After a two year gap, due to the lockdowns and regulations placed on football through Covid, our ever popular School Partners game makes a return to The Banks’s Stadium and the return has seen local schools support the game better than ever before.
Community Programme staff have worked hard over the past six weeks to promote the ticket offer to schools, organise the tickets and deliver them in time for the game on Saturday.
Over 40 local Primaries have taken part in the scheme and a record 1644 tickets have been sold. This will see the Community Stand full of families coming to cheer on the Saddlers against Rochdale on Saturday.
Families will be able to take in the action and also use the facilities at the Stadium such as the Stadium Suite, Fan Zone and Community Hub.
We also plan to have some extra guests at the stadium interacting with supporters prior to kick off. This will include the Council Clean and Green Team who will be educating supporters on sustainability and recycling as part of a link with the scheme to see the next generation of supporters think more about the environment they grow up in.
The Match Day is co-ordinated by Paul Larvin, Manager for Education at Walsall FC.
Paul said: “It has been a long wait to be able to start organising and offering the School Partner match tickets due to Covid. We were never sure what the uptake might be for the first one back and to break our record shows the appetite for people to come back to live football.
"Our staff work hard to offer the match tickets to as many schools as is physically possible. They find time in their already busy schedules to visit over 40 primaries and it is a six week lead up to organise everything in time for the game.
"Not only have we managed to fill the Community Stand for the game on Saturday but we have also raised almost £1000 in cash back to local schools.
"The game also gives us the opportunity to involve an educational aspect. In previous years we have tied this in with National Book Week and given out free books to children. Currently, there is a huge focus on the environment and we will take the opportunity to work with our colleagues at Walsall Council to educate supporters on a clean and sustainable environment to live in.
"I am so pleased with the response from families to come to the game this week and it makes all the hard work worthwhile.”
Current Chair of Trustees, Dan Mole, added: “It’s absolutely fantastic that over 1600 youngsters and their families will be here at the Stadium on Saturday. The Community Programme Staff have worked tirelessly to achieve such numbers and we’re grateful to them, the people of the town and the schools involved for their outstanding support.
“In what will be one of the final Schools Partners Games I’m involved in as Chair before stepping down, it’s amazing that we’ve beaten all previous records. Let’s hope the bumper crowd are treated to a Saddlers win.”
A special mention goes to St Michaels School in Pelsall who sold over 120 tickets and also win a signed football and 20 free tickets for the Walsall v Colchester game on 11th January.
We will also welcome one lucky winner to the Crawley Town game on 7th December to be our Community Mascot for the evening, thanks to our friends at the Free Kicks Foundation.
Since the start of the School Partner game initiative the Club have welcomed over 27000 fans to the games and has raised over £13000 for local schools in the process.
We hope everyone enjoys the game.