Archive for June, 2011

Jarvis Becomes Third Man

Neil @ 10:49 am Thursday 30 June 2011

Another player joined the new faces at the Banks’s today, with the signing of former Norwich and Orient striker, Ryan Jarvis.

Jarvis is a six foot twenty four year old and, hopefully, should be able to fulfil the target man role alongside Jon Macken.

Jarvis was a youngster of immense promise at Norwich, where he made his Premier League debut at the age of 16, but his career certainly stalled later on, despite having represented England at under 16, 17, 18 and 20 level.

He would seem to follow an emerging pattern with Dean Smith’s signings this summer, of players who may have lost their way, through injury or another reason, and with whom he feels he can work to improve them. Their ages too are all similar. If this pays off, the club could reap huge dividends.

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The Sale of the Freehold – By Steve Jenkins

Neil @ 4:41 pm Tuesday 28 June 2011

UTS has received an article from Steve Jenkins in which he says he wants to clarify the situation as far as the sale of the freehold of the Banks’s Stadium is concerned.

Mr Jenkins says that he feels that judging by the emails he has received and various conversations he has had, that there is still some confusion about what is actually happening. He, therefore, makes the following points:

1. Walsall Football Club is not for sale and will remain in private ownership.

2. Banks’s Stadium and the Land upon which it resides, is for sale.

3. All bids received by DTZ for the Stadium and Land are ‘on hold’ pending a decision by Walsall Council on the purchase of the Stadium and Land.

4. Councillor Tim Oliver of the Labor Group should be recognised for his efforts in bringing the facts on the proposal to the Council members.

5. Councillor Ian Shires of the Liberal Democrat Group, we thank for attending the meeting between Mr Bonser, DTZ and the Council to obtain the facts for himself.

6. We also thank the 8 members of the Conservative Group, almost one third of the Conservative Group, for attending the same meeting.

7. The proposal will not be funded by the Taxpayers of Walsall and will provide an investment opportunity for the Town, providing a surplus income for the Council.

8. The fact that members of all the political groups attended the meeting demonstrates that this is not a political issue, but one if pursued, will benefit the whole Town.

9. Council ownership of the Stadium and Land remains the safest option at the present time, for the future of Football in Walsall.

10. Walsall supporters and the people of Walsall await a clear decision and outcome on this issue from the Council.

Finally I thank all the supporters and the Town’s people for supporting us on what we believe is a critical moment in the history of Walsall Football Club.

Sadler is Saddlers’ First Signing!

Neil @ 12:29 pm Monday 27 June 2011

Dean Smith, having waited long enough for an answer on his contract offers, made his first foray into the transfer market this morning, with the signing of former Birmingham City and Watford left back, Matt Sadler.

Sadler came up through the ranks at the Blues, making some 58 starts for them, in both the Premiership and the Championship, before moving to Watford for £750,000 in January 08. Since being there, he has made 34 starts for the Hornets and had loan spells at Stockport (2009/10) and a season long one last year at Shrewsbury after falling out of favour at his parent club.

Press Release on Council Meeting

Neil @ 4:43 pm Wednesday 22 June 2011

Much to everyone’s surprise, it wasn’t just members of the Labour Group who turned up to last night’s meeting with Jeff Bonser and others from the club. 22 Councillors were present (13 Labour, 8 Conservative and the Lib-Dem leader). Mike Bird, the Tory Group Leader, was on holiday.

Afterwards, the Labour Group issued the following statement:

The Labour Party leader on Walsall council has welcomed the ‘positive’ response from councillors of all parties on the future of Walsall football club’s home, Banks’ stadium.

Over 20 councillors met with chairman Jeff Bonser and club officials last night to discuss how the council can help safeguard the stadium which is up for sale.

The sale has lead to fears about the continued use of the stadium as Walsall ’s home ground.

Labour Party Group Leader, Cllr Tim Oliver said the discussions had been very productive.

“Previous to the meeting, Labour councillors had been criticised for raising concerns about the stadium’s future but the attitude of all the councillors present was positive, looking to see how we can help secure this important community asset.

“Clearly the leader of the council, Mike Bird, jumped the gun in dismissing any involvement with the club, as councillors from all parties welcomed the chance to discuss this issue.

“Although there was no formal vote, we believe there is now clear cross party support for more information to be made available and further discussions between the club and the council.

“Labour councillors will now request council officers prepare a financial report on the benefits and risks of supporting any purchase of the stadium, and report back their findings to all councillors with an eye to how we can safeguard the club’s future at the stadium.”

Club Meeting With Councillors Tonight

Neil @ 11:55 am Tuesday 21 June 2011

The club have confirmed that they will be meeting with Councillors tonight at the Town Hall to talk to them about the future of the the ground.

The invitation to meet with the club was sent out by the Leader of the Labour Group, Tim Oliver, but it went to all 60 Councillors.

This may well be the crunch moment for this particular strand of the freehold saga, as cross party support would be needed for any progress to be made and CEO Stefan Gamble has made that clear in a statement on the Official Site today.

If the Council fail to come up with any proposals, it would leave the way clear for one of the other bids to be successful, either that of local businessman Geoff Dance, or one of the other two reputedly made.

Focus Meeting Announced

Neil @ 10:02 am Wednesday 15 June 2011

Following the success of the last meeting, it seems that the club’s change of heart regarding Focus Meetings is continuing, as they have announced the next one.

The club will be holding the Fan’s Focus Meeting in the Swifts Lounge at the Banks’s Stadium on Monday, 4th July from 7.00pm.

Chief Executive, Stefan Gamble, Club Secretary, Daniel Mole, and member(s) of the Board of Directors will all be present.

The Supporters’ Trust has welcomed this development, as it is another example of the improved communications between the club and the fans.

Walsall Labour Group To Meet Bonser

Neil @ 3:39 pm Monday 13 June 2011

The Labour Group on Walsall Council has arranged a meeting with Jeff Bonser regarding the freehold of the ground.

Neither the leader of the Tory Group, Mike Bird, nor the Liberal leader, Ian Shires, are attending the meeting, although the Labour Group have called for all parties on the Council to participate in finding a way forward for the club.

The Labour Party Press Release reads:

Walsall Labour will go ahead with a meeting over the future of Walsall Football Club despite the local leaders of the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Party refusing to take part.

The invitation to all councillors to meet with the club and interested parties has been organised by the Labour Party to see how Walsall Council can help secure the future of Banks’ Stadium which is up for sale.

Labour Group leader Cllr Tim Oliver had called for all parties on the authority to jointly host the discussions so councillors can learn first hand the circumstances surrounding the sale.

Cllr Oliver said: “It is disappointing that both the Conservatives’ leader Mike Bird and Ian Shires for the Liberal Democrats have refused to take part.

Councillors from all parties have concerns about the club’s future and a cross party meeting with the stadium’s owner, Mr Bonser, representatives of the club and Council, and other interested parties will allow us to see how we can play a positive role in its future.

Football clubs have an important role not only as employers but also in engendering social cohesion, community pride and spirit.

So despite this setback, it is important that a meeting with no pre-conditions goes ahead and we as a group are inviting all councillors to attend so we can help safeguard the clubs’ future.

We hope that that Lib Dem and Tories accept the invitation and help develop a cross party approach.”

Steve Jenkins Issues Statement To Fans

Neil @ 10:21 pm Wednesday 08 June 2011

Steve Jenkins has sent a letter to all of the websites, addressed to the fans of Walsall football club, regarding the sale of the freehold to Bescot Stadium and the Council buying that freehold.

The letter reads:

Firstly I’d like to thank you all for your continuing support with regard to the sale of the Banks’s Stadium and Land.

So far we have conducted ourselves impeccably in our quest to inform our Council about the sale. Our continuing determination has seen Councilor Tim Oliver leader of the Labor Group, Councilor Ian Shires Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group come out publicly in support of talks with Mr. Bonser and DTZ, the selling agents.

This is all we are trying to achieve, as only when Mr. Bonser and DTZ are finally invited for talks with the Council, can the Council comment, as only then would they be equipped with the full knowledge of what is on offer.

I’m pleased to say that several people who are not regular visitors to match days at the Banks’s Stadium have contacted a lot of my friends and family in Walsall, offering complete support. They do not understand why after five weeks of campaigning the Council have not yet agreed to a meeting. They find it as unbelievable as we do.

As you know contrary to what Councilor Bird has said, there is no cost to the tax payers of Walsall but instead an opportunity for the Council to invest in a maturing asset which also brings in an annual surplus from the rental income.

As I write I read with interest today Rotherham United have been loaned 5 million pounds from the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council towards building a new Stadium, the Football Club are working to raise the further 12.3 million needed to complete the job.

Councilor Roger Stone stated, “ The new community stadium is key to the regeneration of Rotherham Town Centre, we have always supported the club and wish to have Rotherham United back playing at home.’

This is what we have always believed, the Town’s Football Club is it’s flagship, more and more Councils are forming partnerships with their Football Clubs, Walsall Stadium should remain secure and owned by the Town of Walsall.

I believe we have handled ourselves with dignity over the past few weeks I therefore felt it right and proper that the Council be given the time to prepare a meeting with Mr. Bonser and DTZ, I must thank you for your patience in allowing this to happen.
However I can assure you that I am as determined as I was five weeks ago, as the level of support increases daily and the people of Walsall are now coming behind our campaign and believe the Council should buy the Stadium and keep the Football Club alive for the next 100 years.

Our task now is to keep a watching brief on how the Council reacts in the near future. The fight must go on until such times as the Council have met with the owner and selling agent, as only this will bring a conclusion to our campaign.

There is no doubt that the Supporters Club, Walsall Trust, Unity and the people of Walsall deserve to be heard and should be applauded for their effort.

Thank You All

Steve Jenkins.

Walker Signs For Another Year

Neil @ 12:19 pm Tuesday 07 June 2011

Despite the rumours linking him with a move to Gillingham, the living legend that is Jimmy Walker has signed another one year deal at Bescot.

Walker has over 500 games for Walsall in his two spells and was one of the men instrumental in stopping the rot in defence and engineering the Great Escape last season, along with Andy Butler, already sigend up.

He said on the official site:

“I’m not getting any younger and it’s one thing I wanted to do so I’m happy. I’m looking forward to the new season now it’s all sorted and hopefully we’ll be at the right end of the table, where we want to be because it’s been a difficult season but we’re ready for the hard work and hopefully we can carry on from the success at the end of last season.

I’ve had a fantastic time at the club; I get on great with all the fans and I’ve got some great friends here. It’s a great club to be at and I just want to do well for the Club and always have done. If it is to be my last season it will be nice to finish things here but who knows. I’m not saying it is my last but you never know but it was something I wanted to do. I think the last time I left we had just been relegated and that’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in football so that wasn’t a nice thing to do. This year we’ve had the success of staying up and with Dean as manager and the rest of the staff behind him and I like to work for them and do my best for them and like we say hopefully come out with a bit of glory.”

There may be a long way to go with the rebuilding of the squad, but the signings of Butler and Walker are a very good start.

Pressure On Council Over Jenkins Plan Increases

Neil @ 3:21 pm Wednesday 01 June 2011

The pressue on the Council to act over the matter of the freehold of the Banks’s Stadium was cranked up another notch today, with the leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Council, Ian Shires, calling for talks on the matter.

The proposals have been backed by the Labour Group on the Council and rejected by Tory leader Mike Bird, but, with the Council hung, the Lib Dems hold the balance of power, after withdrawing from their formal coalition with the Tories following their electoral disaster in May.

This makes some sort of meaningful talks on the future of the club more likely than ever, with 31 of the 60 Councillors backing some sort of action.

The Supporters’ Trust has already formally welcomed this news.

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