Newspaper Article


#21

I hate our club more by the day.


#22

‘New net at state of the art training ground unveiled’


#23

‘Fan’s emotional connection with the club ‘increasing more by the day’’

:grin:


#24

This could backfire massively for the club. They simply won’t be able to manipulate a national newspaper into playing down a story in the same way they can with the local media. Is it possible to provide the journalist with a set of pertinent questions to ask before he attends this meeting?

The club’s whole approach to this again just stinks of arrogance and contempt.


#25

You’re right, Tom, but from a distance who could tell who is telling the truth? If the club are in plausible mode (well run, appointments to please the fans, sprinklers on the training pitch) who would know any differently?

Compare that to the usual ‘disenchanted fans, online whingers, don’t live in walsall’ line spouted, and it becomes murkier.


#26

I don’t see much wrong here. As the subject of the article, the club should have been asked for comment. If you go based off our fans (especially those at the focus meeting asking about Antiques Roadshow and XXXXXL shirts) you’d basically be printing ‘Walsall Fans Have Your Say’ in a national paper.
I don’t expect impartial views from fan sites but I do from news outlets.


#27

This is fantastic.

You can only imagine Dan Mole must be absolutely livid :joy:

it’s about time the club were called out and embarrassed for this shambles.


#28

That’s a bit naive if you don’t mind me saying.:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


#29

Nothing wrong with the club being asked for comment, but the press office should be able to articulate a response within the same day to the journalist to what were I imagine relatively straightforward questions. Inviting them to the club to discuss further is just the exact same strategy they’ve used to placate supporters time and time again. Hopefully, this national newspaper don’t have the wool pulled over their eyes! (Not a dig at WSC, who I genuinely believe can be the catalyst for change!)


#30

Yeah, probably should have put ‘hope for’.


#31

If this is a national newspaper journalist then its kind of unlikely he’ll get the ‘wool pulled over his eyes’ like the local DJ from WM.
If said journalist feels it appropriate to give the club more time to collect info/data in a prepared response, then its his call. It’s not the same as censorship or ‘stepping in’ in my view.

If the article was what you wanted it to be in the first place from the type of person you wanted writing it, then you shouldn’t worry about the club showing their side.


#32

Why couldn’t they just provide the data/answers to the questions though? That is how any other open and transparent press office would and should operate. I would imagine that they think if they can postpone the story for as long as possible then the journalist might lose interest in the story or another news cycle might come around. To be fair it’s not a bad method… If WSC hadn’t been tipped off about it!

It’s quite clear that the strategy from the top to deal with any unrest about the operational side of the club is to just try and organise a ‘meeting’, whether it’s in response to supporter or media questions, to show how ‘well-run’ we are and how brilliant it is that we make a profit each season. The problem is that only works so many times and it’s starting to wear very thin.


#33

I think it’s important to note that Rob’s meeting with the club has come about as a result of the personal dialogue he has made with Stefan Gamble, though the initial letters did represent views shared on this message board.

Although the forthcoming meeting takes place at the suggestion of the club, it will be used as an opportunity to further discuss the initial issues raised but also introduce Dan and Stefan formally to WSFC as an organisation - intentions, mission etc.

To suggest this is another supporter movement being bundled into the board room is far from the mark.


#34

Because this is a journalist who is paid to produce articles, hes not going to ‘get tired’ when hes produced work that his salary depends on.


#35

Perhaps JB will threaten to ban the national newspaper in question from reporting on games from the Banks’s.


#36

Like I said, as it’s a national newspaper I’m hopeful that’s the case and he continues to pursue it. I think it’s clear though that the strategy is to placate and try to brush under the carpet.


#37

Dear Investigating Journalist

In addition to the items you are already aware of from a Walsall Fans perspective you might also like to read some background on the long term style of operation and management in place as identified in the recent independent Report “Price of Football”.
It clearly indicates the heavy hand of penny pinching control from the Chairman over the years that has led to a continued high level of frustration (and stay away) from the fan base.
You should be aware that the current CEO continues to state publicly that the short term goal is promotion to the Championship. A claim that is completely unrealistic and a joke that this Report clearly indicates.
The Report also clearly shows that the overall operation of the Football club and other related activities is managed solely for the benefit of the Chairman and Directors and little else.

October 2018

Independent Report Price of Football - Extracts below:

Walsall FC

Walsall have just published their financial results, the first for a League One club for 2017/18, and, just as they have done for the previous five years, they’ve made a profit and kept their status in that division for the eleventh consecutive year.

That seems to be enough to satisfy the ambitions of the club owner, Jeff Bonser, though some fans seem to be fed up with his control of the club, and the way he extracts money from it through owning the stadium.

Income: £5,853,000 (down 12%)

Wages: £3,376,000 million (down 0.3%)

Sustainable operating profit £63,000 (down 89%)

Wages to income 58% (up from 51%)

Player sales £110,000 (purchases of £179,000 in 2016/17)

Borrowings £2,038,000 (down £289,000)

Most clubs show three types of income in their accounts, but somewhat frustratingly Walsall only show two, by combining broadcasting and commercial streams.

Footballs main costs are in relation to players, and here Walsall continue to keep tight control.

The total wage bill, including pensions and national insurance costs, was 0.3% lower than the previous season, despite the club employing eight more staff., The reason for the slight fall is likely to be linked to a 19th place finish in League One, compared to 14th the previous season, and so player win bonuses would be lower.

The club clearly have a tight wage budget set each year, but the wage to income ratio increased from 53% to 58%, meaning that the club was paying out £58 in wages for every £100 of income that was generated in 2017/18. This compares to an average of 100% for clubs in the Championship.

The increase in staff numbers meant that the average annual salary of someone at Walsall fell by 6% to £24,824. Players and management are clearly likely to be on higher than this average figure, and we estimate they earned about £90,000 (£1,730 per week) which puts the club at the lower end of the division of those clubs who report wage totals and may explain why they have infrequently challenged for promotion to the Championship in recent years.

Director pay at Walsall fell by 9% but was still £175,000

One figure that irks some Walsall fans is the rent paid by the club, as it does not own the Bescot Stadium. For the last couple of seasons Walsall have paid £449,000 a year to Suffolk Life, owner Jeff Bonser for rent for the stadium, training facilities and car park. Whilst the rent was frozen compared to 2017, it had risen significantly in prior years.

It does seem that whilst Walsall are one of the lowest wage payers in the division, they are one of the most generous tenants to their landlord.

Profits are income less costs. Walsall seem to be able to break even each year, just. This could be manipulated by the directors’ tweaking their pay to ensure the club finishes in the black each season.

Walsall paid £50,000 in interest costs in 2018, of which £23,000 was on loans from directors. This means that directors made a total of £656,000 from the club in 2017/18 (Rent £459,000, pay £175,000 and interest £22,000).

The employees who have perhaps done most well from the club are the directors, whose pay has increased from £106,000 to £192,000 over the five years of our analysis.

The club is therefore committed to paying about another £5m in rent for land at the stadium until the next review.

It therefore appears that the board are generating money from the club directly and indirectly in three areas, fees (£192k), rent (£440k) and interest on loans (not too clear but at least £6k).

In relation to the sale of players, the issue is muddied by the way the club appears to have dealt with the issue. Normally, when a club makes a disposal, it is shown separately on the profit and loss account, as the club is not in the actual business of selling players.

What Walsall appear to have done is fold in the profit on player sales within their ‘football and commercial income’ heading. That’s at best reducing transparency, we think it’s a shabby way to deal with the subject, and inconsistent with what we believe is best business practice.

Summary

Clubs are a part of the community, and the community have a moral right to know about how the club is financed.

The methods used to extract money from the club by some (Directors) who are responsible for its long term welfare, and the way that some figures (such as player disposals) are not disclosed (are a negative from an independent perspective).

This is harsh on those who travel the length and breadth of the country watching the team play every week.

Fans invest more than money into their clubs, and have a degree of moral and emotional right to know the extent to which the club has benefited from player trading.


#38

How dare you mention morals and our board in the same post - wash you mouth out with a cold Balti pie and then go and sit in the dungeon otherwise known as the lower tier bogs…


#39

Want me to forward this?


#40

As others on this thread have already said, it’s not only the day to day issues that matter to all of us, it is the big picture of Ownership that goes to the heart of the problem at the Club.
This independent and to the point analysis of the Club and the style of the Ownership looking after Number One is the key that outsiders need to recognise.
So please forward it if it doesn’t damage your relationship and the goals of WSC going forward.