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Saddlers Legends

Saddlers Legends

There are times in football when its obvious a manager is perfect for a team- Alex Ferguson at Man Utd, Dario Gradi at Crewe and Ray Graydon at Walsall.

Graydon arrived at the Bescot in 1998 after big Dane Jan Sorensen left the club and to say he had a difficult task ahead was an understatement.

Not only did he have very little money to play with, he was also very aware that we were favourites to be relegated from the Second Division- a league that at the time had big clubs such as Man City and Fulham spending millions.

It did then seem like a miracle when half way through the season we were not only in the top half but in the top 6. Graydon had managed to get a belief into a squad that got better and better by the game.

And any signings Graydon did make boosted the squad instead of spliting it. Most notably a winger called Darren Wrack was brought in and alongside other Bescot favourites such as Jimmy Walker and Andy Rammell the Saddlers finished the season second behind Fulham.

Graydon had somehow turned a relegation favourite into a promotion-winning side and it looked easy.

Although Graydon couldn't keep us in the First Division, he was of course still in charge when we went to Cardiff and were promoted once more.

A man loved by players and fans alike, his sacking in 2002 wasn't the most popular decision Jeff Bonser ever made!

Let us know your memories of Ray Graydon on our forum.

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Writer:Cannock Saddler
Date:Friday September 7 2007
Time: 7:19PM

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3 Walsall 44 22 12 10 78 15
4 Millwall 44 22 9 13 75 20
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6 Barnsley 44 21 7 16 70 13
7 Gillingham 44 19 12 13 69 17
8 Scunthorpe 44 19 11 14 68 10
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10 Rochdale 44 18 11 15 65 6
11 Port Vale 44 18 11 15 65 4
12 Coventry 44 17 12 15 63 14
13 Southend 44 16 11 17 59 -4
14 Peterborough 44 17 6 21 57 4
15 Bury 44 15 12 17 57 -15
16 Swindon 44 15 10 19 55 -10
17 Oldham 44 12 18 14 54 -9
18 Chesterfield 44 14 8 22 50 -13
19 Shrewsbury 44 13 11 20 50 -17
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22 Doncaster 44 11 12 21 45 -14
R Colchester 44 9 12 23 39 -41
R Crewe 44 6 13 25 31 -37
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