Ex-midfielder discusses the historic 1994/95 campaign...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!
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 ex-midfielder Scott Houghton to recall the memorable 1994/95 campaign.
Q: So Scott, how do you reflect on your time at Walsall – and that season in 1994/95?
SH: I look back with fond memories. Those two years at Walsall were the best of my footballing career and the year we won promotion was fantastic. We had a fantastic side, fantastic staff and fantastic supporters. It couldn’t have been better really.
Q: What was the manager Chris Nicholl like to work with?
SH: I can’t speak highly enough of Chris Nicholl. Nobody had a bigger will to win than he did and everyone wanted to play for him. You knew that if you stepped out of line that you’d be out of the side and get the cold shoulder. Everyone criticises managers when results are not going well, but when a team gets promotion it’s the players who get the pats on the back. Chris has to take an enormous amount of credit for that promotion year. He was an enormous factor.
Q: What made that team successful?
SH: We had everything. We had a good system – we played 4-4-2 and were really solid. We had pace throughout the team and a few outstanding frontmen in Kyle Lightbourne, Kevin Wilson and Martin Butler. No position in our team was weak. We had the self-belief that even if we went a goal behind, we were never going to lose. We had 12/13 players in the squad and every one of them was a winner. Our team spirit was second to none and that carried us through. I had joined Walsall from Luton, who were a Championship team, and there wasn’t any difference between them and Walsall. You could have put that Walsall team in the Championship and we would have held our own.
Q: What was the season like for you on a personal level?
SH: It resurrected my career. I left Tottenham in 1993 to join Luton but things didn’t really work out and my career was on a quick downward spiral. I was given the opportunity to join Walsall and I knew I was coming to a Third Division club with some fantastic players. It was perfect and a great time for me to start finding my feet again and start playing some decent football.
Q: What was it like to finally win promotion on that Thursday night in Bury?
SH: It was surreal. We got absolutely battered at Bury but we managed to squeeze out a 0-0 draw. Jimmy Walker had an outstanding game and it was a marvellous feeling to get promoted. I was so desperate to start celebrating that as soon as I came off the pitch I got in the shower, only to realise that everyone was back out taking the adulation of the crowd! So I missed that one!
Q: Finally, how much are you looking forward to the Class of ’95 event?
SH: I can’t wait. Some of those lads I haven’t seen in years. I played for a lot of clubs but I can honestly say that I never played for a club with as much spirit as Walsall. The people, the supporters and the staff were so friendly. It’s such a nice club and I can’t wait to come back and meet the boys and some of the supporters.