow-strugglers Coventry City. The following weeks saw further costly defeats, and it took until 13 March for the club to win their first league game of 2004. Colin Lee was sacked on 16 April 2004 after a shambolic display at Gillingham, though the reason given for his dismissal was his decision to speak to Plymouth Argyle about their vacant manager's position.

Lee was replaced on a temporary basis by Paul Merson, who was assisted by Simon Osborn. Despite the rallying cries of the ex-England international, and the backing of the town, Walsall were ultimately relegated, agonisingly by a single goal, despite a 3–2 victory over Rotherham Utd at home, on the season's final day.

Despite the club's relegation and no previous managerial experience, Merson was immediately appointed as full-time manager of the club in May 2004. Although initially a popular choice, a poor season almost ended in successive relegations. However, an inspired loan signing Julian Joachim spurred the team on to winning all five of their final games of the 2004–05 season and 14th place in League One, restoring some faith in his management ability.

Although the 2005–06 season started promisingly, it turned into a disastrous one for Walsall. After increasing supporter pressure following a string of bad results, culminating in a 5–0 defeat at Brentford, Merson's reign as Walsall manager came to an end on 6 February 2006.

Later that month, former Birmingham City captain Kevan Broadhurst was appointed as Paul Merson's replacement. However, Walsall were relegated on 22 April 2006 after losing 3–1 to Huddersfield Town. Broadhurst was sacked the next day. On 3 May 2006, the team appointed their third permanent manager of the season in former Scunthorpe manager Richard Money.

Richard Money's reign started with a bang as Walsall lost just once in the first 20 League games in League Two, including maximum points from their first seven home ties. An impressive start to the season was maintained throughout, and despite a mini-blip in February, Walsall remained in the top three for almost the entire season. Walsall were promoted into League One on 14 April after beating Notts County 2–1 away from home. On the final day of the season, Walsall drew 1–1 with Swindon Town at the County Ground thanks to a last-minute goal by Dean Keates in front of 3,419 travelling fans, to secure the League Two title.[5][6]

Walsall (in red shirts) playing Gillingham in 2009

Walsall's form continued into the new season, as the club performed strongly in 2007–08, including a run of 17 League matches without defeat. However, a January transfer window that culminated in the sales of important first team players Daniel Fox and Scott Dann (both to Coventry City) caused a drop in form throughout 2008. The club's play-off challenge was ended after a run of poor results in March leading to Richard Money resigning as manager in April. Jimmy Mullen took over as caretaker manager before being given the job on a permanent basis after the club finished in 12th place.

Walsall endured an inconsistent start to their League One campaign in 2008–09, with a number of home defeats leading to the sacking of manager Jimmy Mullen in January 2009. Mullen was replaced by former Walsall player Chris Hutchings. Hutchings started his reign with a 1–1 home draw with Hereford United. His first win as Walsall manager came against Leeds United on 31 January 2009 at Bescot Stadium, with Troy Deeney's first half goal proving enough in a 1–0 win.

2009–10, Hutchings's first full season as Walsall manager, was again inconsistent. At the start of December, Walsall were 7th and only a point outside the play-offs. However, the start of 2010 brought a slump in form and by the beginning of April, Walsall were 13th with only one win in seven League games. The last eight games brought a striking change in form, only losing once to seal a top 10 finish – their highest since being relegated in 2004.

The end of the 2009/10 season saw some of the darkest days in the club's history. Chairman Jeff Bonser & then Chief Executive Roy Whalley banned innocent supporters Neil Ravenscroft, Wayne Swift & Darren Rhodes from the football ground for daring to bring a Cypriot flag into the Banks's Stadium.[7] Roy Whalley stepped down at the end of that season[8] and Jeff Bonser has not attended a Walsall game since the end of that season. The innocent supporters were eventually unbanned but no formal apology was either received or presented to either the supporters or individuals concerned. The retirement of Roy Whalley and Jeff Bonser's exile was the start of a new era at Walsall. Stefan Gamble took over the reigns as Chief Executive and the club has not looked back since.

2010 to present day

The 2010–11 season started poorly and by the beginning of October, Walsall were rock-bottom of the table and facing a relegation battle. On 3 January 2011, after a 4–1 defeat against Peterborough United, Hutchings was sacked. Head of Youth, and ex-Walsall player, Dean Smith was placed in temporary charge. On 21 January he was announced as permanent manager of the club until the end of the season.[9]

On 29 January 2011, Walsall recorded their best League result since 1986 by beating Bristol Rovers 6–1. This was Smith's first win in charge, and sparked an upturn in form seeing Walsall gain ground on their relegation rivals. A 1–0 win over promotion chasing Southampton on 1 March 2011 saw Walsall climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since October. A points haul of 8 in April was enough to ensure Walsall were one point clear of the drop zone going into the final set of fixtures. Despite losing 3–1 to Southampton, and accumulating only 48 points, Walsall survived relegation by 1 point ahead of Dagenham & Redbridge, who lost on the same day to Peterborough United.

The 2011–12 season once again saw Walsall flirt with relegation from League One. However, a 1–1 draw at home to Huddersfield Town on 28 April 2012 guaranteed Walsall's survival in League One at the expense of Wycombe Wanderers, Chesterfield, Exeter City and Rochdale, who were all relegated.

The 2012–13 season began with a 3–0 home defeat to Doncaster Rovers on 18 August 2012, though Walsall gradually began to improve after their initial setback, reaching 5th place in the League One table after a 2–1 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park on 15 September 2012. However, a winless run of sixteen games followed from early October until 22 December 2012, when the Saddlers defeated Colchester United 1–0 at home. Following this, the club began to prosper in the New Year, only being beaten three times in 24 games until the end of the season and emerging as a serious contender for the play-offs. Despite falling just short, they finished 9th in the table, marking a significant improvement following two seasons of struggling.

On Tuesday 9 December 2014 Walsall drew 2–2 against Tranmere Rovers in the Johnstone Paint trophy Area Semi-Final in which they ended up winning 5–4 on penalties to reach the Area-Final [10]

On Wednesday 7 January 2015 Walsall played the Area-Final first leg against Preston NE, winning 2–0 by scoring twice within the 80th to 90th minute with Tom Bradshaw playing a key part. After a stalemate second leg Walsall reach the Football League Trophy final and for the first time in their 127-year history play at Wembley Stadium where they were beaten 2–0 by Bristol City on Sunday 22 March 2015. Topping a disappointing season for the club where they managed to become clear of relegation just two games before the end of the season, a 3–3 draw with promotion play-off side, Swindon.

Walsall started the 2015–16 season well, with Smith being named as League One Manager of the Month and Rico Henry named youth player of the month for August as the club ended the month at the top of the table.[11] Walsall rejected an approach for Smith, known as 'the original ginger Mourinho', from Rotherham United in October, describing him as "fundamental to our future plans".[12] Smith signed a new 12-month rolling contract on 16 October. However six weeks later he left Walsall for Brentford with the "Saddlers" fourth in the table; at the time of his departure he was the fourth longest serving manager in the Football League, ending an era.[13]

Walsall turned to Sean O'Driscoll as head coach on the 18 December 2015, who had recently become available after the sacking of Brendan Rogers, as he was the, then, Liverpool boss' assistant manager.[14] Sean O'Driscoll made it evidential that he did not intend to make any major changes. Going into the new year O'Driscoll's Walsall were top of the table on goal difference after winning all three games since O'Driscoll took the reigns.[15]

A timeline of Walsall's history

  • 1888 – Founded as Walsall Town Swifts
  • 1896 – Beat Wolverhampton Wanderers to win the Birmingham Senior Cup, and also Aston Villa in the Birmingham Charity Cup final.
  • 1896 – Move into the new Hillary Street Ground, which will later become known as Fellows Park, Walsall's home, on and off, until 1990.
  • 1933 – Beat Arsenal in the FA Cup, a result still regarded as one of the greatest FA Cup upsets of all-time.
  • 1972 – Club rescued from financial oblivion by new owner Ken Wheldon.
  • 1975 – Defeat Manchester United and Newcastle United in the FA Cup on the way to the fifth round. The winning goal against Newcastle is scored by striker George Andrews.
  • 1978 – Defeat Leicester City in the FA Cup on the way to the fifth round.
  • 1979 – Sign striker Alan Buckley back from Birmingham City for a club record £175,000. He becomes player-manager soon after.
  • 1984 – Walsall reach the League Cup semi-finals, defeating Arsenal in the fourth round, but manager Alan Buckley is sacked for failing to guide the club into the Second Division.
  • 1986 – Racecourse owner Terry Ramsden buys the club.
  • 1988 – Promotion to the Second Division is achieved.
  • 1989 – Relegation to Third Division after just one season in the Second.
  • 1990 – A second successive relegation sees Walsall relegated to the Fourth Division, and they moved into their new Bescot Stadium a few hundred yards from Fellows Park.
  • 1992 – Jeff Bonser buys the club, which again was minutes away from entering receivership. He appoints ex-Wolves boss Kenny Hibbitt as manager.
  • 1994 – Chris Nicholl is appointed manager.
  • 1995 – Walsall win promotion to Division Two.
  • 1997 – Chris Nicholl resigns as manager to be succeeded by Jan Sorensen.
  • 1998 – Walsall reach the fourth round of the League Cup and FA Cup. Jan Sorensen is sacked at the end of the season and is succeeded by Ray Graydon.
  • 1999 – Walsall win promotion to Division One.
  • 2000 – Walsall are relegated to Division Two, being pipped to survival by local rivals West Bromwich Albion.
  • 2001 – Walsall climb back to Division One at the first attempt, winning the Division Two play-offs.
  • 2002 – Ray Graydon is sacked as manager and replaced by Colin Lee.
  • 2003 – Walsall sign 35-year-old former Arsenal and England midfielder Paul Merson.
  • 2004 – Walsall are relegated from Division One shortly after the dismissal of Colin Lee as manager. Paul Merson takes over as player-manager.
  • 2005 – Paul Merson is sacked after just over a year as manager and is replaced by Kevan Broadhurst.
  • 2006 – Walsall are relegated to League Two and Kevin Broadhurst is sacked as manager to be replaced by Richard Money.
  • 2007 – Walsall win the League Two title and are promoted to League One.
  • 2008 – Walsall achieve a top half finish in League One, but Richard Money resigns at the end of the season and is replaced by Jimmy Mullen.
  • 2009 – Walsall survive in League One after Jimmy Mullen was sacked as manager and Chris Hutchings replaces him.
  • 2011 – Chris Hutchings is sacked as Walsall manager and head of youth Dean Smith replaces him.
  • 2011 – Relegation to League Two avoided by one point.
  • 2012 – Relegation to League Two avoided on penultimate day of the season.
  • 2015 – Walsall reach the Football League Trophy final and for the first time in their 127-year history play at Wembley Stadium. However, they lose 2–0 to Bristol City (who win the trophy for a record third time) in the final on 22 March.


Walsall have rivalries with neighbouring Black Country teams West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers (though these teams are often more concerned with their rivalry against each other, rather than against Walsall).

More 'reciprocal' rivalries exist with Shrewsbury Town and Port Vale, who to many are Walsall's main historical rivals, as the clubs clashed frequently in the 1970s and 80s.


The Chuckery

This multi-purpose sports ground was situated in a district near to the Walsall Arboretum. It comprised some 12 soccer pitches and four good-sized cricket squares. It was the first ever home ground for Walsall F.C. from 1888 until 1893.

West Bromwich Road

The new ground in West Bromwich Road, which had a capacity of just over 4,500, proved to be a lucky omen for The Saddlers between 1893 and 1896.

Fellows Park

Fellows Park was a former football stadium in Walsall, England. It was the home ground of Walsall F.C. from 1896 until 1990, when the team moved to the Bescot Stadium.

Bescot Stadium

Bescot Stadium, currently known as Banks's Stadium for sponsorship purposes, is the home ground of Walsall Football Club. It was built in 1989–90 at a cost of £4.5m, replacing the club's previous ground, Fellows Park, which was located a quarter of a mile away. The ground was opened by Sir Stanley Matthews.


Current squad

As of 17 July 2015.[16]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Philippines GK Neil Etheridge
2 Cyprus DF Jason Demetriou
3 England DF Andy Taylor
4 England DF James O'Connor
6 England DF Paul Downing
7 England MF Adam Chambers (captain)
8 England MF Sam Mantom
9 Wales FW Tom Bradshaw
10 Saint Kitts and Nevis MF Romaine Sawyers
11 England MF James Baxendale
12 Republic of Ireland MF Anthony Forde
13 England GK Craig MacGillivray
14 England DF Rico Henry
No. Position Player
15 Slovakia FW Milan Lalkovič
16 England DF Matt Preston
17 England MF Reece Flanagan
18 England MF Kieron Morris
20 England FW Amadou Bakayoko
21 England FW Jordan Cook
22 Republic of Ireland MF Liam Kinsella
23 England GK Liam Roberts
24 England DF Levi Rowley
25 England DF Kyle Rowley
26 England MF Isaiah Osbourne
27 England MF George Evans (on loan from Manchester City)
30 England GK Dan Jezeph

Out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
19 England FW Jordan Murphy (on loan at Kidderminster Harriers)

Youth and Reserves

For the reserve and youth squads, see Walsall F.C. Youth and Reserves.

Former players

For details on former players, see Category:Walsall F.C. players.

Players of the Year

Anthony Gerrard (Player of the season 2005–06 & 2007–08)
Ian Roper (Player of the season 2002–03)
Name Season
England Richard O'Donnell 2014–15
England Sam Mantom 2013–14
Northern Ireland Will Grigg 2012–13
England Andy Butler 2011–12
England Andy Butler 2010–11
England Troy Deeney 2009–10
Trinidad and Tobago Clayton Ince 2008–09
Republic of Ireland Anthony Gerrard 2007–08
England Dean Keates 2006–07
Republic of Ireland Anthony Gerrard 2005–06
England Matty Fryatt 2004–05
Scotland Paul Ritchie 2003–04
England Ian Roper 2002–03
England Jimmy Walker 2001–02
Portugal Jorge Leitão 2000–01
Argentina Gino Padula 1999–00
England Jimmy Walker 1998–99
France Jeff Peron 1997–98
England Adrian Viveash 1996–97
England Adrian Viveash 1995–96
Northern Ireland Kevin Wilson 1994–95

Top goal scorers

Tommy Mooney (Top Scorer 2007–08)
Michael Ricketts (Top Scorer 1999–2000 and 2008–2009)
Player Goals Season
Wales Tom Bradshaw 20 2014–15
England Craig Westcarr 16 2013–14
Northern Ireland Will Grigg 20 2012–13
England Alex Nicholls and Republic of Ireland Jon Macken 10 2011–12
England Julian Gray 10 2010–11
England Troy Deeney 14 2009–10
England Michael Ricketts and England Troy Deeney 12 2008–09
England Tommy Mooney 12 2007–08
England Dean Keates 13 2006–07
England Matty Fryatt 14 2005–06
England Matty Fryatt 15 2004–05
Portugal Jorge Leitão 9 2003–04
Brazil Júnior 16 2002–03
Portugal Jorge Leitão 10 2001–02
Portugal Jorge Leitão 21 2000–01
England Michael Ricketts 11 1999–2000
England Andy Rammell 20 1998–99
France Roger Boli 24 1997–98
Bermuda Kyle Lightbourne 20 1996–97
Bermuda Kyle Lightbourne and England Kevin Wilson 15 1995–96
Bermuda Kyle Lightbourne 23 1994–95
England Dean Peer 8 1993–94
England Wayne Clarke 21 1992–93
England Rod McDonald 18 1991–92
England Stuart Rimmer 13 1990–91
England Stuart Rimmer 10 1989–90
England Stuart Rimmer 8 1988–89
Republic of Ireland David Kelly 20 1987–88
Republic of Ireland David Kelly 23 1986–87
England Nicky Cross 21 1985–86

Club officials

Board officials

Name Role
England Barry Blower MBE President
England Jeff Bonser Chairman
England Stefan Gamble Chief Executive
England Clive Welch Director
England Nigel Bond Director
England Peter Gilman Director
England Richard Tisdale Director
England Roy Whalley Director
England Leigh Pomlett Director[17]
Republic of Ireland Mick Kearns Ambassador

First team staff

Sean O'Driscoll, Head Coach (2015–present).
Name Role
England Sean O'Driscoll Head Coach
England Jon Whitney First team Coach/Senior Physiotherapist
England Neil Cutler Coach (esp. Goalkeepers)
England Callum Hayes Performance Analysis
England John Ward Professional Development Coach
England Tom Bradley and Scott Hamilton Kit Man

Youth Team Staff

Name Role
England Neil Woods Academy Manager[18]
England Graham Biggs Head of Academy Coaching
England Paul Larvin Lead Coach for Youth Development Phase
England Adam Davy Lead Coach for Foundation Phase/ Community Manager

Medical staff

Name Role
Dr Ricky Shamji Club Doctor
England Jon Whitney Senior Physiotherapist/First team Coach
England Iain Dutia Assistant Senior Physiotherapist
England Dean Harris Sports Scientist

Managerial history

Only competitive matches are counted. Wins, losses and draws are results at the final whistle; the results of penalty shoot-outs are not counted.[19]

Name Nationality From To P W D L Win% Honours Notes
H. Smallwood England England 1 August 1888 1 August 1891 89 45 11 33 50.56
A. G. Burton England England 1 August 1891 1 August 1893 49 14 6 29 28.57
J. H. Robinson England England 1 August 1893 1 August 1895 62 22 3 37 35.48
C. H. Aislo England England 1 August 1895 1 August 1896 31 19 6 6 61.29
A. E. Parsloe England England 1 August 1896 1 August 1897 33 12 5 16 36.36
L. Ford England England 1 August 1897 1 August 1898 30 12 5 13 40.00
G. Hughes England England 1 August 1898 1 August 1899 35 15 12 8 42.86
L. Ford England England 1 August 1899 1 August 1901 79 25 24 30 31.65
J. E. Shutt England England 1 August 1908 1 July 1912 144 69 28 47 47.92
Haydn Price Wales Wales 1 July 1912 1 August 1915 114 57 19 38 50.00
Albert Groves Wales Wales 1 May 1920 1 August 1921 36 19 6 11 52.78
Joe Burchell England England 1 August 1921 1 February 1926 199 74 36 89 37.19
David Ashworth Republic of Ireland Ireland 1 February 1926 1 February 1927 42 16 9 17 38.10
Jimmy Torrance Scotland Scotland 1 February 1927 1 May 1928 61 17 12 32 27.87
James Kerr England England 1 May 1928 1 April 1929 39 13 12 14 33.33
Sid Scholey England England 1 April 1929 1 October 1930 61 21 10 30 34.43
Peter O'Rourke Scotland Scotland 1 October 1930 1 February 1932 63 21 10 32 33.33
Bill Slade England England 1 February 1932 1 October 1934 114 55 21 38 48.25
Andrew Wilson Scotland Scotland 1 October 1934 1 April 1937 133 47 32 54 35.34
Tommy Lowes England England 1 April 1937 1 September 1939 105 33 22 50 31.43
Sam Longmore England England 1 September 1939 5 August 1944 166 54 34 78 32.53
Harry Hibbs England England 5 August 1944 30 June 1951 230 85 57 88 36.96
Tony McPhee England England 1 July 1951 1 December 1951 21 7 3 11 33.33
Brough Fletcher England England 1 March 1952 1 April 1953 52 9 8 35 17.31
Frank Buckley England England 1 April 1953 1 September 1955 112 24 28 60 21.43
John Love Scotland Scotland 1 September 1955 1 December 1957 113 38 26 49 33.63
Bill Moore England England 1 December 1957 1 November 1963 332 132 68 132 39.76 1 Division Four (Champions)
1 Division Three (2nd place)
Alf Wood England England 1 November 1963 1 October 1964 3 1 0 2 33.33
Ray Shaw England England 1 October 1964 1 March 1968 166 67 35 64 40.36
Dick Graham England England 1 March 1968 1 May 1968 13 5 4 4 38.46
Ron Lewin England England 1 July 1968 1 February 1969 28 8 10 10 28.57
Bill Moore England England 1 February 1969 16 October 1972 179 65 52 62 36.31
John Smith England England 16 October 1972 23 March 1973 27 8 5 14 29.63
Jimmy MacEwan Scotland Scotland 23 March 1973 1 June 1973 9 3 2 4 33.33
Ronnie Allen England England 6 June 1973 20 December 1974 23 4 9 10 17.39
Doug Fraser Scotland Scotland 1 January 1974 7 March 1977 151 54 43 54 35.76
Dave Mackay Scotland Scotland 9 March 1977 5 August 1978 61 23 25 13 37.70
Alan Ashman England England 23 August 1978 17 February 1979 18 6 6 6 33.33
Frank Sibley England England 1 March 1979 5 May 1979 15 2 4 9 13.33
Alan Buckley England England 27 June 1979 1 July 1981 93 36 33 24 38.71 1 Division Four (2nd place)
Alan Buckley &
Neil Martin
England England
Scotland Scotland
1 July 1981 1 January 1982 18 9 5 4 50.00
Neil Martin Scotland Scotland 1 January 1982 1 May 1982 24 3 8 13 12.50
Alan Buckley England England 1 May 1982 1 June 1986 201 87 48 66 43.28
Tommy Coakley Scotland Scotland 1 August 1986 27 December 1988 141 60 36 45 42.55 1 Division Three (Play-off winners)
John Barnwell Republic of Ireland Ireland 17 January 1989 1 March 1990 54 10 18 26 18.52
Paul Taylor England England 1 March 1990 15 May 1990 18 4 4 10 22.22
Kenny Hibbitt England England 16 May 1990 2 September 1994 201 69 55 77 34.33
Chris Nicholl England England 1 August 1994 21 May 1997 157 71 41 45 45.22 1 Division Three (2nd place)
Jan Sørensen Denmark Denmark 25 June 1997 5 May 1998 62 26 13 23 41.94
Ray Graydon England England 5 May 1998 22 January 2002 199 79 49 71 39.70 1 Division Two (2nd place)
1 Division Two (Play-off winners)
Colin Lee England England 24 January 2002 16 April 2004 116 38 30 48 32.76
Paul Merson England England 16 April 2004 6 February 2006 94 32 23 39 34.04
Kevan Broadhurst England England 22 February 2006 24 April 2006 11 1 4 6 09.09
Richard Money England England 3 May 2006 22 April 2008 103 44 33 26 42.72 1 League Two (Champions)
Jimmy Mullen England England 22 April 2008 10 January 2009 29 10 5 14 34.48
Chris Hutchings England England 20 January 2009 4 January 2011 98 31 24 43 31.63
Dean Smith England England 4 January 2011 30 November 2015 260 84 96 80 32.31 1 Football League Trophy (runner-up)
John Ward, Jon Whitney and Neil Cutler (caretaker) England England 30 November 2015 18 December 2015 3 1 2 0 33.33
Sean O'Driscoll Republic of Ireland Ireland 18 December 2015 Present 4 3 0 1 75.00
† Served as caretaker manager before being appointed permanently.

Correct as of 2 January 2016.




  • Highest League Attendance (at Fellows Park): 25,453 v. Newcastle United. Second Division (now Championship), 29 August 1961
  • Highest League Attendance (at Bescot Stadium): 11,049 v. Rotherham United. First Division (now Championship), 9 May 2004
  • Highest Third Division (now League One) Attendance: 19,589 v. Notts County, 18 March 1950
  • Highest Fourth Division (now League Two) Attendance: 15,403 v. Carlisle United, 10 September 1959
  • Highest FA Cup Attendance: 24,045 v. Fulham, 4th Round Replay, 30 January 1962
  • Highest League Cup Attendance: 21,066 v. Liverpool. 4th Round, 17 February 1968
  • Highest Football League Trophy Attendance: 10,038 v. Preston North End. Area Final Second Leg, 27 January 2015
  • Highest Average Attendance (at Fellows Park): 15,711, 1947–48
  • Highest Average Attendance (at Bescot Stadium): 7,853, 2003–04


  • League Win: 10–0 v. Darwen. Second Division, 4 March 1899
  • League Defeat: 0–12 v. Small Heath. Second Division, 17 December 1892
  • Cup Win: 7–0 v. Macclesfield Town. FA Cup 2nd Round, 6 December 1997



  • Most Games Won in a Row (7): 1959, 2005
  • Most Games Lost in a Row (15): 1988–89
  • Most Games without Defeat (21): 1979–80
  • Most Games without Victory (18): 1988–89



Football League Third Division (now League One)

• Runners-Up (2): 1960–61, 1998–99

• Play-Off Winners (2): 1987–88, 2000–01

Football League Fourth Division (now League Two)

• Champions (2): 1959–60, 2006–07

• Runners-Up (2): 1979–80, 1994–95


Football League Trophy

• Runners-Up (1): 2014–15

Birmingham Senior Cup

• Winners (4): 1880–81 (as Walsall Swifts), 1896–97, 1897–98, 1993–94

• Runners-Up (6): 1883–84, 1884–85, 1885–86 (all as Walsall Swifts), 1907–08, 1999–00, 2006–07

Staffordshire Senior Cup

• Winners (4): 1881–82, 1884–85 (both Walsall Town), 1928–29, 1967–68

• Runners-Up (13): 1880–81, 1881–82, 1886–87 (all as Walsall Swifts), 1889–90, 1892–93, 1898–99, 1910–11, 1920–21, 1921–22, 1948–49, 1949–50, 1952–53, 1965–66

Walsall Senior Cup

• Winners (1): 2014–15

• Runners-Up (1): 2012–13

Walsall in film and television

  • In the film Fever Pitch, the day Arsenal were beaten by Walsall in the League Cup Fourth Round in 1984 is mentioned by Mark Strong as Steve during a game of pool with Colin Firth as Paul.
  • 1970s BBC comedy television series Ripping Yarns: "I didn't come here on a free transfer from Walsall ...."


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External links