I’ve been asked to share the following statement on behalf of the Walsall Football Supporters Trust:
Having read the statement issued by the Club Directors following the Club’s relegation from League One, we thought that it was appropriate that the Supporters Trust should make some comments.
The apology for the present situation is welcome, as is the intention to return to League One as soon as possible. However, we feel that it would have been much better if the Board of Directors had acknowledged that the responsibility is entirely theirs.
We accept that when a Manager is employed, that after being given a budget, he should be left to carry out his duties as Manager and Coach without interference. We do feel that we have to point out that the last three managers have fallen well below expectations. We appreciate the difficulty of dismissing a Manager who is not performing, particularly when, as in the case of John Whitney, he has had long successful service with the club as its physio, and with Dean Keates, who served the club so well as a player that he became a Legend. Unfortunately, neither had the experience to take the club forward and, in fact, their lack of management experience, and that of their respective assistants, at this level has eventually led to our current relegation to League Two.
It has been stated that we have one of the smallest budgets in the league. If this is so, why was Dean Keates allowed to make the number of signings that he made in January? This resulted in the club having the largest squad for years. Some of the signings never, or hardly ever, played a game. If the budget was limited why not sign one or two good experienced players instead of the eight or nine signed? In some cases, we have actually paid fees!
We know that hindsight is a wonderful thing but it is the Directors’ job to make a successful appointment in the vital role of Team Manager. There might be some excuse if one appointment were unsuccessful but we now have a situation where the last three appointments have not been what was required to move the club forward.
Added to this, both John Whitney and Dean Keates were allowed to continue as Manager for far too long. In both cases, it was obvious to most supporters that the performance of the team was not acceptable. In the case of the appointment of, and the failure to dismiss, a Manager when all went wrong, the fault lies with the Directors of the Club.
As stated above, no one thinks that these decisions are easy but it is the responsibility of the Board and we feel that if the Directors are to make a statement following our club’s relegation, then your responsibility is the first thing to be stated.
We trust that far more care will be taken with the appointment of a new Manager as we obviously cannot afford to get it wrong again.
Trevor Reece (acting Chair)