Chris Marsh: A Poundland Walsall budget will always catch up with you in the end

By Chris Marsh | Walsall FC | Published:

It broke my heart to see Walsall sack Dean Keates.

Regular readers of this column will know he is a good friend of mine – I love him to bits.

And he is big enough to know, as manager, he is the man who ultimately takes responsibility for results.

I just feel he has been let down by a lot of people. And I wish he had a longer shot at it.

We all know Walsall’s budget is one of the lowest in the division.

Maybe there are three or four teams operating on less. But it’s right down there.

We’re not shopping at Harrods, Debenhams or even Primark. We shop at Poundland.

And I’m not saying that to be disrespectful to the players.

I was relegated three times while a Walsall player, there were times I was a Poundland player.


But when your budget is one of the lowest in the division, it will eventually catch up with you.

And now, it has. I know Keatesy wasn’t happy with the number of players’ contracts he inherited last season.

There was a part of him that was always looking forward to this summer so he could start afresh.

Jeff Bonser chats to Martin O'Connor directly after the match


But he’s not going to get that chance now.

And I’d love to know how many of those players can look themselves in the mirror and really say they did their best for him.

For me, it is only a handful. And that’s what really gets to me.

What I can’t get my head around is how we started the season so well.

The players were flying and putting their bodies on the line every week.

It felt like they would give everything not to lose.

But it’s not been like that over the past few months. Losing has become easy for them.

Supporters want to see a team that is committed, that shows hunger and desire.

Of course, they dream about promotion at the start of the campaign. But with Sunderland, Barnsley and Portsmouth – three sides who were all in the Premier League not so long ago – that was always unlikely.

They just want to see a team go out and give their all every week.

But, for me, these players haven’t done that.

A lot of them must now they could have contributed more.

Now Martin O’Connor is the man tasked with getting a tune of of them – another mate of mine.

He’s big friends with Dean as well and he won’t have wanted to get the job in these circumstances.

I didn’t like seeing that picture of him and Jeff Bonser talking after the game against Oxford.

I’m not sure why that had to take place in the stands. I thought it was poor. But Martin is a good appointment.

He will get in the player’s faces, I’m sure he will change a few things just to freshen things up.

He has a big personality and is very positive.

And if anyone is going to get a reaction out of the players, it is him.

Dean Keates

Now they have got five games to stay in the division, starting with Accrington on Saturday.

I was there a few weeks ago and the pitch is dreadful. It really is bad.

It’s going to be really tough game. A scrap.

So Walsall’s players have to stand up and give a performances for the badge and the fans.

Can we stay up? Of course we can.

The league table is incredibly tight and there are 15 points still to play for.

And with the fixtures we have, it is still in our own hands.

Will we stay up though?

I always thought we would. But time is running out.


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