Jan Sorensen was born in Denmark on May 14th, 1955 and was described as an attacking midfielder playing for Glostrup (Denmark, Frem (Denmark ) Bruges (Belgium ) Twente Enschede ( Holland ) Feyenoord ( Holland ) Excelsior ( Holland ) and Ajax ( Holland ).He made 11 appearances for his country for whom he scored 3 goals. By the age of 23 in 1977 he had played in a European Cup Final for Bruges against Liverpool narrowly losing 0-1 and he also became player manager of Portuguese club Portimonense. He arrived at Bescot Stadium in the summer of 1997 with a high pedigree as a player with an impressive cv and worked under some top coaches and was appointed on June 25th. There were a couple of interviews with Jan before the club announced that he had beaten off 20 or 30 serious applicants. Jan takes up the story of his arrival. "I had a couple of interviews with with Jeff Bonser and one with Paul Taylor. He wanted to talk about tactics. He began disputing what I was saying and said, 'Don't you agree?' I told him I had worked for and watched Johan Cruyff and he knows what he's on about don't you agree?" I told him I don't want to talk about it anymore." Jan was appointed on a two year deal Walsall had great cup runs in all the competitions that season, so much so that there were 14 extra games to the 46 league games and the club made a lot of money from this with not much filtering through to team strengthening. Jan continues by looking at those games. "In the Football League Cup we had some great games beating Nottingham Forest and Sheffield United, exciting home games before going out to West Ham United and the name of Walsall Football Club benefitted. We did well in the Auto Windscreens competition reaching the area finals."
"Then of course the FA Cup run, the 7-0 win at Macclesfield a record away win for the club and that big pay day at Old Trafford. Its true that just before kick off in the dressing room I read the names of their players out and said to the lads they will be shit scared of you. I wanted to build them up a bit. I simply said go out there and enjoy it. It was a fantastic day despite the result. When you look at the names they put out that day they paid me, the players and the club respect."
"Out of the big money we made from that cup run I should have been given some for team strengthening for the second half of the season. We ended up playing 62 games and I ended up with players who were 1- worn out and 2- YTS players on the bench. Paul Taylor had got me a couple of loan players in but they were no good for me as 1- they didn't fit in and 2- they were not good enough."
The parting of the ways left Jan feeling hurt and a bit betrayed..
" I was not pleased with the way it came about. We had a very good season in the cups and made a lot of money. The most the club had ever made. I didn't have a very big squad. There was no need to put me down on the club's website saying I was a failure and a gamble that went wrong. I just want some fairness. I never slagged Jeff Bonser off. As for Paul Taylor, he's just a two-faced little snitch who didn't have a clue. . Jeff Bonser and Paul Taylor had to justify themselves and I appreciate that. After I left the club gave Ray Graydon money to buy new players. Money I should have been given for the second of of that season."
Jan found it difficult to find a managers job in England... "Jeff Bonser left a bad name on me., nobody was interested and ignored me. I thought clubs in the second and third tier of the league may be. interested. I eventually worked for Peter Schmeichel's club in Denmark for three years..
In recent years I have suffered ill health with cancer and heart trouble to deal with and I haven't been able to travel for three years now.
I'd like to say thank you to the Walsall supporters for their fantastic support to me whilst I was in charge. I wish you all well.