The week that Walsall beat England

Gavin Drake addressing the crowd at Wembley © Dave Gittins
Gavin Drake addressing the crowd at Wembley
© Dave Gittins

Well, not quite!

But I was slightly amused yesterday, when it dawned on me that in the space of seven days I was on the pitch at Wembley addressing more than 72,000 football fans for a Saddlers match on the Sunday; and then the following Saturday I was on the pitch at Walsall addressing less than 3,000 for an England international!

The Banks’s Stadium is used to staging international matches for the FA. It’s an honour for the club and a privilege for the staff, including me, to be part of these events.

Yesterday it was the Under 18s taking on Switzerland in a friendly and the crowd of just under 3,000 was a pretty decent turnout for an U18s match on a day when it was competing with league football.

Those who turned out were treated to a thrilling display in which England trounced the visitors 6-1 thanks, in part, to braces from Skipper Adam Armstrong (Newcastle United) and Tammy Abraham (Chelsea).

There was a lot of talent out on the pitch yesterday and it was good to see the stars of the future – and present – on the Banks’s pitch.

It wasn’t such a good result last week, of course, for Walsall at Wembley; but it was amazing to see Wembley adorned with a see of red and white with Walsall flags and banners everywhere. Let’s hope it’s not another 127-year wait for our next visit.