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There have been just 4 league meetings between FGR and Walsall and Rovers have only managed 2 draws in these games.  A 1-1 draw at the Bescot Stadium (The Banks’s Stadium) in August 2019 was followed by Walsall beating Rovers 2-1 at The New Lawn in February 2020.  Last season’s games between the two sides resulted in a draw at TNL (a 61st minute Jamille Matt goal cancelling out a 14th minute strike by Caolan Lavery) and a 2-1 loss at the Bescot Stadium in April.  Rovers travel to Walsall for their second match of the 2021 season hoping to record a first ever win against the Saddlers.

Walsall finished last season 20 points behind Rovers in 19th place.  Although never really threatened with relegation, Walsall’s season was disappointing.



After a promising start to last season Walsall’s form started to dip.  This coincided with some high-profile departures from the club in January and February 2021. Their 2 top players were sold for financial reasons – leading scorer Adebayo went to Luton and full back Zak Joules joined MK Dons. Then manager Darrell Clarke shocked the club by moving to manage Port Vale in February.  Former Development Coach Brian Dutton replaced Darrell Clarke as interim manager.

The current manager is Matthew Taylor.  Taylor’s management career started when he was named interim manager of Swindon Town in March 2018, following the resignation of David Flitcroft but he was only in charge for 1 game (a 3–0 home defeat to Cheltenham).  On 12th March Phil Brown was appointed Swindon manager  and Taylor took up the role of player-coach at the club.  In July 2019, Taylor was appointed the coach for the U-18s side at Spurs.  His appointment as head coach at Walsall was delayed to 1st June this year to allow him to see out the season at Spurs.


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Swifty the mascot at Walsall FC.
Other things you may want to know about Walsall;

  • Walsall are known as ‘The Saddlers’ which reflects this Black Country town’s reputation as a traditional centre for saddle manufacture.
  • Walsall were formed in 1888 as Walsall Town Swifts – a swift still features in their club crest and the club’s mascot is called ‘Swifty’ (see left!).
  • Their local rivals are Wolves and West Brom. However, the Saddlers have had few meetings with either of these sides over the years – Shrewsbury and Port Vale (both about 30 miles away) have been more frequent derbies.
  • Walsall have spent a number of seasons in football’s second tier but have never reached the top flight. Walsall gained one of their promotions to the second tier in 1999 and they did so by pipping Manchester City to the division’s runners-up spot!
  • Jeff Bonser bought the club in 1992 (when it was minutes away from entering into receivership) and in 2019 ended his almost 28-year spell as owner and Chairman when he sold his 76% shareholding in the club to Leigh Pomlett. Businessman Pomlett is a lifelong Walsall fan