The word legend is often overused – particularly when it comes to footballers. Of course, fans will have their favourites, especially when it comes to former players; but while most former players are still held with affection, and have names that conjour up remarkable memories, not many deserve the title “legend”.
But sometimes the word is well and truly deserved; and that’s most certainly the case with Chris Marsh and his association with Walsall FC. Chris “Mad Dog” Marsh, otherwise known as the Step-Over King, made over 470 appearances for the Saddlers between 1998 and 2001; and he helped the club to two promotions during that time – in 1995 and 1999.
Since retiring from professional football, Marshy has been a regular at the Banks’s Stadium both as a fan, and also in charity games and other matches featuring the Saddlers’ All-Stars. But now, at the age of 44, he has decided to hang up his boots for good, but not before turning out one last time in aid of two good causes.
The Wiltshire-based telecommunications consultancy, Cat Communications, has a long association with the Saddlers, culminating in them becoming the shirt sponsors. That commercial association is coming to an end; but like Marshy, not before another outing in aid of the good causes.
Both endings come this Thursday with the Cat Communications charity game at the Banks’s Stadium which will see a the Mad Dogs – a team of Walsall All Stars, captained by Chris Marsh, take on the Cool Cats – a team comprised of Cat Communications’ staff and Walsall FC supporters.
Admission to the game, which takes place this Thursday, 22nd May at 7.30pm, costs just £2 for adults and £1 for concessions. All proceeds will go to the Last Chance Hotel Animal Rescue charity and the Balls to Cancer campaign against testicular cancer.
Not only will it be an opportunity to see Chris Marsh play his last ever game at the Banks’s Stadium, it will be an opportunity to see again former stars such as Zigor Aranalde, Adrian Viveah, Ian Roper, Darren Wrack, David Kelly and Stuart Ryder alongside current management duo Richard O’Kelley and the Ginger Mourinho himself, Dean Smith.
And former Walsall full back Kris Taylor, part of the memorable team that won the League Two title in 2007, and now playing with Hednesford Town, will make an emotional return to the Banks’s where his own fight against testicular cancer this year has been marked with sustained applause by Saddlers’ fans during the 15th minute of each match since his diagnosis emerged in January.
The game has been billed as “the biggest gathering of former players for some time.” And, once again, it takes place this Thursday, 22nd May, at 7.30pm. Admission is £2 for adults and £1 for concessions.
I hope to see you there for what promises to be a great evening of entertainment and an opportunity to raise funds for some very worthy causes.