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‘Just what we needed’ – Walsall reveal appointment of new manager

Walsall reveal the exciting appointment of their new manager in Michael Flynn with the club struggling in League Two this season.

Saddlers currently sit in 18th place in the League Two standings, five places and six points above the relegation zone, following their home victory over Tranmere Rovers on Saturday.

That win was the Saddlers’ first points since drawing 3-3 with Michael Flynn’s old side Newport back on New Year’s Day.

A subsequent seven-game losing streak saw Walsall get rid of boss Matt Taylor after the 1-0 defeat at basement side Scunthorpe United.

Flynn departed the Exiles last October after a successful four-and-a-half-year spell.

His side a miraculous escape from relegation during his first season with the Amber Army, having taken over in 2016/17 with them 11 points adrift at the bottom of fourth tier.

That turnaround saw him given the manager’s job permanently and in the following campaigns, he oversaw FA Cup wins over Leeds, Leicester and Middlesbrough – while also getting ties against both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City.

Flynn helped Newport reach the League Two playoff final last season at Wembley, losing 1-0 to Morecambe. He then left the club ‘on amicable terms’ last autumn.


Walsall Football Club are delighted to announce the appointment of Michael Flynn as our new Head Coach on a contract until 2024.

The 41-year-old previously spent four-and-a-half years as manager of fellow Sky Bet League Two side Newport County where he guided them to two play-off finals during his tenure.

After taking over in a caretaker capacity in March 2017, Flynn guided the Exiles to safety despite being 11 points adrift when he took charge.

He was confirmed as Newport’s permanent manager in May 2017.

Newport progressed in the 2017-18 season under Flynn’s stewardship, finishing 11th but they also reached the fourth round of the FA Cup where they earned a 1-1 draw against Tottenham Hotspur before they bowed out in a replay.

They made further improvements the following season as they finished seventh and went on to reach the play-off final but fell to a 1-0 defeat in extra time against Tranmere Rovers.

They enjoyed another cup run that year, this time advancing to the fifth round where they went toe-to-toe with Manchester City.

In 2020-21, Newport once again qualified for the play-offs after an impressive fifth place finish but just missed out on promotion after a defeat in extra time to Morecambe.

He left the South Wales club in October 2021.

Flynn also enjoyed a 17 year playing career that spanned 425 appearances for the likes of Newport, Bradford City, Blackpool, Wigan Athletic, Gillingham and Huddersfield Town. 

Flynn is excited to be the new Head Coach of Walsall and is looking forward to getting started.

“I can’t wait to get going,” he said.

“It’s a fantastic football club, I remember playing against them many years ago, Paul Merson was in charge so that does go back a while.

“It is a club that wants to go in the right direction and that was key for me.

“I am bringing in togetherness. Every single team that I have been a part of, there has been a real togetherness.

“I am going to make sure that that is throughout the football club.

“I know Jamie (Fullarton) is really big on that, and again that was one of the principles that I was really impressed with so I can’t speak highly enough of him on that.

“We have a very vocal group of supporters and we want to try and get more feet inside the stand on match days and we can only do that by winning games.

“I am sure that with them behind us and with everyone pulling in the right direction, we will have a good end to the season.

Walsall Chairman Leigh Pomlett added: “I’m delighted to bring in someone of Michael’s ambition and experience to the football club.

“His experience having managed at this level of football will be invaluable and I now expect us to stabilise and climb the table.”

We can also now confirm that Neil McDonald has left the club.

We would like to thank Neil for his efforts during his time at the Banks’s Stadium and wish him well for the future.

An announcement on a replacement for Neil will be made in due course.

A press conference with the new Head Coach will be held on Thursday 17th February at 2pm.

Twitter users reacted as Walsall reveal the appointment of their new manager, see what is being said below…

@andy90wfc: Credit where credits due, I don’t see many better candidates than Flynn for the task of rebuilding this club and the board have actually got it over the line 👏. But make sure you listen to him and make sure you back him. So imperative that we do that. Michael Flynn’s Barmy Army!

@lew_abnett: Class appointment on paper, fingers crossed it goes well ⚽️

@DanHaye37604571: Every get down to FGR on Saturday

@StefanoLawrence: All of this positivity is making me a little dizzy. Perhaps a note of caution not to get too excited just yet. Let’s see how he gets on. Very promising CV though #UTS

@Ashley_J_Healey: Had the pleasure to watch Flynny manage my club Newport for so many years. Absolute class act and will give 100% to the club.

@caitlinjjwebb: Congrats Flynn, best of luck 🧡

@MnRainer: Well as I’m stuck inside because I’ve got Covid, this has cheered me up.

@ukbronco: For once, I have no reservations about a Walsall managerial appointment. This is a superb catch, especially considering Bradford will no doubt have left a voicemail. 👏

@JimmySwansa: Brilliant news. Onwards and upwards. UTS!!

@DanielNCFC15: Got urself a good manager should be managing higher tbh

@philwalsall: Feel sorry for Neil Mcdonald guided us to our first win in ages and now gone with just a few words when appointing the new manager. Manager of the week even tweet it then just a few words that’s shocking

@mozza180: That’s football I’m afraid. New managers like to have their own ideas and bring in their own staff. Credit to McDonald but he has to take some of the blame for where we are today, regardless of how stubborn MT was.

@davidmorgan359: Gave us one hell of a ride in both league and cup. A few giant killings and a couple of play off finals. Nothing but positives from me. Mind you, he’s not the type of man to run onto the pitch to celebrate a home 3 all draw…. 😉

@eddieatkins84: Get the fuck in

@tombaines88: Surprised by this. I was convinced his next job would be in L1. Best of luck to him.

@Kie_Wills: Time to kick on now! Late push for play offs? 😂

@TJ_Bloomfield: Bloody hell I’d have been happy to get him at #ITFC. Superb appointment for the Saddlers

@DarkShellcode: Great just before we play you on the weekend

@NCAFCBen: Pleased for him. You have a great manager at the helm here.

@lukedrfc1: Are you taking the piss. Walsall end up attracting a manager like this however the best we could get is our u18 manager who didn’t want the job. Can donny fans wake up and realise what is happening with our club. Rotten to the core.

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