Kick-Off: Martin O'Connor Correct to Read the Riot Act Kick-Off: Martin O'Connor Correct to Read the Riot Act

Kick-Off: Martin O'Connor Correct to Read the Riot Act

As our Express & Star column is taking a break for the Easter weekend, we thought we'd take the opportunity to share this week's musings here.
You can read our regular Kick-Off column (almost) every Saturday in the Express & Star newspaper as we get to grips with all the latest news at Banks's Stadium, as ever, there is plenty to discuss!

Interim manager Martin O'Connor and his Walsall squad have had very little time to dwell upon last weekend's dismal defeat to Accrington Stanley as an Easter Weekend double-header was swiftly on their radar with crucial six-pointers against Southend United and Wycombe Wanderers giving the under-performing side plenty of food for thought as they look to bring their recent losing run to an end.

The reverse to Stanley, which saw defender Ross Sykes grab a goal in each half, allowed our hosts to increase their slender advantage over several of their relegation rivals, whilst adding yet more fuel to the Saddlers' seemingly unstoppable rocket to League Two.

In the aftermath of their shambolic showing, our interim gaffer used his post-match interview to vent his frustration as several members of the squad had seemingly accepted their fate without breaking a sweat, something that hadn't passed the loyal travelling support by either as several made their feelings known as the match went on.

Leaving no room for doubt, the gaffer was unrepentant in his criticism as he laid bare many of the issues which currently blight our side, laying the blame firmly at the feet of the players, even going as far to question their commitment as the Saddlers notched up a sixth-straight defeat, handing the advantage to many of their relegation rivals in the process.

Even with Nicky Devlin's first-half strike - his third of the season - giving the result a more respectable appearance, O'Connor was rightly frustrated with his side as they seemingly submitted to their Lancashire-based opponents in an afternoon to forget at the Wham Stadium.

Whilst the relegation writing may well have been on the wall for some time, especially when you take a look at our form over the last few months, there is simply no room for complacency in football. The gaffer would be fully within his rights to drop the lot of them and allow the youth academy side to finish the campaign in their place.

There is no doubt that the life of a footballer can be tough and draws stress from several angles, but in truth there is very little being asked of the current crop. Give the fans something of substance to get behind, and they will repay you in support. It's that simple.

Obviously, relegation would be nothing short of a disaster, and will no doubt lead massive change at Banks's Stadium with most of the current squad likely to depart as contracts come to an end and others opt to ply their trade elsewhere, but it'd be a damn sight easier to swallow if we were to go down fighting, and not with the quiet resignation which was on display last weekend.

Regardless of how the Saddlers do over the next few days, even if we are able to return to winning ways and secure six crucial points, it's clear that the team will have a very different look when we kick off the 2019/20 campaign in August. And, after last weekend's showing, it can't come soon enough.
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