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Great Central Defenders

By Neil Ravenscroft & 4two
June 26 2005

It's now time to pick the central defenders for our Legends XI Squad. We've short listed the favorites from last time and added Paul Ritchie to the mix.


Nick Atthey (DR, C, MC).   Short, he had an amazing ability to out jump forwards much taller then himself.  One of the Walsall men to have made over 500 appearances for the club, over a period of 14 seasons.

Colin Brazier (CD).  An ex Wolves stalwart, formed a great partnership with Peter Hart at the center of the Walsall defence.  After being forced to retire from professional football through injury, was still good enough to represent England as an amateur.

Stan Bennett (D/MC): played over 400 times between 1963-1975, famed for solid displays which endeared him to the Walsall crowd, and drew praise from opposition managers.  His nephew, unfortunately, chose to play for Albion!

Ron Crutchley (D/MC): A hard working defensive wing half and a favourite with the fans between 1945-1949.

Reg Foulkes (CD): Called Walsall's greatest ever half back in the book 100 greats, a powerful, commanding defender.

 Bill Guteridge (CD) Nicknamed Chopper, spent 9 seasons or so at Fellows Park, one of the greatest ball winners ever to play for Walsall, and a folk hero with the crowds.

Frank Gregg  (DR).  Held down that position for a long time during the sixties.  A tough tackler, he was another very under rated footballer, making almost 400 appearances for the Saddlers.

Peter Hart (CD/MC)  A Yorkshireman, played for 4th Division rivals Huddersfield before joining us.  Spent 10 years at the heart of Walsall's side. Was the captain 84 team that reached the semis of the Milk Cup and skippered the side to play off glory in 88. The Captain of the Legends Squad).  Now a vicar, he was always a deeply religious man and was a leading light in the Christians in Sport movement.

Albert McPherson (CD).  367 appearances for the Saddlers, a tough, uncompromising center half and a key member of the promotion winning sides of the late fifties/early sixties.

Paul Ritchie (CD) - Spent one season with the Saddlers during which he won the Player of the Season award and proved to be a class act, breaking back in to the Scotland Squad having drifted out of spotlight while with Man City and Glasgow Rangers.

Ian Roper (CD) Is the only new nominee from the current squad up for a defensive slot.  He won the player of the season ballot this season He has been the main stay of the Walsall defence during their most successful period ever. He is one of the best ball winners ever to play for us.

Stuart Ryder (CD) Broke in to the Walsall side in 1992 as a teenager. He went on to play for the England U21s in the Toulon Tournament.  Those who saw him play could see he was going on to bigger and better things, but he damaged his cruciates in a reserve game and never came back the same player. .

Adrian Viveash (CD) Cost Walsall nothing, having played at the highest level with his local club, Swindon.  Won two player of the season awards, captained the side on a number of occasions and made a name for himself as a goal scorer.




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