Walsall Football Club Supporters Working Party Meeting. Held via a Zoom conference call on Monday 14th June 2021, 1pm.
Daniel Mole (DM) – Walsall Football Club
Graham Whittaker (GW) – Walsall Football Club Supporter Liaison Officer
Ray Dale (RD) – Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust
Dave Beckett (DB) – Independent Saddlers Supporters Association
Stefan Gamble (SG) – Walsall Football Club
Chris Saunders (CS) – Walsall Supporters Alliance
Ian Buckingham (IB) – Walsall Football Club Disabled Supporters Association
Minutes: Sam Hadwen (SH)
DM began by thanking everyone for attending the Zoom meeting.
DM began by giving an update about the Club to the Working Party members. Since the last WPM, Matthew Taylor (MT) has been appointed as the new Head Coach with Neil McDonald alongside him as First Team Coach
DB stated that ISSA’s view is positive and that the appointment was well received by all. DB went on to say the appointments and recent signings of late alongside the restructuring of the club shows a real statement of intent and is hopeful that it will continue in this fashion. RD also praised the appointments and signings and said these were also well received by the Supporters Trust.
DM then touched upon the playing side aspect of the club and highlighted that contract offers had been offered to both Dan Scarr (DS) and Hayden White (HW) in the last few weeks. DM stated that discussions are ongoing with HW and is hopeful that this will result in the player remaining at the club. As seen in the last week or so, DS has departed and joined Plymouth Argyle in League One and DM wished him all the best on behalf of the football club. As mentioned by both DB and RD, DM spoke about the signings that have been made in the last few days with Conor Wilkinson (CW), Manny Monthe (MM) and Joss Labadie (JL) joining the club. DM went on to say that it’s a busy week here as we aim to bring in a few more additions, which will in turn tie us in nicely with the commencement of the Season Ticket sales period.
DM then spoke on the Season Tickets campaign entitled ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ and praised the Comms team for their work and efforts in getting things prepared and is hopeful that there will be an appetite and a renewed enthusiasm with fans to purchase a Season Ticket and physically attend matches all being well in the hope of a positive campaign. DM advised that all details relating to the campaign will be publicised both before they go live for sale and throughout the campaign period. DM added to this with the recent release of the 2021/22 kits and asked the groups if there were any questions regarding the kits or Season Tickets. RD raised a query about the third shirts and asked when these will be available on sale. DM responded saying that these were available for pre-order and that the kits were due into the UK this week.
DM added that we have had record sales on this shirt and asked supporters for their understanding and patience on these arriving, with limited staff having to pick and post the shirts out.
GW then raised a question regarding the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document and asked when we can expect this to be publicised. DM responded and said that this document was circulated minutes prior to the meeting so supporters will have this within the next 24 hours.
DM then touched upon the return of supporters to stadia and mentioned that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to speak to the nation at some point today in regards to the 21st June date and proposed exit out of lockdown, something which DM believes will be pushed back given the current climate. Our first scheduled home friendly is the 17th July with two further home games after the 19th July. DM said that these haven’t been publicised at present because we want to be able to confirm the offering of a free ticket to those Season Ticket holders who kindly left their money in the club for the 2019/20 season and also because we don’t know for certain as to what numbers we can have and if any away fans can attend.
DM then turned attentions to the stadium renovation work which continues to take place and the Comms team will provide some images via social media in due course. The training ground is undergoing renovation work (both pitch and the pavilion) with the drainage issue now being resolved at a great price to the football club. All work will be concluded in time and in readiness for the return of the team for pre-season and for the start of the 2021/22 season.
DM concluded and stated that Chairman Leigh Pomlett is looking to set up a fans forum/meet the manager evening as there was a commitment for this in a previous meeting. DM stated that this will be in place before the commencement of the new season.
Update from Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust:
RD began by asking DM a question in regards to car park tickets and how members can reapply for them. DM advised RD to contact Elizabeth Champion (EC) in the Ticket Office via firstname.lastname@example.org who can confirm all details regarding this.
RD then mentioned that he has sent forward an updated timetable plan for the bus 45 service to encourage more people to use public transport where possible. DM asked RD to send the updated table over to either SH or Paul Joannou (PJ) who can then get this updated on the official website.
RD then raised a point about taking the knee ahead of next season and asked what guidance has been provided/ what the best approach is for this ahead of the new season. DM stated that we will await directive from the EFL and other stakeholders including the players.
RD concluded and asked about what is happening in regards to the Savoy Lounge. DM stated that this will be included in the FAQs document but stated that there won’t be a Savoy Lounge as such. DM added that those who have a Season Ticket in the Main Stand will have access to the Stadium Suite and there will be a walkway from within the gates under the Bonser Suite and through to the Stadium Suite. DM stated that we are also looking to have a catering village in that area. By having this, it will allow the Bonser Suite to be used specifically for hospitality only.
Update from Walsall Football Club Supporter Liaison Officer:
GW stated he has received a range of questions regarding Season Tickets which will be answered in the FAQS document as touched upon earlier and also mentioned that he has received a lot of positive feedback about the communication from the club and the latest signings and that they, alongside GW himself, are looking forward to the new season to start. DM thanked GW for these comments and reiterated that it’s been a hectic month since the last meeting and that he believes the next few weeks will follow suit before the next one.
Update from Independent Saddlers Supporters Association:
DB began and said that the Nicholl family would like to place their sincere thanks to the football club for their contributions in aid of the charity match which took place at Dales Lane, home of Rushall Olympic, on Friday 4th June. DM thanked DB for this comment and sent his best wishes to the family.
DB then touched upon the playing arena at the Railway Club which will be renamed as the Chris Nicholl playing arena and said that Forest Star kids are working there at the moment. DB mentioned that they will send some of these over to the club to get involved in our Academy/junior football sides should it be feasible to do so.
DB then had a question around the stadium going cashless and asked if this will be in place straight away, or fazed in over a set period of time. DM said we are looking to go straight cashless however he does appreciate that people still carry cash as such. DM stated that the Comms team will communicate this to supporters so that they are aware as DB also touched upon a query regarding those aged 13-14 etc who would normally carry cash and not have the facility of a bank card on them. DM stated that he will take this offline with the relevant personnel and pick up ahead of the July meeting.
DB then announced that ISSA will be renewing the sponsorships of Sam Perry and Head Coach MT for next season, something which DM thanked ISSA for.
DB then touched upon the first month’s sales as part of the licencing agreement and stated that the net profit off the sales is £1,454 with a sum to be transferred to the football club as part of the agreement that is in place.
DB then said that they now have 1,343 active members as part of ISSA and the feedback they are receiving on a whole has been positive and DB is hopeful that this will continue.
Update from Walsall Football Club Disabled Supporters Association:
Despite sending his apologies to the meeting, IB sent some questions over to the club which were passed onto GW. DM advised GW to send these questions across to EC who will then liaise with the Comms team and get these added to the FAQs document.
The meeting closed at 13:40.
Next meeting to be held on Zoom on 5th/12th July 2021.