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Interviews

CLASS OF '95 - INTERVIEW WITH MARTIN O'CONNOR

19 November 2015

Event at the Banks's tomorrow...

Join us for an evening with the promotion-winning side of 1994/95 on Friday, 20th November at the Banks's Stadium.

Twenty years on from the historic Third Division campaign, we’re reuniting some of the biggest and boldest characters to ever pull on a Walsall shirt!

Hear from key members of Chris Nicholl’s squad as we celebrate one of the most successful seasons in the Club’s 127-year history.

Tickets cost just £15 for season ticket holders and £20 for non-season ticket holders, and include admission, curry, naan bread, rice or chips, and a pint or soft drink.


Ahead of the special evening, saddlers.co.uk caught up with former Walsall captain Martin O’Connor to recall the memorable 1994/95 campaign.


Q: So Martin, how proud are you to have been a member of that historic 1994/95 team?
MO’C: It’s one of those times were you look back in your career and you played with some good players, although they probably didn’t get the recognition they deserved at the time. The team was solid. We had some very good players and a good manager. The changing room was fantastic. I look back and I was in a good team there. I’m proud to have been a part of it.

Q: Did you always believe Walsall were going to be successful that season?
MO’C: No, is my honest answer. It was my first full season, Kenny Hibbitt brought me in and a month later he got the sack. Chris Nicholl came in and it can take a new manager time to stamp their authority, but he did it instantly. Very few managers made an impression on me but Chris was one of them. He got me believing in myself. We had our arguments and our disagreements but we got promotion and that year we played some really good, attacking football.

Q: What made that team successful?
MO’C: We had round pegs in round holes. We had some good players but we didn’t have any superstars with egos. We all worked hard and won together, drew together and lost together. We had a fantastic social life off the field – we’d all stick together and go out. We were a hard team to beat and teams knew they were in for a hard game when they played us. We deserved to win promotion because at times we were outstanding.

Q: What was it like to finally win promotion against Bury?
MO’C: It was fantastic. The fans were unbelievable that night; they flooded the terraces and supported us for 95 minutes. It was 0-0 and a taut game. I got injured in the last ten minutes and had to come off. I remember being on the treatment table and getting stitches in my shin, and the gaffer came in and said ‘we’ve done it, we’ve won promotion!’ I hobbled out and my family were there – it was a fantastic occasion. The journey back was superb and three or four days later we went abroad to celebrate. It was a fantastic time.

Q: Finally, how much are you looking forward to the Class of ’95 event?
MO'C: It’s going to be a great night. I still keep in touch with players from that squad and it’s probably because we were successful that we still keep in touch. The players probably deserve to get recognition for winning promotion because for most clubs, promotion eludes them. It was a fantastic achievement and hopefully Walsall can win promotion this year.

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