Walsall Football Club Supporters Working Party Meeting. Held via Zoom on Monday 6th September 2021, 1pm.
Daniel Mole (DM) – Walsall Football Club
Stefan Gamble (SG) – Walsall Football Club
Graham Whittaker (GW) – Walsall Football Club Supporter Liaison Officer
Dave Beckett (DB) – Independent Saddlers Supporters Association
Ray Dale (RD) – Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust
Ian Buckingham (IB) – Walsall Football Club Disabled Supporters Association
Minutes: Sam Hadwen (SH)
DM and SG began by thanking everyone for attending the meeting.
SG began by stating that since the Forest Green Rovers game we have made positives strides to rectifying the issues that were raised from supporters but stated that there are some areas we need to tidy up on e.g. the new EPOS system, turnstile access system. DM added to this by apologising for the issues experienced against Forest Green Rovers. He explained that some of the issues were absolutely internal club issues that needed to be, and have been, resolved. However, some of the issues around staffing in particular are industry wide. The hospitality industry has taken a big hit as a result of the pandemic and whilst we have been affected on this front, we are doing all we can behind the scenes to manage this sector as best as we can. The C&E Department have recruited a new bar & operations manager in recent weeks and we are working hard to increase the matchday staff available to the club which pre pandemic sat at over 130 and post pandemic was reduced to 30.
Update from Walsall Football Club Supporter Liaison Officer:
GW touched upon the issues that supporters experienced during the Forest Green game but mentioned that he has received a number of positive emails on the way the issues have been dealt with and said that no further issues have been raised since this game.
GW then touched upon the publishing of the minutes as some fans raised concerns of the delay of the previous notes and asked if we could set deadlines moving forward so that it minimises any potential delays. SG stated that the minutes are usually typed up and circulated within 24 hours of the meeting taking place and then passed onto the supporters groups for their approval but he and DM are more than happy to work on a deadline for these moving forward.
Update from Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust:
RD began by saying that he and his wife were pleased to see the Savoy Lounge reinstated to members from the Stevenage game and praised the club for facilitating this.
RD then had a couple of queries and started with the booking fees for tickets and asked if this has been looked into since the last meeting. SG said that this is currently being looked at with TicketMaster and stated that he will feed back at the next meeting on this matter as we currently don’t have a definitive answer.
RD then touched upon the poppy appeal which traditionally takes place outside the stadium and asked how the club’s feeling is with that taking place in November with Covid protocols, restrictions etc. SG and DM don’t see any issues with this taking place, with DM adding that we usually work with the British Legion on this and advised those who want to contribute/volunteer to contact them directly.
RD then asked about the toy collection for Christmas and DM stated that with any form of appearances now we will filter this through the Walsall FC Community Programme and this will need to be risk assessed by WFCCP and the venue that they are looking to visit e.g. the Manor Hospital. DM added that as things stand it would be a reduced selection of players but is more than happy for the Trust to hold the toy appeal at the stadium and advised RD to liaise with the Comms team at the club in due course. RD then touched upon the food bank collection which usually falls at a similar time and the former players’ day and DM reiterated that as a club we are happy to support any such initiatives as we always have done over the years. In regards to the former players’ day, this is traditionally a club event and DM said that if all groups work together and compile a list as to who will be attending, the club will then organise accordingly.
Update from Independent Saddlers Supporters Association:
DB touched upon the issues that supporters experienced for the first home league game of the season and stated that he saw no issues from the following game and praised the club for rectifying these problems.
DB mentioned that since the last meeting, the group have been working on the construction of the new stand at the Railway Club which is nearing completion bar the roof installation and addition of seats which will be concluded next week.
DB then touched upon the ’90 minutes from Europe’ event which he and the group are working on and stated that he will tie this in with the club at the appropriate time as to what it can be in aid of.
SG touched upon the meeting which ISSA had with both Chairman Leigh Pomlett (LP) and GW and DB stated that it was a productive meeting and thanked both LP and GW for attending. GW added that he enjoyed the evening and that there were many topics that were discussed, one being the matchday experience. GW went on to say that he has emailed the supporters groups to get their thoughts on how they believe the experience could be better moving forward.
DB concluded by singing his praise to the players for the second half performance against Bradford City last Saturday and asked if this message could be relayed to the squad. SG agreed to this and echoed DB’s comments and said that the team worked tirelessly to ensure we come back to the Midlands with a point on the road under the circumstances.
Update from Walsall Football Club Disabled Supporters Association:
IB mentioned that there are some funds available from the DSA front and asked who the best person would be to contact from the WFCCP for the purpose of getting some disabled supporters into the ground at the group’s expense. DM responded and recommended IB to contact Marc Wilkes (MW) on this matter via firstname.lastname@example.org who can assist on this query further.
SG touched upon the issues that were raised in regards to disabled supporters at the Forest Green and asked IB if any issues remained outstanding. IB said from his understanding there are no outstanding issues but asked if all the disabled car park passes have now been distributed to supporters.
SG said that all passes have been distributed and these are numbered to the relevant space on the car park, which should therefore mean that everyone is parked in the right area. SG mentioned that should there be any issues from IB’s perspective when the next match comes around, he should raise them through GW and ourselves so we can deal with them accordingly.
The meeting closed at 13:30.
Next meeting to be held on Monday 4th October.