Ownership technical question

#1

Right, bear with as this goes back a bit.

When the cover companies went into receivership and uncle Jeff took control/saved the club/feathered his nest/cynically duped the fans (delete to suit), can anyone shed any light on this…

Jeff bought the land, and the leasehold interest in the stadium, via his pension fund.

Jeff bought the football club (or his 76.13%) for himself.

Walsall pay for the upkeep as leaseholders of the stadium - standard commercial arrangement

Walsall get all the income from their activities at the stadium, including the Joe Langthorn suite and matchday pies (subject to availability).

Correct? I think Jeff, or his mouthpiece of whatever day it was, has said as much.

Just wondering. If people buy nothing at the club that would kick the club, but the landlord wouldn’t give a ■■■■…

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#2

I think you’ve got one bit incorrect - when the land was bought initially, it was done so in his name, and later (around 4 years) transferred in to a pension fund in his name. Over the years that pension fund has evolved and changed - moving to Suffolk Life, and seeing the addition of his brother and the relative spouses. That’s my understanding anyway. I will dig out my documents to confirm.

Regarding commercial income - it doesn’t stack up IMO. We should be a lot more competitive than we are. We have far greater facilities than Bury, Rochdale, Accrington etc, but appear to be struggling to match them on wages etc.

Personally - knowing how ‘well’ the club is run (replace well with whatever adjective you feel necessary), I don’t think the commercial side of the business is that profitable any more. I believe once upon a time it was - but like a lot of things at the club, it’s very dated now, and there’s plenty of other clubs and businesses doing similar shows etc now, so the competition has changed, and the club hasn’t moved with the times - it’s still trying to put the same show on, with the same food, at the same price, but times have changed.

My suspicion is that the commercial elements now provide barely any uplift to the footballing side, perhaps even are loss making.

I have further doubts around the m6 advertising hoarding, which I posted around Christmas, any body willing to do research can see the figures for themselves and will see it’s not obvious that there’s been any benefit from it, which leads to other questions and suspicions.

I’ve said time and time again if you want JB gone, you have to force change, talking won’t work. We know what JB doesn’t like from his track record over the years, so that is what any protest should be squarely aimed at.

  • Correction

The land wasn’t bought personally by JB before being transferred to his pension fund. In 1995 it was bought from Severn Trent by J.W. Bonser (Walsall) Limited Small Self Administered Pension Scheme and in 2003 transferred to Suffolk Life.

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#3

Cheers. Was going to correct your purchase comments but you beat me to it.

Thank goodness Bonser was around to buy the club, the stadium lease, and the land, to totally and altruistically save the club from guaranteed extinction.

We’re really lucky he was part of the Maurice Miller consortium that totally and altruistically saved the club from oblivion after Ramsden went belly up.

And so on…

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#4

Thank goodness he didn’t lend us the money to buy the land … just think of all that debt that would have been weighing us down all these years.

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#5

Incidentally the value of the land stated in the land registry title deed is £300k.

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#6

I was under the impression that Ron Harrision gave the old supporters club in wallows lane (Orgils laundry) to us fans. So that parcel of land/building belonged to the supporters ? or was it just the building? When Morrisions brought fellows park that little corner would have had a ransom value? When the new saddlers club was built a rent was paid to WFC/ JB? and has now reverted back to them. any one remember the exact details? more missing monies?

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#7

Got a copy of that? I only have the 1995 £200k figure on good authority. The £300k is the amount on the transfer to Suffolk Life ten years after…that I know.

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#8

The supporters club demanded a separate building rather than rooms in the stand. That was the price of their freehold. £800,000 all in for their new facilities (rented).

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#9

The £300k figure is stated as the value for the 2003 transfer.

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#10

@Exile … Just wondering. If people buy nothing at the club that would kick the club, but the landlord wouldn’t give a ■■■■…

Valid point … but would a prolonged lack of football income eventually take its toll on the business as a whole ? At what point would Walsall FC become insolvent (is that the right word) and unable to operate as a business ?

At this point surely the rent isn’t able to be paid.

I know this theory puts us on the edge of oblivion but what are the choices ? Because he ain’t going anywhere.

I’ve said previously I’d happily see us go bump and have to start again.

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#11

Let’s not forget that Jeff isn’t the only beneficiary of the pension fund. It includes his brother and both their wives.

Also his brother appears to becoming more and more involved. Why?

His brother also owns shares in the club. Around 10-15%? And he’s recently been added to the board. I seem to remember the reasoning being something to do with his expertise in the commercial side?

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#12

That figure of £300,000 now makes more sense to me. I recall the article in the E&S when the freehold was secured and Whalley chirping about how it secured our future. The reason it stuck in my mind is that it seemed strange even then that the club hadn’t bought the freehold itself. That would have been the mid nineties and the figure I recall being paid was just £60,000. I have been drunk too many times since then so I could have misremembered everything :beers::nauseated_face:

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#13

Your dead right Ripley I was going mental at this even back then but no one was listening

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#14

Is 60k about right too? If so, no excuse the club could absolutely have afforded that. Couldn’t afford not to actually, as history has proven.
I’m afraid I weren’t going mad about it. I knew pensions were good for avoiding tax, shrugged my shoulders and assumed Jeff must have known what he was doing. He did know, it just turned out he wasn’t doing what I thought he was doing :angry:.

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#15

The Bonser pension fund bought the freehold off Severn Trent in 1995 for £200,000.

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#16

That’s a beer addled memory for you 🤷🏻♂️ Where do you get your info Exile?

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#17

Research. Asking questions. Getting info.

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#18

In answer to the technical question, a technical answer:

Walsall FC has been royally ■■■■■■ up the arse by The Bonser family. We are a member of a small but growing number of traditional league clubs that have been shafted by their “owners”. Some have taken the money and ran. Ours is slowly bleeding us to death.

Personally I’d prefer the former.

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#19

Highly technical. Sometimes reduction is good.

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#20

WFC could easily have bought the freehold for £200,000 in 1995. Bonser did not do so because he saw a golden opportunity to make himself very rich.

If WFC owned the land Bonser’s pension fund would not have received about £7.5M in rent, (which if it has been wisely invested will be at least double that figure by now) and it would not have a property asset worth many millions.

He would have missed out on a huge fortune, but the club would have benefited. I am sure that when Bonser gets annoyed by criticism from Walsall fans he consoles himself by looking at his pension fund and bank statements.

I can understand Bonser doing what he did, pure greed is a natural human characteristic. What I cannot understand is the fact that some Walsall fans defend him.

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