Vital Football

Latest Walsall FC News

The Chris Westwood debate

The Chris Westwood debate

On saturday it was sad to hear a few saddlers 'fans' booing one of there own players. Something which in reality never helps player or club. This time it was defender Chris Westwood on the end of the abuse. Today we look at the Chris Westwood issue.

Chris joined the saddlers last summer and was made captain before a ball was kick in anger. Then manager went public on his high regard for the player, this was backed up by glowing reports from former club Hartlepool, where fans had voted him player of the season previously. Also Hartlepool had just failed to make the Championship losing in the play off final to Sheff Wed.
Simple fact is in most fans eyes Chris Westwood has failed to live up to the hype.
However the hype was down to Paul Merson to some extent and Chris Westwood has gone on record praising new set up, which reading between the lines comdemmed the Merson way. Westwood was not the only player to suffer from the Merson era.

When he played last season performances were not too hot and he was eventually dropped. However this was also the case at Hartlepool, he is a player that seems to take time to settle. Also he was partner was Anthony Gerrard a different type of defender to what Chris likes to play with, Gerrard a fans favorite (and rightly so) also needed guiding in his first season. As did to a lesser extent Julian Bennett. At Hartlepool Chris had a partnership with a tall commanding centre half who would go for the first ball the majority of the time. Westwood would sweep behind, last gasp tackling and blocking were his strenghts rather than heading away bombs from the opposition half....Merson didn't play him that way.

In an injury effected season I am sure Chris Westwood would agree himself that he did not perform to his highest level, but I have no doubt that he gave 100%.

This season he missed the first game, came on as a 76 minute sub for Craig Pead against Stockport, played well at full back against Hartlepool, albeit still adjusting to the role and the positioning required, but 100 times better than when he filled the role away at Blackpool last season. One saturday he didn't have a good game, but he had no protection from Mark Wright who was totally missing. When Carlos came on he was given an attacking brief so again limited cover, so I feel saturdat we were a little too hard on the guy.

If we give him time to settle into the new role and he doesn't provide the goods then fair enough.

I would also bet that at centre half with Alan Picken, who would attack the first ball like Nelson did for Hartlepool we would see the true Chris Westwood.

We are running a poll on our front page so please cast your vote and make your comment below or in the forum.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Jorge's Jottings
Date:Sunday August 20 2006
Time: 5:34PM


I think I questioned at the time Westwood left Pools if he would be able to recreate his form at another club. It took Chris a good few seasons at Pools before he 'settled down'. He had a long standing partnership in the heart of the defence with Michael Nelson and he looked very comfortable. He IS an excellent player though.
23/08/2006 13:21:00
Yes, I'd love to see Westy back at Hartlepool. As PoolieJohn said, during his time at Hartlepool, he played alongside Lee and later Nelson who both were good in the air. He had the odd moment of madness, just like any defender. By the end of his time at Hartlepool, he was well liked. He defintley gives 100%, he looks after himself as well.
27/08/2006 23:18:00
He has to win over a vocal section of fans whilst adjusting to playing at full back. The thing is we have had five clean sheets in six games and we are still in uproar over the defence.
Big No 9
28/08/2006 12:29:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Walsall Articles

Oztumer Picks Up Double Accolade

Oztumer named in EFL team of the weekend and scoops League 1 goal of the weekend.

Swindon 0-2 Walsall - HIGHLIGHTS

Extended highlights of the Saddlers 2-0 victory against Swindon Town.

Swindon 0-2 Walsall - MATCH REPORT

It was the Oztumer show as the Wizard Of Oz fires Walsall to their forth win in their last five.

Stats: Swindon v Walsall

All the stats from Swindon (0) vs (2) Walsall, County Ground, 22.10.16 Att: 6,655 (386 WFC Fans)

Archived Vital Saddlers Articles

Vital Saddlers articles from

Site Journalists

Editor email

Current Poll (see more polls)

Where Will Walsall Finish?
Suggested By:
Automatic Promotion10%
Play Offs24%
Mid Table Medicority46%

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 Scunthorpe 15 9 4 2 31 17
2 Bolton 15 8 4 3 28 7
3 Bradford 15 6 8 1 26 7
4 Sheff Utd 14 7 4 3 25 7
5 Bristol Rovers 14 6 5 3 23 3
6 Wimbledon 15 6 5 4 23 3
7 Port Vale 15 6 4 5 22 -2
8 Northampton 15 5 6 4 21 3
9 Rochdale 15 6 3 6 21 0
10 Peterborough 15 5 5 5 20 6
11 Bury 15 6 2 7 20 0
12 Walsall 14 5 5 4 20 -1
13 Fleetwood 14 5 4 5 19 2
14 Oxford 15 5 4 6 19 -1
15 Southend 15 5 4 6 19 -7
16 Millwall 14 5 3 6 18 -3
17 Charlton 14 3 8 3 17 3
18 Gillingham 15 4 5 6 17 -6
19 MK Dons 15 4 4 7 16 -4
20 Swindon 15 4 4 7 16 -4
21 Coventry 14 3 6 5 15 -4
22 Oldham 15 3 6 6 15 -8
23 Chesterfield 14 3 3 8 12 -5
24 Shrewsbury 15 2 4 9 10 -13
Write for Vital Football
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News
The Vital Football Members League

Recent Walsall Results (view all)

Walsall Fixtures (view all)

Oct 29 2016 3:00PM : Coventry City (H)
Sky Bet League One
Nov 12 2016 3:00PM : Milton Keynes Dons (a)
Sky Bet League One
Nov 19 2016 3:00PM : Gillingham (H)
Sky Bet League One
Nov 22 2016 7:45PM : Rochdale (a)
Sky Bet League One
Nov 26 2016 3:00PM : Southend United (H)
Sky Bet League One
Nov 29 2016 7:45PM : Sheffield United (a)
Sky Bet League One
Vital Football Comment