Chris Marsh: Walsall need to move for some new signings
Thank God it’s January – because Walsall need to sign some players.
I still can’t believe what happened on Saturday.
I looked at my phone at half-time and saw we were 1-0 up against Bolton and was thinking ‘Go on, go on, you can do this.’
I couldn’t check again until about 15 minutes into the second half.
But when I looked, we were 3-1 down. I couldn’t believe it, it was an absolute nightmare. In just five minutes, Walsall had somehow managed to concede three times.
And that means they have now conceded 17 goals in their last six games.
Really, that is an average of three goals a game and it’s just not good enough. It is relegation form.
Of course, the spotlight has now come on the goalkeeper and defenders – that is understandable.
They will be taking it to heart and the pressure is on them. But for me, everyone needs to do better. You attack as a team and defend as a team and some players aren’t doing
Wingers need to track back. The central midfielders need to protect the central defenders. The forwards need to defend from the front.
It’s a team performance and it’s the team as a whole that has to take responsibility for that defensive record.
It has to stop, but for me, the best way to fix things is for the club to bring in some new players.
The team has hit a patch where they are low on confidence. And, believe me, new signings – whether they are on loan or permanent additions – lift the place.
I honestly can’t stress just how important it is to freshen things up midway through the season. Every transfer is a risk. Some players do it at one club and not another.
But new signings lift everyone. It’s more competition for places.
And in a strange way it also takes some of the pressure off the next game, everything just feels fresher.
It’s vital the Walsall board now back Dean Keates and allow him to bring in some new faces. He needs them and the long-suffering fans need something to shout about and be excited about.
When you look at the fixture list, the next four games are huge. Scunthorpe, Gillingham, Plymouth and Rochdale are all below the Saddlers in the table.
But recently, Walsall’s better performances have come against the teams at the top of the division. Sometimes the toughest games are against the teams that are fighting for the same cause.
And Walsall now need to cut out the mistakes and get some points on the board.
I read this week comments from Keates that Walsall will rarely be a player’s first choice when they are looking for a move.
Because of the budget, he is right.
And that’s is why I’m desperate for the board to put their hands in their pockets and back him this month.
You can only work with the tools you have at your disposal.
If you are a bricklayer, you need to be given a van so you can transport the bricks, you can’t just be handed a wheelbarrow.
And that is the bottom line here – are these really the players Keates wants to be working with?
Finally this week, I just want to touch on the FA Cup and Jack Fitzwater being recalled by Albion. To me, it was absolutely ridiculous.
I love the FA Cup and the history and heritage of the competition. I’ve listened to people talk about how in 1933 Walsall beat Arsenal at Fellows Park 2-0.
That is probably the greatest FA Cup upset ever.
Wolves won it in 1960, they beat Blackburn 3-0 in the final. Albion beat Everton 1-0 in the 1968 final with Jeff Astle scoring. Villa, they did it in 1957 and beat Man United’s Busy Babes to lift the trophy.
They were massive FA Cup occasions that will never be forgotten by football fans in the West Midlands.
But the Premier League has now taken over – you can see that by the fact Albion are willing to rest players and play their second string.
West Brom’s game against Wigan was effectively a trial game. And, best of all, Fitzwater didn’t even get on.
To me, that is scandalous and a complete waste of everybody’s time.
It does worry me where the FA Cup is going.
It’s a competition that has given us so many happy memories.
But at the moment all the big teams seem to care about is the greed league.
It’s sad, but in my eyes the FA Cup will never die. It will always be the most special of cup competitions.