Date:Sunday July 13 2014
The Guest Blog returns for a second season and kicks off, naturally, with a tribute to the legends.
Many years from now, when I kick the bucket and arrive at the pearly gates of heaven, St Peter will let me through and I`ll be introduced to God almighty…and I`m convinced it will be Ray Graydon.
I remember the first time I met the man. It was the summer of 2000, I was 15 years old, and doing a two week work experience with the Walsall Advertiser. The fortnight coincided with pre-season, and the second of those weeks saw us play our only 'home` pre-season friendly of that summer. Due to problems with the Bescot pitch the match was being played at The Lamb in Tamworth and, having bugged the sports editor to allow me to accompany him to the game, I was excited at the prospect of getting to meet Sir Ray at the post match press conference.
However, an unexpected twist pre-match saw the news break that we`d signed a new foreign striker who had impressed on the recent pre-season tour of Scotland. More than that, we`d even paid a fee for the player, a whopping £150,000 fee. Paid to a club called Feirense for some Portuguese striker by the name of Jorge Leitao. After the match we`d be interviewing him too.
My work experience ended, career ambitions changed, I turned my back on wanting to be a journalist and didn`t speak to Jorge again until Friday night when I met the man again in Scooters following his return for the Club Legends Cup tournament at the LG Arena last night.
What a great night it was too bringing back so many wonderful memories. Jorge scored, Pedro Matias performed an outrageous flick, Zigor Aranalde fell over the ball, Chris Marsh performed a couple of step overs, Ian Roper conceded a penalty and we went down to a series of narrow defeats from performances that deserved better. Sound familiar to anyone?
And it was all carried out behind a wall of noise from the Saddlers fans inside the arena, who managed to be louder than all the other fans put together despite the fact our club is traditionally the smallest of the six.
There was also a few choice chants directed at Wolves keeper Matt Murray that were loud enough even for Carl Ikeme to hear. All in all, it was an excellent night celebrating a really proud era in the history of our football club.
Now let`s get them back on match days for the half time parade, it would surely help get a few more part time Saddlers in the ground. Legends, we salute you!
Date:Sunday July 13 2014
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