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Saddlers Legends

Saddlers Legends

As a Saddlers fan for just over 15 years it is hard to imagine the club without Ian Roper. If ever there was a stereotypical image of a lower league defender then Ropes just about sums it up!

It is strange to think that Roper nearly didn't make it at Walsall and we have instincts of former boss Chris Nicholl to thank that he did.

Roper joined the club in 1995 as a trainee and in all honesty didn't look great! Nicholl however put his faith in him and during a roller coaster 12 years Roper has always put his heart and soul into his performances.

As a trainee Roper never looked comfortable on the ball but over time he has taken massive steps forward and formed some of our best defensive partnerships in years alongside Adrian Viveash and last season Ant Gerrard.

Roper is certainly not a goal scorer and last season's 4 goals increased his career goals tally by 200%!

Having said this it is what Roper does at the back that makes him special. Ok so he isn't the neatest or most tactically aware defender in the world but he is never in any doubt when the ball needs to be belted over the stand!

His contribution and consistent displays have been marked in recent years when he was named Walsall player of the year and only last season became Walsall's first entry into football magazine Four Four Two's Top 50 Players from the Football League.

With the new season just around the corner here's hoping for more of the same from one of Walsall's greatest servants.

What are your memories and opinions of Roper, let us know in our forum.

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Writer:Cannock Saddler
Date:Friday August 3 2007
Time: 9:12AM

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
P Wigan 45 24 15 6 87 40
2 Burton 45 25 9 11 84 20
3 Walsall 45 23 12 10 81 17
4 Millwall 45 23 9 13 78 23
5 Bradford 45 22 11 12 77 13
6 Barnsley 45 21 8 16 71 13
7 Scunthorpe 45 20 11 14 71 11
8 Gillingham 45 19 12 14 69 16
9 Coventry 45 18 12 15 66 16
10 Sheff Utd 45 18 12 15 66 7
11 Rochdale 45 18 12 15 66 6
12 Port Vale 45 18 11 16 65 3
13 Peterborough 45 18 6 21 60 5
14 Southend 45 16 11 18 59 -5
15 Bury 45 15 12 18 57 -18
16 Swindon 45 15 11 19 56 -10
17 Oldham 45 12 18 15 54 -12
18 Chesterfield 45 15 8 22 53 -10
19 Shrewsbury 45 13 11 21 50 -18
20 Fleetwood 45 11 15 19 48 -6
21 Blackpool 45 12 10 23 46 -19
22 Doncaster 45 11 12 22 45 -16
R Colchester 45 9 13 23 40 -41
R Crewe 45 7 13 25 34 -35
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