Following today’s meeting, I felt it was worth providing an insight into what was discussed. Minutes were taken, and Walsall FC will be forwarding these to me to accept and confirm (with any amendments to be made by me).
Attended for WSFC - Myself, Chris (he’s on here somewhere and runs a business), and Darren Young (works for the Fan Experience Company and very closely with the EFL)
Attended for Walsall FC - Daniel Mole, Stefan Gamble, Daniel Clarke, and one other (apologies I forgot the name) to take down minutes.
We forwarded on our agenda, and compiled a list of questions for the club, which were discussed at a meeting lasting in the region of 90 minutes. At this point I can’t go into too much detail until everything is signed off as being accurate but I can give you the following:
This was just a first step in moving forward with the whole overall process, and it was beneficial to sit down with DM and SG to discuss things properly. It would be of benefit to split things into two areas – one being the ‘Matchday Experience’; the other being ‘The Owner and Ownership of the Ground’. DM and SG are open to suggestions and if we can ensure that everything is being sent to them in a structured, uniformed manner it will help us gain credibility and a relationship whereby we can improve things moving forward. Having the JB / Ownership aspect as a separate entity within WSFC will allow more focus on what we need to do. Essentially it would be sectioned into short-term and long-term in simple terms. Tickets – Under 21’s has been introduced instead of a student ticket Under 21’s tickets will be part of the matchday pricing Matchday prices haven’t been released to the public yet, but I can confirm there is a better pricing strategy for junior / under 21 tickets around the ground. Not sure on adult prices yet, but on the whole should be a positive. There will be no Category A or Category B games next season (the club reserve the right to change this should we ever end up back in the Championship, or numerous large teams on the scale of Leeds, for example, end up in League One). Jeff Bonser – Has not discussed an exit plan with anyone at the club. SG and DM stress that the club would continue to operate when JB leaves, in whatever manner that happens. Lease on the ground still has 76 years left, with the option for an additional 25 at the end of that. There are numerous other directors who would be willing to run the club in the current way should the need arise. JB is happy to speak to interested parties that can prove they have the club’s best interests at heart and the financial ability to back it. If people approach and are serious, he would talk. The club have NEVER appointed agents to sell. Currently around £1.5m of director loans in the club. Working Party – should we wish to explore the option of having a representative at the Working Party Meeting the club holds monthly, the club would be happy to offer us a seat on this. It is imperative that we focus on making the whole experience of visiting Walsall FC, being a fan of Walsall FC, and anything to do with Walsall FC better, regardless of results on the pitch. There is a tentative agreement that the club are open to us working with them to improve things on the ‘experience’ side of it all.
As already stated, this is merely the first step on what will undoubtedly be a long journey. I firmly believe that SG and DM would do far more for this club if they were allowed, but today showed they are happy to make changes where possible.
Feel free to ask questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them all in a timely fashion.