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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.

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

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# Team P W D L Pts. GD
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2 Bolton 39 22 9 8 75 28
3 Fleetwood 39 19 12 8 69 19
4 Scunthorpe 40 19 10 11 67 21
5 Bradford 40 16 18 6 66 15
6 Southend 39 17 12 10 63 13
7 Millwall 38 16 12 10 60 8
8 Rochdale 38 16 9 13 57 6
9 Bristol Rovers 40 15 12 13 57 -1
10 Oxford 39 16 8 15 56 5
11 Peterborough 40 15 10 15 55 1
12 Walsall 39 13 14 12 53 -2
13 Wimbledon 39 12 15 12 51 1
14 Northampton 40 14 8 18 50 -6
15 MK Dons 39 12 12 15 48 -1
16 Charlton 39 10 17 12 47 3
17 Bury 40 12 10 18 46 -7
18 Oldham 40 10 15 15 45 -12
19 Gillingham 40 11 12 17 45 -17
20 Shrewsbury 39 11 10 18 43 -14
21 Port Vale 38 10 12 16 42 -17
22 Swindon 40 10 9 21 39 -18
23 Chesterfield 40 8 9 23 33 -28
24 Coventry 40 7 11 22 32 -27
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