Around 40 Saddlers supporters attended a Fans Focus Meeting at the Banks's Stadium last night. Here is a summary of the night's events, with answers provided by Chief Executive Stefan Gamble and Club Secretary Daniel Mole...
Budget for 2018/19 season
The board are backing Dean Keates and have allowed him to bring in his own backroom staff. Funds are available to improve the squad. Budget will be competitive. What any manager does with his budget is more important than the quantum. All profits from other commercial activities of the club go into the budget and the club operate on a break-even basis.
It is common knowledge that the Saddlers Club are in financial difficulty but the club has received very little information regarding their predicament. There is a winding down process ongoing and they stopped trading on 29th April. The Saddlers Club owe a significant amount of money to creditors, particularly to the football club.
Timing of Jon Whitney’s departure
Club became increasingly concerned about the threat of relegation and felt it was the right decision to make the change. Because of his long association with Walsall, the club wanted to give him as long as they could to turn things around.
Main reason behind the appointment was his impressive managerial performance at Wrexham, not simply his association with the club. Dean is a “winner” who, from having played here, knows what the fans demand from the players. He wants to play good football but above all wants to be successful and won’t mind winning 1-0.
Summer transfer business
Club have got five players over the line (including Joe Edwards with his new contract) and are hopeful of bringing in more players over the coming weeks. The transfer window closes on Thursday 9th August for permanent transfers, but clubs are still able to bring in long-term loans until the end of August.
This year’s figure is edging towards last season’s number. Club hopeful of surpassing last year’s total.
Chairman Jeff Bonser
The Chairman’s passion for the club hasn’t waned. He feels the club is heading in the right direction. If someone has the financial means to buy the club, and has the best interests of the club at heart, he would listen to offers.
Work has been carried out this summer to improve facilities. There is now hot water in all toilets, while the toilet floors and vomitories have been painted. Club looking to improve the bar areas and implement a fan zone outside the stadium.
The sign is now 100% under the club’s control. The club see it as a “brilliant marketing tool” and have used the sign to promote Saddlers matches, new signings, events and wish England good luck.
Club looking to bring former players into the academy in coaching roles. Funds are available for Dean Keates to bring in another coach if he wishes. Dean has used some of his budget to bring in a chief scout.
Club can’t have standing in the stadium as previously been in the Championship for three consecutive years. If/when the legislation changes, the club will give supporters a choice on safe standing.