Walsall Football Club Supporters Working Party Meeting. Held in the 1888 Lounge at the Banks’s Stadium, Monday 2nd December 2019 15:00.
Present: Stefan Gamble (SG) – Walsall Football Club
Ray Dale (RD) - Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust
Ian Buckingham (IB) – Walsall Football Club Disabled Supporters Association
Dave Beckett (DB) – Independent Saddlers Supporters Association
Chris Saunders (CS) - Walsall Supporters for Change
Apologies: Daniel Mole (DM) – Walsall Football Club
Walsall Football Supporters Club (The Saddlers Club)
Minutes: Nick Adshead (NA)
SG starting the meeting by thanking everyone for attending.
- Matters arising from last meeting
It was noted that CS had forwarded the results from the WSFC survey on Safe Standing to DM. RD and DB advised that their organisations have Committee Meetings coming up where the matter will be discussed and will feedback at the next meeting.
SG said diagrams of the disabled Parking Spaces/Plans have been uploaded onto the Club Website to make the information more accessible and easier for fans to understand.
Discussion took place around queues and plastic glasses being used at the bars in the Stadium Suite. DB advised that feedback given to him on Saturday was that beer was flat again on Saturday in the plastic glasses. DB also advised there were queues again. CS advised that the queues did seem to move quicker this week. DB also referred to food served in the Lower Tier kiosks being cold. SG said that he would take the matter back to the new Bars & Kiosks Manager as well at the Head of Conference and Events.
- Update from Walsall Football Supporters Club (The Saddlers Club)
In the absence of any representative of the Saddlers Club, no update was available.
- Update from Walsall Supporters Trust
RD advised that the Former Players game is now confirmed for the Plymouth Argyle fixture on 10th April 2020.
RD asked if the Club can push on social the Food/Toy Collection that they have in place for the Macclesfield Town fixture on 14th December. SG agreed the Club would do this.
RD confirmed contact has been made with the Community Programme regarding a player joining them when they make the delivery to the Food Bank. SG said that the Club would support this as long as it fits in with Training Schedule.
RD advised a new Player of the Year Shield has been purchased and asked if the Club could locate the Young Player of the Year Trophy. SG confirmed the Club would do this and pass it on to the Trust.
RD advised that the Calendar produced has almost sold out.
RD advised that a 40-year reunion will be taking place the night before the Legends Game (9th April 2020) and thanked Conference & Events Sales Manager Adam Brearley for his help and asked if the Club would help with Hotels. SG asked if details could be sent through the Club would look at this.
- Update from Walsall FC Disabled Supporters Association
IB advised that they met with DSLO Laura Greenhouse (LG) on Wednesday 6th November 2019.
IB advised following the Cambridge United game where the Guide Dogs were in the Stadium Suite before the game, 14 new members have joined the DSA. The DSA now has approximately 70 members.
IB said that a copy of the questionnaire has been passed to LG and will be put on Survey Monkey soon and asked for the Club to help advertise.
IB said that during his meeting with LG a Sensory Room was discussed. Discussions took place as to whether the room could be a Multi-use Room.
IB advised that the Level Playing Field Week of Action game will be on Saturday 7th March 2020 against Exeter City.
IB advised that the DSA will be doing a Fundraising event in February or March of which details are to be confirmed. SG confirmed that the Club will donate a raffle/auction prize and help promote the event.
IB said that the availability of ponchos for the Disabled Supporters is proving to be an issue as Stewards are not aware of where they are kept. IB will be raising this with Laura Greenhouse at their next meeting.
- Update from Independent Saddlers Supporters Association (ISSA)
DB advised that ISSA’s pledge of £200,000 was (£2,000 x 100 supporters) and not as minute last time (I.e. £1,000 x 200 supporters). DB advised that the formal proposal is being worked on and will be sent to SG and Chairman Leigh Pomlett for consideration once complete.
DB advised that the Chris Nicholl Evening raised £3,048. The money will be held separately for Chris Nicholl to be used to facilitate his care/pastimes as and when required.
DB advised that ISSA are looking further into a Charity Match in May 2020, possibly on Spring Bank Holiday Weekend with a number of former players involved.
DB advised that ISSA are preparing Christmas Bags for our older generation of supporters to hand out at the Macclesfield Town game on 14th December 2019 and asked if a table can be available outside the entrance from 2pm. In addition to this ISSA also have 100 selection boxes which will be given to Swifty to hand out to children. SG asked if details of this can be sent to DM to confirm the logistical arrangements for the game. It was agreed that 3 Red Zone Car Parking Spaces will be allocated to ISSA to assist with this.
- Update from Walsall Supporters for Change (WSFC)
CS asked if the Club Shop had made contact with the merchandise company Rob Harvey had sent details about. It was agreed that this would be chased up.
CS advised that further details of a Testimonial Game for Tom Bradley are being looked into and will update further at the next meeting.
CS advised that Simon Mobey is making contact with Shrewsbury Town around Safe Standing to see how their Crowd Funding happened.
CS then asked whether consideration could be given to a Fan Zone. SG pointed out that the Family Fan zone was up and running and asked if ideas and examples what else supporters wanted and if could be sent to the Club so it can be looked into.
- Club Update
SG advised that the £5 a ticket promotion for the Cambridge United fixture on 16th November saw a crowd of 5,500 with nearly 5,000 Walsall supporters. The Stevenage fixture was the Schools Partner game which saw an additional 800 supporters on the gate in the St Francis Group Stand.
The Bescot Bar project has now been approved and work is likely to start in January due to external circumstances beyond the control of the Club.
The Ray Parlour and Alan Brazil Sporting Dinner last week was a success with fundraising of over £3,000 raised, which will be split 50/50 between Acorns Hospice and the Club’s Academy.
SG confirmed that ongoing discussions with Darrell are taking place regarding the January transfer to try and improve the squad.
The Club are looking to launch and promote new Events Evenings in the near future with An Evening with Mick Kearns and a Sporting Dinner with Stuart Pearce in the pipeline for early 2020.
SG advised the restructure of the Football Club is a continuous process with changes to the reporting process in place. The aim of this is to help improve the match experience.
- Any Other Business
A discussion took place regarding next season’s kit and whether or not supporters would like to see the Club revert to a White Home Kit rather than a Red Home kit? DB gave feedback from ISSA members on kits for 2020/2021 Season with 90% in favour of a White Home Shirt. SG asked for WFCST, WFCDSA and WSFC could chase up their feedback on the matter.
DB advised that ISSA have been approached and offered Shares in The Walsall Football Club Limited. SG clarified the transfer process and DB will liaise with SG to ratify the transfer in due course.
DATE FOR NEXT MEETING MONDAY 6th JANUARY 2020 AT 15:00.
The meeting closed at 16.10.