There was a massive development in the saga of the freehold of the Banks’s Stadium today, as the Labour Group on Walsall Council have come out in favour of the Authority taking action to secure the future of the ground.
The Press Release reads:
Walsall Labour Party is calling for urgent talks on safeguarding the home of Walsall Football Club, Bescot Stadium.
Labour councillors are urging Walsall council to meet with representatives of fans and the club to see how it can ensure the team continues to play at the 11,000 seat ground built in 1990.
The call comes after the ground’s owner, multi-millionaire Jeff Bonser, announced he had put the stadium on the open market, leading to pleas by prominent fans for the council to step in and help secure its future.
That plea was rejected by Conservative council leader Cllr Mike Bird who said the authority could not step in.
Labour Group leader, Cllr Tim Oliver, said in the present economic situation the council buying the stadium might prove to be unrealistic that didn’t stop the authority using its expertise to find other ways to secure the future of Bescot.
“This out of hand rejection of a role for the council in the club’s future is short sighted, to say the least. “
“The club has a fantastic reputation within football as a well run, family friendly team which projects a positive image for the borough nationally.
“It and the stadium is a real asset to Walsall bringing in visitors and business not only on match days but also in its other activities such as conferences and leisure events. In addition it has made an important contribution to the borough by supporting numerous sporting events aimed at youngsters.”
He added: “The authority does have the skills and expertise to look at other possibilities which would open the door to the team continuing to play at Bescot. We understand that around twenty other local councils around the country have come to such arrangements for the benefit of their communities.
“It would be wrong of Walsall council to refuse to help secure the Saddlers’ future so we are calling for all parties on the council to support urgent talks with the club, fans and Mr Bonser to see how we can help save the Walsall FC’s home.”
26 Councillors down and just 5 to go!