Dean Smith took control at npower League One side Walsall having originally been the club’s Head of Youth. But after former manager Chris Hutchings departed the Banks’s Stadium in January 2011, the 41-year-old former player took the club on a remarkable run of form, preserving their divisional status having, at one point, been nine points adrift of safety.
The Saddlers consolidated last season, finishing 19th, some seven points clear of the relegation zone.
As a player, Smith – a centre-back – made 142 appearances for Walsall, though his most notable contribution was at Leyton Orient, for whom he appeared 239 times. After other spells at Hereford United, Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale, he hung up his boots in 2005.
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