Final day in full-time employment for Saddlers' legend...TODAY is Mick Kearns’ last in full-time employment at the club as another Saddlers’ stalwart retires.
The 62 year-old has given outstanding service to the club both on and off-the-pitch since he first arrived as a promising young goalkeeper back in the summer of 1973.
As a player he was a reliable last line of defence who, between August 1973 and January 1979, missed just five of our 293 competitive fixtures.
He was part of numerous Cup adventures, including that Milk Cup run of 1983/84 when he combined playing with his job as steward at the Aldridge Conservative Club, as well as earning International recognition from the Republic of Ireland and in doing so becoming our most capped player.
After 322 appearances for the club, he then carved out a new career for himself in charge of our fledgling Community Programme.
He has gone on to become one of the longest-serving Community Officers in the country, overseeing a department that has grown beyond recognition over the years and is often used as a benchmark for other clubs to follow.
Not only this, he has been Goalkeeping Coach, playing a key role in James Walker’s development amongst others, and is a popular summariser on our Saddlers Player service and local radio.
Thankfully his dulcet tones will remain on Saddlers Player during the season ahead, whilst he will also be Matchday Host at home games and an ambassador for the club.
His role as Community Director will be taken over by Adam Davy, who has been his faithful right-hand man for almost two decades.
"It’s a real privilege and honour to be taking over from Mick as the new Community Director,” said Davy. “I have spent my entire working career at Walsall FC with Mick. I joined the scheme in June 1994 as a trainee and have spent all those years learning the trade!
“I can't think of a better role-model than Mick for me to earn my stripes with. He has taught me so much in the time I have known him. I can say, first hand, that Mick is hard-working, honest, thoughtful and professional in all aspects of his life, and it is his personal traits I think I have learnt most from.
“Over the years, together, we have built a very successful Community Programme. We are recognised, nationally, as being a flagship scheme and Mick has an outstanding reputation throughout the Leagues.
“It is Mick’s reputation, as well as the scheme's reputation, that I feel most pressure in upholding. I will work hard to make sure our scheme continues to go from strength-to-strength.
“I am excited about the opportunities that lie ahead. I can assure Mick, and the club, that I will work hard to further grow and develop our scheme.
“I will still see Mick regularly at the club and he has told me that he is available, anytime, if I need to call him for advice and help.
“Mick is a credit to Walsall FC, someone I have a lot of respect for. This is my opportunity to say thank you to Mick. His support as a boss and a friend has been unbelievable and it has been an honour to work with and learn from him."
Everyone here at Banks’s Stadium wishes Mick well in his retirement and thank him most sincerely for his dedication to the cause over so many years.