Hyder Jawad on why Preston boss is favourite to replace Paul Merson...
Whoever Walsall install as their new manager, he is unlikely to be as famous or as colourful as Paul Merson. But, if they appoint David Kelly, the supporters might just be assuaged.
Kelly, the former Walsall striker who is the assistant manager of Preston North End, has emerged as the favourite to replace Merson and it is an appointment that would carry much logic.
Merson himself has suggested that Kelly should be given the job, although Walsall are sure to go through the tried-and-trusted formula of advertising the position and staging interviews.
Brian Kidd, the former Manchester United assistant manager, has made himself available after recovering from prostate cancer while the usual suspects - the likes of Chris Nicholl and Ray Lewington - are also in with a shout.
For now, Mick Halsall, the Walsall youth coach, is in charge of first-team affairs but he has made it clear that he is not interested in replacing Merson.
Kelly is the obvious choice because he knows Walsall inside out, has learnt the trade at all levels of the game and arouses respect among supporters.
In some ways, he is more appropriate now than Merson was in April. 2004.
"I don't want to tell the club its business," Merson said. "But I think that David Kelly would be a great shout. He is a legend at the club. It is the fans' club and they want him to have the job. So I think Jeff Bonser and the board should listen."
Then again, how much weight did Bill Clinton's endorsement for Al Gore carry at the 2000 US Presidential election. Sometimes it can be the last thing a candidate might need.
Kelly is a former Republic of Ireland international striker who represented Walsall from 1983 to 1988, scoring 63 league goals in 147 matches. He went on to play for West Ham United, Leicester City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Newcastle United and Tranmere Rovers.
Kelly, born in Birmingham, is 40 and among the most respected people within the game.
Kidd, a European Cup winner with Manchester United in 1968, is looking for a coaching role after recovering from cancer. The former Blackburn Rovers manager believes that his experience is invaluable.
"The good thing is I am fit and healthy again and, as the signs outside the shop say, open for business," Kidd, aged 56, said. "I do believe that young players can benefit from my years in football at various levels.
"Money cannot buy experience. I just need another door to open for me. Coaching players, young or old, is what I am best at and I would love to get back into the game in that capacity."
Nicholl knows Walsall inside out. He was Ray Gray-don's assistant until 2002. However, Nicholl is a link with the past and Bonser is unlikely to consider someone who has been out of the game for two years.
Richard O'Kelly, another former Walsall striker, is assistant manager of Bournemouth but is perhaps not exciting enough a figure to please fans. O'Kelly has more experience than Kelly, which might tempt Bonser.
The wrong decision could damage the club for five years and might even result in relegation. If that happens, perhaps supporters will become nostalgic for the Merson era.