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Old 28-09-2018, 00:17   #1
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2018/19 Prediction League; Game 10 v Walsall FC (away)

Walsall FC


Accrington Stanley

2018/19 Prediction League; Game 10 v Walsall (away)

Walsall FC started out life in 1888 as the Walsall Town Swifts, an amalgamation of - unsurprisingly – Walsall Town and Walsall Swifts; they, in turn, had been formed in 1877 and 1879, and both played at the delightfully named “Chuckery” .............. Walsall FC joined the newly-formed Second Division in 1892, moved grounds in 1893, and failed the re-election test in 1894/95; they moved again that year to what was to be their home for the next 95 years – known initially as Hillary Street, but - starter for ten – by a different name for most of that 95 year period; what was their ground called, prior to their move to the Bescot Stadium (capacity 11,300) in 1990? (If you want a clue, think Downton Abbey). The next twenty-five years or so – minus WW1 – saw them back in and out of the Second Division again, then in the Birmingham League, then the Southern League, until in 1921 they were founder members once again, this time of Div 3 North (one day I’ll look up how many sides have been Founder Members of part of the EFL more than once ..................)

Hillary Street was an unusual ground, in that it had three terraced sides and a brick wall – the back of the local laundry – across one end; not sure if wall-passes were allowed – they were in my school playground! Some while later the maximum capacity must have been at least 25,343 (the attendance for a match against Newcastle in 1960), although the club’s highest ever home gate is 74,646 against Aston Villa in the FA Cup 4th Round in 1930, achieved by switching the game to Villa Park, as you could, of course, in those days. In 1933, they beat Arsenal 2–0 in the FA Cup – probably their greatest victory, given the make-up of the Gunners’ side in those days; Arsenal went on to win the First Division that season, and that's still regarded as one of the greatest upsets in FA Cup history, alongside the likes of Colchester’s 3-2 triumph over Leeds.

We've met them before in the League, back in 2006/07; they did us 2-1 at our place and 3-2 at the Bescot, and finished up winning Coca Cola League Two by a point from Hartlepool and four points from Swindon, with a record of P46 W25 D14 L7 GF66 GA32 Pts89 .............. Brizzle won the playoff final against Shrewsbury, and Boston United said farewell to the Football League; Jamie Cureton and Chris Iwelumo were playing for Colchester, Robert Earnshaw for Norwich, and PNE’s leading scorer was one David Nugent ........... We did, though, get some small solace (don’t think you can get a Large solace, although it does have a Quantum) in 2009, dumping the Saddlers out of the Carling Cup 2-1, despite having gone a goal down. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and after 12 years it probably counts as being just that!

They ended last season in 19th place, winning 13, drawing 13 and losing 20; 52 points and 53 goals (GD -13) left them 2 points above the Greasy Pole of Oblivion which was slid by Oldham, Northampton, MK PretendDons and Bury. Over the summer 10 departed – half as free agents, including striker Simeon Jackson, once of Rushden, Gillingham and Norwich, and since 2013 of lots of short stays, presumably wherever the stagecoach stopped for the night; GK Mark Gillespie went to Motherwell (for the sake of balance, why isn’t there a Fatherwell FC?); AMF Erhun Oztuner (actually, he was born in Greenwich, it seems) left at the end of his contract (he’d been leading scorer for the previous two seasons) and signed for Bolton; LB Joshveer Shergill went to Leeds, CF Amadu Bakayoko went to Coventry, and striker Joseph Cairns joined a Swedish side called Gottne about whom I know NOTHING!

They brought in two GKs - Joe Slinn from Portly Vale and Welshman Chris Dunn from Wrexham (Isn’t it. Look you. Eisteddfod); two MFs – a defensive one (Isaiah Osbourne from Vegan Greenpeace) and a right-sided one (Zeli Ismail from Burry); one LW – Josh Ginnelly from Burnley); and three strikers – Tranmere’s Andy Cook, BorehamToDeath Wood’s Morgan Ferrier (not related to Kathleen, as far as I know), and Leicester’s Josh Gordon (I always use his family-made floor-cleaner, Flash Gordon) ............ and did I mention that I call my dog Isaiah? ............... Ask me why – go on, ask me, ask me .....

Four loans in – two each from the Baggies and Wolves, and you’ll never have heard of any of them, so all I’ll tell you is that two of them are called Connor, and one’s called Kane (apparently he’s very Able – but you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?) ............ the other is called Jack – good old English name – Fitzwater ............ no, not FizzyWater .......... Fitzwater – means “Bastard Son Of....” – so he’s a Bastard Son Of The Sea, apparently .......... and a Baggie!

Famous ex Managers include Dave Mackay (Hearts, Spurs, Derby and Scotland, 600+ games as a player), Alan Buckley loads of times, Ronnie Allen (West Brom, Port Vale and Palace, also 600+), Kenny Hibbitt, Ray Graydon, Paul Merson – presumably ‘Have I Got News For You’ wasn’t playing that year – and Sean O’Driscoll, who was nicknamed “Noisy” in his playing days, who lasted three months to the day! Their best finish was 14th in Tier Two in 1961/62, their biggest League win was 10-0 against Darwen in March 1899, their biggest defeat was 12-0 by Small Heath seven years earlier, Gilbert Alsop scored 22 hat-tricks while playing for them, they sold Scott Dann to Coventry for £1 million in 2008 and the Bescot Stadium – where they moved to after 95 years at Fellows Park – was opened by Sir Stanley Matthews

Deadline for entries is, as always, scheduled kick-off time, which is 3.00pm on Saturday 29th September. They’ve started ok; home record is P4 W2 D1 L1 GF5 GA6, and away it’s W3 D2 L0 GF9 GA 5, giving P9 W5 D3 L1 GF14 GA11 for 18 points and 5th place, behind Sunderland and Donnie on GD (+18 plays +8 plays +3) ............ There’s still one unbeaten side in League 1 (Pompey), one still without a win (Plymouth), seven teams each with just one loss (including us), and lots of unbeaten runs, including 8 games by us as well ................ Standing in the corner with Dunces’ Caps on are Bratfud (five straight losses = nul points from 15), closely tailed by Gillingham, and Plymouth, each with 1 from a possible 15 (they’re standing near the corner of the room with Dunces’ caps in their hands), and an honourable mention for the Wombles, with 3 points (one win) out of 15 possible

Our record against Walsall isn’t thrilling. Actually, it’s pants. So the remedy to that is – yes? – to beat the Living Daylights out of them (that’s a second Bond Film reference, if you hadn’t noticed; subliminal thingummy .....) 007 – as long as they have the 00 and we have the 7!

Good luck to everyone! ................. Keep the Faith! ............ And thanks for playing!

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