Held in The 1888 Lounge at the Banks’s Stadium, Monday 5th August 2019 15:00
Present: Stefan Gamble (SG) and Daniel Mole (DM) – Walsall Football Club
Trevor Reece (TR) and Bob Thomas (BT) – Walsall Football Supporters Trust
Ian Buckingham (IB) and Dave Beckett (DB) – Walsall FC Disabled Supporters Association
Dave Joesbury (DJ) and Dave Bromley (DBr) - ISSA
Apologies: Walsall Football Supporters Club (The Saddlers Club)
Minutes: Tom Heslop (TH)
- Matters arising from the last meeting:
During the last meeting – held in May 2019 - the latest copy of the Trust Accounts was produced and discussed. The minutes of the discussion infer that the Accounts had not been properly produced and even suggested that they had been manipulated.
The current meeting unanimously agreed that this had not been the intention of the previous meeting as The Trust is regulated, as are the other Supporters Organisations in attendance, and as such it’s Accounts are produced by an independent Accountant who is a professional auditor. The meeting also agreed that there had been no intended criticism of the Trust Treasurer and expressed their regret for any upset the minute may have caused.
- Update from the Club:
Update from the Club highlighted the news from the previous week, 29th July 2019, that Leigh Pomlett has taken the majority shareholding in the club and has become the new Owner and Chairman, taking over from previous owner and Chairman, Jeff Bonser.
DM - Early Bird Season Tickets would be re-introduced from 10am on August 6th with all details on the official website. It was all about getting the balance right when re-introducing the season tickets at reduced rates and everyone in the meeting agreed that the club had done the right thing.
SG stated that big changes have been made at the Club. Darrell Clarke has been appointed as First Team Manager and he has been allowed to bring in his own backroom staff. In terms of the current squad, the meeting was advised that Darrell was keen to bring in a further two new players to be added to the 14 who have already come in.
DM added that it has been the most productive summer that the club have had for a long while in terms of Player turnaround.
DM added that the Club couldn’t have done much more than they have this summer and that the Club are working on other areas at the club.
- Question raised about the Freehold being attached to the club:
SG explained that there is an Option to Purchase the Freehold. The option lapse if it wasn’t taken up within the agreed timescale. The meeting was advised that one of Leigh’s key objectives is to implement the option at some point and reunite the Freehold with the Company.
TR, BT, DB, IB, DJ and DBr stated all supporters groups are willing to help in any way they can. DM asked groups to look at ways in which this gesture can become a reality.
- Question asked whether the Club receive money from the big screen and the Bescot Market:
SG replied that the club have always received the money generated from the Market and from the big sign on the M6.
- Question asked on whether the Club was still in debt to Jeff Bonser following the takeover:
SG confirmed Jeff Bonser is no longer owed any money, all loans have been replaced. SG does state that there are still debts owed to other Directors.
- Question raised about the Saddlers Club:
SG replied that it isn’t a priority at this stage give everything else that it currently going on at the Club but it does remain a constant item on the Agenda at Executive Board Meetings. SG noted that the Club needs a six-figure sum spending on it to be able it to re-open. No shortlist has been made as to what to do with the Saddlers Club and what it could be used for. Question also asked as to whether something like a pop-up shop could go into the Saddlers Club, it could be a possibility. SG also states that planning permission is in place for the Saddlers Club to have its own access off the road.
- ISSA raised points about getting more fans to games and their on-going fundraising efforts:
Fun day that took place did really well. Tickets for the Grimsby game to be donated by the club. ISSA state they want to get fans back to games and state they have three minibuses that are available for use on a Saturday. Offered to locate them around the town to get more people into the ground. Asked about the possibility of having family tickets to run in conjunction with the trips.
ISSA agree to sponsor the First Team Manager for the 2019/20 season. They want to target even more young people than the club do already. Money is available to put into the Club from all the groups for the young fans.
Fun day raised £1,400 which will be presented pitch side.
- Update from the DSA and concerns raised about the Northampton game:
One issue raised about the Northampton game. Stewarding and policing was poor in IB’s opinion and wheelchair users had to move. Attitudes towards wheelchair users at away games by our own supporters need to be looked at. Stewards did nothing about the issues at the game. One steward was allegedly assaulted by a Walsall fan, this is to be looked at. DM advised IB to write his complaint direct to Northampton and report back at next meeting. Banning orders can be placed if the club see fit for poor behaviour. If a banning order isn’t placed, then a warning will be followed by a football banning order.
IB (DSA), 64 members, no increase from the last meeting. DSA set for a committee meeting in August.
DSA were disappointed in the behaviour on Saturday against Northampton but just from a small group of supporters.
- Other issues raised
SG noted that Walsall Football Supporters Club Travel Section are still doing a fantastic job providing transport for Supporters going to away games. On a sombre note the Group spoke of their sadness to hear of Royston Randle’s ill health and wished him a speedy recovery.
SG also wanted to place on record the Club’s thanks to the Travel Section who made a profit of £4,000 was made last year and this has been donated to the Club. This will be spent on equipment for the Club’s Academy.
The Club’s Supporter Liaison Officer, Daniel Clarke, to liaise with Bob Thomas on train details and to look into the new trains that are being brought in to target surrounding areas. BT to email DC.
Walsall Supporters for Change (WSFC) – Organisation formed in 2018. Previously representatives from WSFC sat down with SG & DM saying they want to represent fans. They were told they needed to be affiliated to a suitable regulatory body such as FSF or SD, to have a documented constitution and an elected board.
All of the above has been put in place and it was put to a vote that they can come to the next meeting, the vote was passed unanimously. DM/SG wholeheartedly support WSFC joining the meeting.
Moving forward, one representative from each group to be at the meetings and each group are to let the club know the Thursday before the Monday meeting who will be attending so everyone can prepare adequately for the meeting.
Next meeting to be held 09/09/2019.
Meeting closed at 16:15.