Saddlers' legend retires from full-time role...HAVING given the club four decades of sterling service, we can today announce that Mick Kearns is retiring from his full-time role as Community Director and Goalkeeping Coach.
The 62 year-old first joined The Saddlers in July 1973 when then manager, Ronnie Allen, secured his services from Oxford United, for whom he had progressed through the ranks as a youngster.
A commanding and reliable last line of defence, it didn’t take long for him to establish himself and become a popular figure both on and off-the-field.
Between August 1973 and January 1979 he missed just five of our 293 competitive fixtures, during which time he put in many impressive displays and helped us enjoy some exciting Cup adventures.
His performances also saw him earn International recognition for the Republic of Ireland as he went on to win a total of 18 caps, 15 of which came during his time with Walsall, thus making him our most-capped player.
He had a three-year spell with Wolves before returning to Fellows Park in August 1982 and serving the club until the end of the 1984/85 campaign, during which time he was playing on a part-time basis and working as a steward at the Aldridge Conservative Club.
After a total of 322 appearances in all competitions for the club, in 1989 he accepted the challenge to get the Walsall FC Community Programme off the ground, a task that he has undertaken with an enormous amount of success.
Combining this with the roles of Goalkeeping Coach and summariser for our online match commentary service, few people have given such devotion to The Saddlers’ cause over such a long period of time.
“The time is right for me to announce my retirement,” admitted Kearns. “It’s almost 40 years to the day since I first set foot into the club and my decision was made after very careful consideration.
“During that time Walsall FC has become a very big part of my life; the club will always remain close to my heart, but it is time for me to hand over the reins to a younger goalkeeping coach, whilst the Community Programme will be headed by Adam Davy who has been an extremely loyal and hard-working deputy to me for the past 19 years.
“He deserves the opportunity to step up and drive the Community Programme forward with fresh ideas.”
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.
More memories and reaction to follow...