The Turning Point


#1

After the shambolic goings on this pre-season, surely it’s time to re-evaluate Walsall FC’s business model - it just ain’t working. It’s so frustrating to see clubs like Mansfield, AFC Wimbledon etc outbidding us for players who should be bread and butter signings for us. We need to start spending more on the playing side and less on infrastructure. Money talks and at the moment we are speechless in the transfer market. There’s no point having a state of the art sprinkler system and a fully-stocked youth system if the first team ain’t worth watching. Over to you, Jeff.


#2

Agree 100 percent


#3

I said it another post, with season ticket sales of 2500 in a town of nearly 68000,there is no appetite for a business model further than what we have. Even when we went up to the championship with some really good players the town hardly got behind their team.

The team needs to work on its marketing, and yes that means been seen to be active with a wow signing or two, but it also means been able to import enough bloody shirts from China
to make a killing on profit and having a working webshop. I get there is lethargy or maybe just pure incompetence throughout the club. I get annoyed has hell when Villa are visiting the schools in Aldridge.


#4

I don’t believe anyone employed by the club; the board, the staff, the players etc want the club to fail. They simply have to work within the restrictions set by one man who still believes a decade of success at the end of the last century can be replicated now using the same frugal methods.

Football has moved on and we’re falling behind.


#5

A good point you make, but what is anyone at a higher level trying to do to get more bums on seats? Or even shirts on backs! What would you do if you were in JB’s position? He’s not greedy enough in my opinion, the town has so much more potential. If he scraped off a million whilst making nice signings we wouldn’t bat an eyelid to what’s going on behind the scenes.


#6

He’s changed his hairstyle more recently than he has his business model.


#7

I think the ‘philosophy’ and a dedication to playing good football installed by Smith gave the club a unique selling point, something for the fans and the community to get behind. Playing at Wembley, progressing in the cups, that’s what makes a local club attractive.

Smith left and we scrapped it, still cant understand why.


#8

I buy into that totally, it was reassuring times which looked like it had a future - and that’s why we’re saddlers fans. I think the season ticket sales figures over the last few years were posted a few days ago, and unfortunately it seems the rest of our Walsall brethren still hadn’t been swayed even in the Smith regime.

I’m on drinking terms with one of the Stewart’s at Rotherham and I have some really interesting input on the ownership side of things which I would never betray his confidence. However look up Rotherham population on wiki and see their season ticket sales and that points you, very simply and obviously actually, to the difference between them and us.


#9

They’re an interesting example, especially after they spent a few years in Sheffield. I often wonder if the location of Walsall FC lets us down, perhaps being based closer to the town centre would attract more passing trade, make the club shop and ticket office more accessible etc. Also might have made us a more attractive option for people in the areas above north Walsall (Cannock, Hednesford etc).


#10

Exactly, we need to be more visible. It really is a question of marketing and as far as I can see we are ■■■■ poor at it.

Bescot isn’t the greatest location, but then again neither is Villas ground and they don’t seem to struggle. They have legacy of course so maybe AFC Walsall and a fresh start is the answer.

Getting wound up over 400K and JB certainly isn’t the answer.


#11

You have to work within your restrictions I guess. If anything the club have monetised our location next to the M6 well, but we seem to market the commercial side of the club more effectively than the football team.


#12

Perhaps it’s the comfort zone in what the current club personnel are good at? We seem to have success in that area, corporate match days and stand/matchday sponsorship also seems well taken care of.

But reaching the wider community of walsall? We are failing badly .


#13

The wider community of Walsall and not just the built up areas number some quarter million people plus. These should all fall within AOI of Walsall FC in terms of fan base. Jeff threw the kitchen sink at it in the championship days e.g. Samways et al but we could still only fill the ground when the dingles came to town. Is it all down to marketing failures or simply a lack of appetite for Walsall FC from the towns much wider population?


#14

I wonder what attracted the club to Bescot in the first place?

Could it have been GMI’s links to water companies, and previous development and clean-up experience thereof?


#15

I guess there must have been some financial benefit to it, JB certainly ain’t stupid.

I had no idea the outlying population was so big. If anything gets me down it’s this kind of statistic. Why are we everyone’s second team? West brom for God’s sake…? Such a lovely place to be proud of…


#16

I agree completely!
The marketing of the football side of the club leaves a lot to be desired…

General Appetite for Football
Pubs around Walsall are full of blokes watching Gillette soccer Saturday on a Saturday afternoon- what do we do to engage and entice them to drop Jeff Sterling and support their local team ? - not a lot.

Kids
Beyond the mass schools offer, The Walsall junior youth Sunday league is one of the best kids football leagues around, and populated by youngsters who already enjoy the game - why dont we attend the monthly fixtures meetings and promote upcoming fixtures.

Pricing/availability/access
Offer a reasonable walk up price and make the stadium more accessible via free shuttle buses from town.

Identity
I’ve spent time watching Motherwell in Scotland who are dwarfed by the Glasgow clubs, they have their own ‘ultras section’ (singing section essentially), of the stadium in attempt to create identity to the town and the club certainly amongst younger supporters.

The people are there, look at the Northampton games attendance. It just needs tapping into.


#17

If you get the chance,look up the division’s average attendances in the mid-80s, and compare ours to the likes of Cardiff, Swansea, Bournemouth, Reading among others. Makes depressing reading.


#18

I mentioned that on another thread. The attendance boom passed us by.


#19

[quote="VulcanXH558, post:13, topic:1205,
… but we could still only fill the ground when the dingles came to town…
[/quote]

Therein was part of the problem, not that the potential support wasn’t there, it was that the size of our ground meant that it was difficult for the casual supporters to simply turn up on the day. WFC ticket selling restrictions / arrangements worked against the casual spectator.


#20

Anyone with a Walsall postcode could just turn up on the day to every game except the dingles match. They just couldn’t be arsed.