Walsall Football Club Supporters Working Party MeetingHeld in the 1888 Lounge at the Banks’s Stadium, Monday 9th September May 2019, 15:00
Present: Stefan Gamble (SG) and Daniel Mole (DM) – Walsall Football Club
Trevor Reece (TR) - Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust
Dave Joesbury (DJ) – Independent Saddlers Supporters Association
Chris Saunders (CS) – Walsall Supporters for Change
Apologies: Walsall Football Club Disabled Supporters Association
Walsall Football Supporters Club (The Saddlers Club)
Minutes: Nick Adshead (NA)
DM starting the meeting by welcoming CS to the meeting as the representative of Walsall Supporters for Change.
CS gave an overview of Walsall Supporters for Change.
DM advised that along with SG, Roy Whalley and Mick Kearns they had represented the Club at Royston Randle’s funeral prior to the meeting and noted that his wake was being held at the Stadium.
- Matters arising from last meeting
SG advised that 451 season tickets were sold during the reopened Early Bird Offer between 6th and 10th August.
TR asked about the plans for the Freehold. SG advised that resolving this situation was one of the Chairman’s top priorities since taking over as Owner.
DM asked for Bob Thomas (Trust) to provide the information on the new trains directly to him now that Daniel Clarke has left the Club.
- Update from Walsall Football Supporters Club (The Saddlers Club)
In the absence of any representative of the Saddlers Club, no update was available.
DM and SG explained that the future of the Saddlers Club remains an item on the Agenda of the Club’s monthly Board Meetings.
- Update from Walsall Supporters Trust
TR thanked the Club for allowing the Trust to carry out a Recruitment drive at the last home match and asked if it could be done again this Saturday to which DM and SG agreed. Action for the Club to ensure table is ready in reception for 1.30pm on Saturday.
TR said that he had been asked about the additional parking spaces for Disabled Supporters. SG explained that the work has been carried out in the summer and that we now have 25 spaces on the Yellow Car Park, 5 spaces on the Red Car Park and 5 spaces on the Blue Car Park. SG advised that should a Disabled supporter require a space they need to contact Laura Greenhouse, Disability Supporter Liaison Officer.
** Action for Club to attach parking plan and protocol for Disabled Supporters to these minutes ** [LAURA WILL ASK SAM TO PRODUCE THIS ON FRIDAY 13/9]
TR then asked about Peter Hart and if he has been replaced as Club Chaplain. DM confirmed that Peter Hart has been replaced by Lance Blackwood and the Club will make an official announcement once Lance has met the players.
TR advised the Legends Game against the Supporters is on Sunday October 27th at Rushall Olympic. Gabor Bukran will be playing for the Legends.
As part of the agreement with Rushall the Trust have agreed to sponsor the match ball at the Birmingham Senior Cup fixture on 8th October.
The Trust’s Football Team recently beat Birmingham City 3-2.
TR advised that there will be 2 or 3 new members for the Trust Board, details will be confirmed after the Trust’s next Board Meeting in October.
- Update from Walsall FC Disabled Supporters Association
No update available at this meeting.
- Update from Independent Saddlers Supporters Association (ISSA)
DJ advised that current membership of the ISSA is 720, with over 900 followers on Facebook.
DJ advised that Chris Nicholl will be attending Saturday’s game as a guest of ISSA and will be going to the Railway Club to meet supporters before the game. DJ will then bring Chris to the Stadium for the match before taking him back to the home after the game. Group agreed to monitor this and, if CN was distressed, revise the plan in consultation with CN’s family.
DJ advised ISSA are holding a “Chris Nicholl” Evening at the Railway Club on 22nd November to raise money for St Peters where Chris is currently living to raise money for them to have a Christmas Party.
SG and DM agreed that the Club would provide prizes for the auction/raffle.
DJ then advised there will also be a match between Walsall and Aston Villa supporters on a date to be advised.
- Update from Walsall Supporters for Change (WSFC)
CS advised that WSFC currently has 160 members signed up online. A future drive will be made before Christmas, including offer physical sign-up at a home fixture.
CS advised as per the advice of FSF and discussion with ISSA, the original committee was founded following an appeal for volunteers. Committee Elections will take place at our AGM in June 2020, as set-out in our constitution. Date and venue will be confirmed nearer to the time.
CS asked whether there were any developments with the proposed Community Hub and re-development of the Bescot Bar. DM advised that there are some final points that the Club needed to achieve to satisfy the Grant Funding.
CS asked regarding locks not working in the Ladies Toilets on the Lower Tier of the Homeserve Stand and the size of the cubicles. DM explained that pre-game 24- and 48-hour checks take place by the Stadium Manager and no issues regarding locks not working have been picked up on these checks. DM asked CS to find out more specific information he can speak to the Stadium Manager about.
CS asked whether the Club seek feedback from Supporters on ideas of merchandise they wish to bring into the Club Shop. DM said that this was a good point and he would speak to the Retail Shop Manager.
CS then mentioned the queues are bars before the game. DM advised that the Club are aware of this concern and are looking into it. The overall staff structure for the Conference and Events team is currently being looked at and the Club is actively recruiting a new Bars Manager who would be tasked with tackling the queue issues.
- Club Update
DM advised that the Safety Nets have been installed for pre-match warm-ups behind each goal and the barriers have been put in place on the perimeter walls at each end.
The Club wish to recognise the passing of Royston Randle in an appropriate way and are discussing ideas of a memorial for him.
Following the Fans Forum, the Club have gone away and costed the introduction of “Safe Standing” at the request of Supporters. The “Safe Standing” would have to take the form of “Rail Seating”, similar to Celtic due to the fact the Banks’s Stadium is all-seater Stadium. The supporter groups were asked to speak to their groups regarding the appetite for the Club to explore further in light of the costs.
- Other Business