Walsall Co-Chairman Ben Boycott has provided the following update to supporters following the closure of the summer transfer window.
First, I'd like to thank you for your outstanding support for Michael and the lads so far this season. We will have (and already have had!) exciting and challenging moments this season, but through all of that; we are all in this together - team, staff, and town.
You obviously get to see the work that is put in on the pitch each week. There is also a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes that you do not see. With the conclusion of the 2022 summer transfer window, I wanted to provide an update on behalf of myself, Leigh, and the rest of the board.
From the very first time I spoke publicly at WFC, I've shared that our goal is for steady, incremental improvements. We have big ambitions for this club, but we are realistic enough to know that our ambitions will not be realised overnight. Our aim as the 22-23 season goes on, is that you see these steady improvements in the stadium, in the matchday experience, in how the club is run, and on the pitch.
We are for you. We are determined that this club be something on and off the pitch that this whole town can be proud of. I've told you that we believe in intelligent, long-term building with a focus on financial sustainability, and that we believe that promotion out of this league is built and earned, rather than bought. We take the 22-23 season very seriously, while also taking the next 20 years of this club very seriously, and those two things must be balanced thoughtfully.
With those thoughts, we have approached the summer transfer window, and done so with an increased player wage budget. Our focus has been on supporting Michael Flynn, and I'd like to publicly reaffirm my belief and support for him and for this group of players.
I've gotten to know Michael well, and I believe he is the man for this club. We want to support a strong campaign in 22-23, and we also want to start building the pieces of a longer-term plan to advance the club. He has done an outstanding job in this window and has worked extremely hard, night and day.
In all, we have seen 17 total new signings, with two more signings likely on the way who are unattached players; which will bring the total to 19. We have also seen a number of players go out on transfer or loan.
Frankly, this represents a near complete rebuild of the club. These signings have included the introductions of very experienced players like Andy Williams and Peter Clarke to anchor the team and the locker room.
They have also included multi-year signings with young new faces, who will be important pieces of this club going forward, and who are already making a significant impact through their play - I'd mention Tom Knowles and Owen Evans as key examples. We've also done business in the loan market to shore up 22-23 as we build, and have gotten outstanding performances from the likes of loanees Danny Johnson and Liam Bennett.
Finally, we have invested in our future by signing exciting long-term prospect Ronan Maher to a multi-year deal.
I am proud of what Michael and the front-office team have accomplished in concluding all of this business. At the same time, this work has not come without challenges! We had hoped to sign another attacking player, and had a deal agreed in principle with another club and with the player to the extent the paperwork had all been drafted, only to see all of this hard work lost in the final few hours, as the player opted to go to a League One opportunity which arose late in the day on Thursday.
Throughout all of this, our team has maintained a strong optimism about both this campaign and the years to come. We are truly all in this together. And while all this is going on, important progress is being made through additional investments in the Walsall FC Foundation, potential improvements to the training ground, additional investments in the stadium and matchday experience, as well as the larger property projects of re-opening the Saddlers Club and, most importantly, the Club acquiring Poundland Bescot Stadium.
We come from a hard-working town, and we will be a hard-working team and staff. Every single one of us will work tirelessly together for this town, and we believe that the squad will grind out results while we continue to allow our excellent medical staff to guide us through an unprecedented number of long-term injuries to key players.
Each time one of these injured players comes back, we will be strengthened, and we believe that with the additions we have made, we will be looking at a very strong squad come Christmas.
We are all in this together, through the good moments and the difficult, and I personally am very confident that we are building steadily to the brightest chapter in this club's history.
-Ben Boycott, Co-Chair