Saddlers Memorable Matches
Walsall 4 West Brom 1 9 August 2003
Bright sunshine, 40 degree heat and the super saddlers wolloping the Albion. I still find it difficult to believe even 3 years on!
Having just been relegated from the Premiership everybody expected Gary Megson's baggies to go straight back up (and to be fair they did- eventually) but no one could have predicted the battering they would get on the first day of the season.
It was without doubt the hottest match I have ever been to but quite frankly once the game began most fans completely forgot about the weather as we were mesmerised by one of the all-time great Walsall performances.
Now whatever Saddlers fans may think about Paul Merson as a manager, I will always try and remember him as a player and this game demonstrated his true ability.
It took just 18 minutes for Merson to strike on his debut- a cracking finish just out of the reach of Russell Hoult. Twenty minutes later he was at it again producing a candidate for goal of the season with the campaign only 38 minutes old. A rasping drive off the underside of the crossbar sent a record Bescot crowd mad.
And it got better seconds before the break as Walsall legend Jorge Leitao tapping in from close range.
After the break the baggies still produced little and another cracking strike, this time by Aussie Steve Corica, put the game to bed.
A consolation goal from Jason Koumas late on couldn't take the shine off a stunning performance and for a few days the Saddlers sat on top of Division 1 (as it was!) the highest position we have ever been.
Richard Money yesterday called for an atmoshere against Lincoln to match that of the Carling Cup match against Bolton. For me nothing will ever come close to the atmosphere created that day against Albion, so tonight lets try and be as loud as we were that day and hopefully a similar performance will follow.
What are your memories of that great day in the sun. Let us know on our forum.