Ahead of Walsall’s Boxing Day encounter with Sheffield Wednesday, Walsall Web-fans get the views from Owlstalk.co.uk on Milan Mandaric, Gary Megson and much more.
1. What debt of gratitude do Sheffield Wednesday fans have towards owner Milan Mandaric in the short period of time he has been in charge?
The Boy Beevers – Milan, put simply, saved SWFC. Sure, he wants to make money by turning us around…but we were going to the dogs and sliding out of existence until he came along. He preserved our tradition and heritage as one of the oldest clubs in British football which would have been lost forever had we entered administration. Words cannot quite capture how much thanks i have to the man. I hope he makes millions and millions by turning us around because without him, we would be nothing.
2. Gary Megson appears to have won over any doubters in the last few months and has led you to a lofty position in the table. What would you say his strengths are as a manager?
OutandOutOwl – He is a good motivator, he instils passion in the players and the belief that they can succeed. We went 2-0 down to Huddersfield Saturday and fought our way back where under Irvine we would have lost by 5. Tactically he is pretty good, although he persists with 4-4-2 which has a lot of weaknesses. He is also very good at signing players. Pretty much all our signings have been spot on this season. I was concerned he wouldn’t know much about the division and although a lot of the knowledge on players will have come from scouts, I have been impressed.
Thekelch – He has an excellent eye for a player, the only one of his signings that hasn’t quite come off is your former LB Julian Bennett, but even he’s not been a disaster. If you look at his time at Bolton and WBA also, he brought a lot of quality players into the PL: Cahill was a reserve at Villa, Lee, Steinssen, Gera, Elmander were all unkowns.
Most of all he’s positive and expects this club to dominate the division and gives the players no excuses, whereas the previous manager seemed frightened to death of every team we played.
3. I see you are unbeaten in your last eight games in all competitions. What has brought about the change of fortunes from the start of the season when results were not always going your way?
We_hate_snortbeasts – A fairly settled team. Team is getting to know each other and is getting stronger. The loans GM has brought in have been superb.
4. Moving on to the Walsall game, what sort of game do you envisage? Do you have any score predictions?
Thekelch – My Walsall supporting mate says you’re not very good at defending set pieces, as we score one of these every game I’m pretty confident we’ll come away with a W, probably 2-1 or 3-1.
5. For those of you who have visited Bescot before what where your impressions of the match day experience? The stadium, drinking places, friendliness of stewards, etc?
OutandOutOwl – My thoughts of the Bescot were its not a bad ground, but the stand opposite the away end looked weird. It looked like half a stand just plonked on it
Owls4effa – Got kicked out after caught smoking after 14 mins. Stewards were very heavy handed with a lot of owls
6. Where do you feel the respective teams will finish at the end of the season?
TheBoyBeevers -I expect us to finish in the top 6, with a very realistic chance at a top 2 finish and automatic promotion. Where we finish will largely depend on what happens in the January transfer window- we have two key players (Ben Marshall and Danny Batth) whose loans expire. Getting them for the rest of the season could well be the difference between top 2 or top 6. For you guys, a lack of goals seems to be the problem, and that is difficult to address on a small budget. However you obviously have experience from last season of a relegation struggle which will help you this season, so i would make a prediction of a 15-20th place finish.
7. Do you have any specific recollections of Saddlers v. Owls games over the years?
Thekelch – I remember on Boxing Day at Hillsborough in 2004 Kenwyne Jones, who scored 7 in 7 for us in a loan spell from Southampton, smashed in a cracker from outside the area.
Nevthelodgemoorowl - The one game I remember was 76 or 77 it got abandoned, as we were leaving there was a right crush by the scrap yard. My wife fought her way out of it to finish waist deep in the flood water. Never known rain quite like it and tha includes monsoon in Sri Lanka.
Freshfish – Way back in the 70′s….long, long coach journey from Chapeltown kept interesting with paper rubbish bin bags full of beer. Driver lost his way and we couldn’t take a toilet stop for hours. Arrived and remember a long brick wall with 20 lads leaning against it all moaning from trying to relieve themselves…..and it was raining…and the ground must have a bloody 2 mile walk away..and it rained more..a lot more….Owls fans all around the ground…and the guttering in the ground was broken with lairy blokes shirtless taking showers under it….match abandoned after about 30 mins…happy days
8. Which former managers have been the best/worst in your time span as a supporter at Hillsborough?
Hootie and the shittu – Best = Atkinson/Wilkinson/Megson. Worst = straight tie between Danny Wilson and David Pleat, we are just beginning to recover from their mis-management.
Aeroswfc – Best – Trevor Francis, Worst – Paul Jewell.
9. What players (if any) would you like to see Megson sign in the January window?
Daveyboy66 – Get our loans signed..anyone else is a bonus
Fedor – Obviously would like to see Marshall and Baath sign in January but am pretty sure Megson will have all the bases covered if we dont. He will sign the right players for SWFC he knows what he is doing.
TheBoyBeevers – As mentioned earlier, Ben Marshall and Danny Batth (on loan from Stoke and Wolves respectively) have been very impressive this season for us on loan and any deal, be it loan or full transfer, would be extremely welcome. Marshall in particular, has real potential and is worth breaking the bank to get, Beyond those two, another winger would be great as we struggle for pace and lack momentum when Ben Marshall and Jermaine Johnson are unavailable. And of course midfield creativity is always welcome and i would love us to sign Dean Cox from Leyton Orient who i think is a cracking player. Providing we can keep our loanees at the club though, i think we have enough to finish in the top 2 and get the holy grail of automatic promotion- drastic change is totally off the agenda for me