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Club Statement: AGM 2021

28 January 2022

CHAIRMAN, Leigh Pomlett, has today issued the following Statement:

On behalf of the Board of Directors I am pleased to present the Annual Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 May 2021.

After another extraordinary year blighted throughout by the Covid-19 Global Pandemic, I am pleased to be able to announce the result for the year, a profit of £13,000 (£25,000 – 2020).

Given the circumstances this is a significant achievement, although to be clear, it could not have been accomplished without Government support and the amazing backing the Club has received from Sponsors, Commercial Partners and most importantly Supporters.

Whilst we faced the unprecedented prospect of an entire season behind closed doors and the costs associated with that, our Conference & Events facilities, Commercial activities and the Sunday Market remained closed, prohibited from opening, for long periods during the year and in some cases, the whole financial year.

As a result, in order to sustain the business, the Club had to take out a Government backed Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan (CBlLS).  In addition, to protect jobs, the Club was reliant on the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough).  You will be aware that the latter was a grant but the former an interest bearing loan that will have to be repaid.  The effects of the Pandemic will be felt for many years to come.

But Government support alone would not have seen us through.  Many of our Sponsors and Commercial Partners paid for their Sponsorship Rights for the season even though the Club was unable to deliver due to nationwide restrictions.  Many effectively ‘donated’ their investment in the Club whilst others were happy to carry over their Rights into future years.  I am forever grateful to you all.

Most heart-warming of all was the contribution of Supporters and most notably Season Ticket Holders.  When we launched the Early Bird Season Ticket Campaign in February 2020 none of us had any idea of what was to come.  During the campaign, on 23 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced the first ‘Lock-down’ measures.  Still, Supporters continued to purchase their Season Tickets even though the 2019-2020 Season had been suspended, eventually to be curtailed, and the prospect of football with crowds for the 2020-2021 Season was far from certain.

When it became apparent it was unlikely they would ever get to use their Season Ticket in 2020-2021, the Club offered Supporters the option of a full refund or, if they would consider leaving their money in the Club, a ‘Compensation Package’ including amongst other things an iFollow Season Pass to watch the matches from the comfort of their own home.

Quite unbelievably, over 90% chose to take up the Compensation Package and leave their money in the Club.  This unequivocally confirmed my believe that Walsall Football Club has the best supporters in the country and I cannot thank you enough.

The groundswell of resounding support was truly humbling and it is this, above all other things, that makes me proud to be Chairman of the Club we all love.

On the pitch, unfortunately it was a tough season, not helped by the turbulence caused by the departure of Manager Darrell Clarke.  But we now look to the future with a new Football Department structure overseen by incoming Technical Director Jamie Fullarton and fronted by new Head Coach Matthew Taylor.  It is early days but I am excited by the prospect and I am sure this new-look set up will be successful given time.

The goals I set upon acquiring the Club back in 2019 remain the same.  My ambition is to climb the Leagues once again and bring Championship football back to the Banks’s Stadium but my priority is a return to League One at the earliest opportunity in the first instance.  Similarly, I still intend to reunite the Club with its Freehold before my tenure as Chairman and Owner of the Football Club Comes to an end.

As stated last year however, the enduring pandemic may mean that the timescale to achieve both of these goals will be extended.  I hope not.

Off the pitch, I have already praised the support we have received this year from all Stakeholders.  Once again, it is clear, we simply could not operate without them and I would like to offer my personal thanks to all of those organisations and individuals who have supported, and continue to support, the Club season after season.  Their contribution has been immeasurable.

In particular, I would like to thank HomeServe, Marstons, Poundland, Dains Accountants Limited, the Walsall FC Community Programme, the University of Wolverhampton, Tile Choice, SPV Group, Excel Print, Barclays Bank, Third Space Outdoor, Leamore Windows, Guardian Support, LNP Sound, RayGray Snacks, Bailey & Mackey Ltd, Experienced Energy Solutions, Hygeian Consulting Ltd and the Blue Chilli Group for their ongoing support.

I would also like to pay tribute to the Community Team who continued to deliver services within the local community where restrictions would allow.

My thanks also go out to my fellow Directors who supported the Club both financially and through their expertise throughout the year.  A very special mention also to the Staff here at the Banks’s Stadium for sticking by the Club and working incredibly hard to ensure we prevailed when faced with incredible logistical and personal challenges during these difficult and unprecedented times.

Finally, and most importantly, on behalf of everyone at Walsall Football Club I would like to say a huge thank you to ALL Supporters who continued to back the Club at a time when many have faced their own personal struggles throughout this horrific Pandemic.  It has been another tough season, both on and off the pitch, but I would like to assure you all we continue to work extremely hard to give you a team and Club to be proud of.

The full Directors’ Report and Financial Statements are available to download here

The Annual General Meeting for Shareholders will take place in the 1888 Lounge at the Banks’s Stadium at 13:00 on Monday 21st February 2021.

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