Chairman, Jeff Bonser, has today issued the following statement:
On behalf of the Board of Directors I am pleased to present the annual report and accounts for the year ended 31 May 2017 (covering the 2016-2017 season).
I am delighted to once again be able to announce a trading profit, this time of £215,000 (2016 - £417,000). In addition to this our borrowings have been significantly reduced over the year.
On-the-pitch, it was a transitional year as we commenced a new era under Jon Whitney, who enjoyed his first full season as First Team Manager after close to five years of stability under the previous regime.
Jon was immediately faced with a tough challenge as many of the squad who had achieved a play-off place in the previous season moved on to pastures new and he had to start assembling a squad more-or-less from scratch. Despite this, a comfortable mid-table finish was achieved giving us something to build upon moving forward.
A run of six successive home league victories (for the first time since 2006) and a trio of victories against all conquering runaway winners of League One, Sheffield United, home and away in the league and away again in the cup, being some of the highlights of the campaign.
The importance of the Academy again shone through with no fewer than seven Academy Graduates making their first-team debut during the year – Mitchel Candlin, Callum Cockerill-Mollett, Tobias Hayles-Docherty, Maz Kouhyar, Kory Roberts, Jordon Sangha and Will Shorrock. All are now on professional contracts.
In addition to these, second-year scholars, Cameron Peters, Sam Tonks and Dan Vann, have also signed professional terms.
This is a fantastic return on the significant investment the club makes each year into the Academy. I’m sure there will be many other clubs across the country that would be proud to be able to boast such a record.
Many of these players featured heavily in our successful Walsall Senior Cup winning squad.
Off the pitch, we continued to build the Walsall FC brand and there were some notable commercial developments.
We were extremely pleased to extend our ‘Stadium Naming Rights’ sponsorship with long-term commercial partner Marstons until the summer of 2022. We are proud to carry the famous and prestigious name, The Banks’s Stadium, as our home, a brand and company that is synonymous with the local area and community.
Similarly, we managed to secure a five-year extension to the ‘Shirt Sponsorship’ deal with another major player in the local economy, HomeServe. Their branding fits perfectly with the club colours and the team will carry their logo all the way through until the 2021-22 Season.
I would like to thank both for their continued commitment towards the club.
The year also saw us embark on our first standalone foray into the digital advertising world with an investment in two new M6 motorway facing digital advertising screens. We believe we have the ideal location to benefit from significant advertising revenue that will generate substantial bottom line profits to go straight into the playing budget for many years to come.
In addition to this, we have continued to enjoy fantastic support from all of our other commercial partners and sponsors. I would like to place on record my personal thanks to those organisations and individuals who have invested in the club over the season and have contributed towards everything we as a club have achieved.
In particular, I would like to thank St. Francis Group, Dains LLP, the Walsall FC Community Programme, the University of Wolverhampton, Acorn Group, Accord Housing, Tile Choice, SPV Group, Excel Print and Bailey & Mackey Ltd.
Once again, I would like to pay tribute to the Community team who enrich the lives of so many local people and of course my fellow board members and staff at the Banks’s Stadium for their ongoing commitment and dedication.
Finally, on behalf of everyone at Walsall Football Club, I would like to say a big thank you to the Supporters. As always, they have been exceptional and I would like to assure them all that all of our efforts are focused on giving them a team and a club to be proud of.
The full Directors’ Report and Financial Statements are available to download here
The Annual General Meeting for Shareholders will take place in the Priory Lounge at the Banks’s Stadium at 9:00am on Monday 4th December 2017.