Dean Smith and Richard O'Kelly leave Walsall...Walsall Football Club can confirm that manager Dean Smith has agreed to join Brentford subject to contract. He will be joined by assistant Richard O'Kelly.
After rebuffing interest from a Championship club last month, The Saddlers successfully agreed a new 12-month rolling contract with Dean. However, at the time of signing he requested assurances from the Club that he would be given the opportunity to speak to any interested parties regarding any future job opportunities should they arise.
After an approach from Brentford ahead of our game against Bradford City on Saturday, Dean indicated his desire to speak to the Championship Outfit. Talks were concluded swiftly and he has now indicated his desire to leave the Banks's Stadium to take up the reins at Griffin Park. A compensation package for Dean and Richard has been agreed and the pair leave with immediate effect.
We apologise to our supporters for the delay in announcing this information today but the necessary paperwork from our end had to be signed and ratified before we were able to release this statement.
"We are disappointed to lose Dean," said Chairman, Jeff Bonser. "He is the fourth longest serving manager in English Football and would have been at the helm for five years in January. We categorically did not want him to leave this football club and did all we could to keep him at the helm.
"He has been fantastic for Walsall Football Club and, in turn, we have been fantastic for him. We gave him his opportunity in management and believed in him throughout his tenure.
"He helped keep us in League One at the end of his first season and made gradual improvement throughout his time in charge; culminating in a first Wembley appearance earlier this year and an excellent start to the current campaign. We thank him, and Richard O'Kelly, for their hard work and efforts. However, we now have to look to the future.
"We have a blue print and philosophy at Walsall Football Club that we are committed to and will ensure that continues to grow and flourish. We find ourselves in the somewhat unusual position of looking to recruit a new management team whilst in such a strong position both on and off the field. I am sure we will have a high number of applicants for the role and it is the job of myself and the Board of Directors to ensure that we make the right appointment.
"In the meantime John Ward, Jon Whitney and Neil Cutler will take temporary control of first team matters."
The Club will be making no further comment.