Saddlers' Chairman reflects on fine service...SADDLERS' Chairman, Jeff Bonser, has heaped praise on the service Mick Kearns has given to the club in the wake of his announcement that he is retiring from his full-time role at Banks's Stadium.
“The fact that Mick is one of our longest-serving employees reflects the outstanding and loyal commitment that he has displayed to the club,” he said. “When he first came to Walsall it was as an emerging goalkeeper looking to make his way in the game.
“He certainly did that, gaining International recognition for the Republic of Ireland along the way and establishing himself as one of the most popular players to ever represent the club.
“When he finally hung up his boots after 12 years service as a player, he worked hard to establish and manage our Community Programme, which has since been recognised as one of the most successful in football.
“He is one of the longest-serving Community Officers in the country and, to this day, football community leaders aspire to replicate his achievements.
“In addition to this extremely important role, he has spent many hours at the training ground coaching and supporting our goalkeepers and managers over many years. I am sure that Jimmy Walker would agree that his success was shaped by Mick.
“He also works on our Saddlers Player matchday commentary, giving our supporters insight to all Walsall matches with opinions and behind-the-scenes anecdotes. I am pleased to say that he intends to continue with this.
“Mick informed me some months ago of his intention to retire from the Community Programme. To me, family clubs like Walsall need people like Mick Kearns. With his passion, experience and history, as well as being known and well-respected by Saddlers’ fans of all ages, it is important that he maintains some involvement with the club following his retirement.
“I am pleased to say that as well as his work on Saddlers Player and, on the proviso that he has more time to practice his golf swing to compete with Dean Smith, he has accepted an ambassadorial role with the club.
“Mick has been a pillar of strength to Walsall FC. I would personally thank him for his unquestionable loyalty, particularly during the early 1990s when the club moved to Bescot Stadium.
“He worked closely with Roy Whalley and myself in persuading the local councillors of that time to allow planning consent for our commercial activities, including the Sunday Market, which is now established as our most successful commercial venture to date.
“I regard Mick as a great friend. His sense of humour and banter will be greatly missed, not only with myself but also the office staff. I would like to wish him good health and all the very best for his ‘semi’ retirement.
“There will always be a place for Mick at Walsall FC for as long as he wishes.”
We are delighted that Mick will become Matchday Host during 2013/14 alongside his work on our Saddlers Player service. He will also take on an ambassadorial role for the club.