Walsall Football Club Supporters Working Party Meeting. Held at the Banks’s Stadium and via Zoom on Monday 1st November 2021, 10am.
Leigh Pomlett (LP) – Walsall Football Club
Graham Whittaker (GW) – Walsall Football Club Supporter Liaison Officer
Dave Beckett (DB) – Independent Saddlers Supporters Association
Brian Adshead (BA) – Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust
Ian Buckingham (IB) – Walsall Football Club Disabled Supporters Association
Minutes: Sam Hadwen (SH)
LP and GW thanked those for attending the meeting via the stadium and on Zoom.
LP began by stating how pleased he has been with recent results and performances, where we remained unbeaten in all competitions during October. LP said he is happy with how the squad has come together and is hoping this run of form can continue on Saturday when we face King’s Lynn Town in the first round of the FA Cup and also in the coming weeks providing we don’t get any injuries or a Covid outbreak in the squad.
Off the pitch, LP said that we have solved most of the operational issues which have occurred in recent times and said that we have 70 new employed staff whose duty is to make sure the matchday experience for supporters runs smoothly. The Conference & Events sector of the business is picking back up week by week and we have sold over 2,000 covers already for the Christmas period, something LP is pleased with considering the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic is still around.
LP touched upon upcoming events at the stadium including the Millennium evening on Friday 19th November (one which he is attending) as well as the Fans Forum evening next Monday (8th). LP said that the podium will consist of himself, GW, Head Coach Matt Taylor (MT), CEO Stefan Gamble (SG) and Technical Director Jamie Fullarton (JF) and he is expecting a good turnout for this and will provide updates on the club amongst much more e.g. the freehold.
Update from Walsall Football Club Supporter Liaison Officer:
GW began by touching upon some queries from the previous meeting and began with the Poppy Appeal. GW mentioned that this has been arranged to take place on Saturday 13th November when we welcome Harrogate Town and all the co-coordination from a Trust point of view is arranged on their end too, from his understanding. BA believes this to be the case and mentioned that he will follow this up with Ray Dale (RD) now that everything for this has been approved.
GW then mentioned the Toy Appeal and said that this has also been arranged to take place, with Saturday 11th December being the set date when we welcome Colchester United. GW mentioned that talks were ongoing in regards to a memorial service on the stadium premises for those that we have lost. BA added to this and said that any food parcels gifts on this day will be gifted to the Thomas project in Aldridge. In regards to the memorial service, BA added that Helen Thorpe-Wood is liaising with Club Chaplin Rev.Lance Blackwood on this.
GW added that the club are working with the DSA and a new ramp is being fitted for wheelchair access as well as new grab rails in the toilet areas. Allocated stewards are also being put in place in each stand for anyone with a disability for them to go to if required.
GW mentioned that there are still a few teething issues with queues in the bars but added that the recent re-introduction of the pop-up bar in the Stadium Suite has helped resolve this somewhat.
Update from Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust:
BA said that the Trust is carrying out a Membership Recruitment Campaign at present with the Supporters Travel Section. Leaflets were distributed on the coach to a recent match and are being displayed at venues such as supermarkets away from the football club which will hopefully attract more people to matches as well as new members.
BA added that the Trust are aware of issues with the previous administration, but with the assistance of the FSA are working hard to get things right and improve relationships moving forward."
Update from Independent Saddlers Supporters Association:
DB began by asking about Saturday’s game and whether the loan players are allowed to feature. LP said all loan players are able to feature in the squad for Saturday’s game after speaking with their parent clubs.
DB mentioned that the uptake for away coaches has risen and that everyone is content with how things are. DB went on to say that a number of supporters who haven’t attended for a number of years have started to return on the away coaches and via the services they provide at the Railway Club and thus asked if there are any plans for a half-season ticket campaign. LP responded and said this is being looked at behind the scenes and that there will be one in place and publicised when available.
DB touched upon the new stand that has been built down at the Railway Club and said that they plan to officially unveil it in March, with some well-known Walsall FC legends facing a West Midlands all-star team, including Chris Nicholl and his family as the arena is named after him. DB added that ISSA will be donating some funds raised from the event to Chris’ care.
DB also mentioned the ’90 minutes from Europe’ event which he and his members are looking to organise and stated that he will tie in with Dan Mole (DM) and the club to raise funds for whatever we feel it could be used for, as mentioned in previous meetings.
DB mentioned that a royalty payment is coming to the club today on the back of various things from the 1888 store.
The meeting closed at 10:25am.
Next meeting to be held on Monday 6th December.