Goodnight and Good Luck – Stephen Wall

Whilst it’s been coming for a while, the recent announcement from his new club means it’s time to properly big goodbye to the man who stepped into the breech that was the Bison net, #39 Stephen Wall.

 

What have we lost?

We’ve lost a keeper who didn’t have the best season of his career but is still more than capable at EPL level. Having had issues (as yet unknown) with Peterborough when they were not having a great season, he then came to a side suffering from team defence issues and a team in need of an experienced keeper.

I don’t know if Wall thinks he had a good or a bad year last season. Purely based on stats, it wasn’t his best year but Wall was a keeper whose size made him imposing in the net, had decent positioning and always seemed to play better the bigger the occasion. We’ve lost a keeper who on his day steals games.

 

Where has he gone?

Wally has followed Nicky Chinn and Chris Wiggins in signing for the MK Lightning.

http://www.mk-lightning.com/Latest/Lightning-put-a-Wall-in-front-of-the-net.html

Firstly, another fantastic pun in the title which always scores points here. It’s also a very Nick Poole signing. Alex Mettam emerged as the true number one in MK last season but then lost his place to Barry Hollyhead in the playoffs. Mettam still possibly needs pushing and a bit of guidance and with Hollyhead calling time on his career and Wall available, it gives MK the traditionally good 1-2 punch in net. The issue of course is who is the trust number 1 in MK now? A wise man once told me you don’t have two number 1 goalies but two number 2 goalies. I assume Poole will ride the hot hand.

 

Who replaces him?

Finally an easy answer to this question! Stevie Lyle is the out and out replacement for Wall as number one goalie. Not much else to say there really.

 

Final thoughts

Stephen Wall is a very good keeper. I thought it when he signed and I thought it now. I think many will feel that he didn’t have a great run in Basingstoke and no, it won’t go down as one for the ages. He let in a few soft goals and I think he’ll be the first to admit that. I also think he wasn’t helped by the team on occasions and there were games (the 8-3 loss at home to Slough where he came in to relieve Colclough) where he was utterly hung out to dry.

I think it’s interesting though given the recent retirement of Barry Hollyhead unsurprising that Wall has surfaced in MK. I don’t doubt a fair few teams spoke to Stephen but Nick Poole puts a lot of emphasis on his netminding and with Wall becoming available it’s a deal that works well. Wall knows that part of the world well and knows what MK are all about as an organisation. Alongside Mettam, MK once again will arguably be the best netminding duo in the EPL in terms of talent. I did mention my initial concerns about that above but you have to think that signing 2 keepers with that sort of calibre at this level has to work more in the Lightning’s favour than to their detriment.

I’ve always enjoyed watching Stephen play because when he gets into that zone, he is just fantastic to watch. He’ll stop everything thrown his way. Sadly for his fans in Basingstoke, he’ll now be doing it in Lightning colours for next season. All the best Wally, see you along the way.

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