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The Back Page: Positive vibes are being lost in crowd; BACK of the NET: THE WEBSITE VIEW.

Byline: STEVE STUART www.nmfe.co.uk

A T the moment some people seem to be concentrating on what things aren't at Walsall - yet there is very little concentration on what we actually are.

A 4-3-1-2 formation isn't 4-4-2; Paul Merson isn't Colin Lee; Gary Birch isn't Andy Rammell; 20th isn't first. We are trying to get back into a higher division despite having to counteract the wastefulness of the previous manager.

At the start of the season, the major concerns were about whether there were enough old heads to guide the kids through. Right now it's those kids who are the strength in the team and it is one or two of the older heads that need careful examination.

Last season there were far too many games where we seemed to be playing only with two centrehalves and a 'keeper.

This term it's those three positions that have let us down more than any other.

But in the past few weeks we have had pluses in these departments.

Mark Paston has come on leaps and bounds in goal and Julian Bennett is probably the first name down in the centre of defence.

There are other positives too. I have confidence in this team in coming back, should they go behind.

This denotes not only a good spirit but also a desire, hunger and passion to succeed.

It is rather unfortunate that such a spirit isn't necessarily being matched in the stands. We need to accept that things aren't simply going to go our way all the time and that it will need an awful lot of hard work if we are going to get anything out of this season.

However, there are, at the moment, a fair few supporters who - for whatever reason - seem to begrudge this team the opportunity to succeed and are all too quick to criticise them should they look as if they won't. To date, there hasn't been a game in which we have not created the chances to win. While that continues the manager will have my wholehearted support.

It is said that empty vessels make the most noise. Right now some of the emptiest wouldn't even know what the concept of 'half full' is.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Sep 26, 2004
Words:371
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