UpTheSaddlers Forum

Walsall FC - My View - The Response to the letter


That’s exactly right, and is the most cringeworthy aspect of the reply IMO, along with the “as far as I’m aware” tag line. In his position he should know every ticket price of every other club within a 30 mile radius, as well as every other club in our league OFF BY HEART, its his beedin job!!

Also its a typical cross purposes reply (deliberate I believe). The problem that has been discussed is the walk up match day price, NOT anything to do with season tickets. Young people, and indeed many who are not that young, want the choice to decide what they do with their limited funds on a day to day and week to week basis, without having to sign up to something. I was a pay on the gate fan for many years at Fellows Park before I decided I might as well get a season ticket as I was actually going every week, its a natural progression. If Walsall FC don’t enter that market at the correct point, then they won’t attract the customers in the market, which is exactly what is happening.

If a cheap pay on the day ticket was an apple, and that’s what the punters all want, it doesn’t matter how many lovely juicy oranges you’ve got to sell!

The bit about student concessions is laughable, a student concession is no more difficult to police than any other concession.

“What more can we do??”, carries the same tone as “go and support Luton…”.
And all these managers and heads of departments in the vast match-day business empire of Walsall home games. They’re so rushed off their feet managing…they have to be told to go and experience the processes they are supposed to be in control of.

Tell you what, sack the whole lot of them, sack executive ones as well, and instead of having a board filled with Bonser’s cronies and family, get some directors that love the club enough to get down on a match-day and put a shift in like those at the likes of Rushall will do every week. Divert the money saved into signing some better players.





Only just getting in to read this. In summary, it’s exactly what I expected it, although the whole condescending, sanctimonious tone of the letter absolutely stinks and is an insult. Here’s my run through:

  • “As a board we are obviously very concerned that some supporters are now contemplating not attending games…” Are you being ■■■■■■■ serious? “Now?” Firstly, this has been going on for ages. Plus, how can any one seriously stand there and look at our facilities and prices and act surprised at the apparently ‘weird’ decision?
  • “We try and limit the financial impact on them buy only applying 50p increments instead of £1.” Well ■■■■ me aren’t you generous? Do you decide that based on the rent?
  • “Pricing structure set and reviewed annually, not sure what we can do to make it clearer.” Oh ■■■■ off you patronising ■■■■■. You’ve seriously not looked around at the competition and noticed how much more expensive/clear as mud our pricing structure is? Oh and please tell me how the student discount was any more difficult to police? What a bunch of bullshit, you couldn’t write it :joy: And how do you explain Boxing Day being a Cat A game against a side in the bottom four 100 miles away? Because you wanted to fleece the supporters for a few more pennies, that’s why.
  • “Toilets were painted following complaints from supporters.” Oh let me bow down to your infinite kindness and generosity! What a ■■■■■■■ joke. Put the press release out again why don’t you, the nationals might pick it up. “League One club paints toilets for the first time since 1990 in stunning act of kindness.” Notice how that’s ‘following supporter complaints.’ Wouldn’t have been arsed if we’d have said nothing, they think the facilities we have are acceptable, clearly.
  • “Catering manager to stand in the kiosks.” I can’t wait to see this. I bet the manager is slightly older than the rest at 17. They hope to deliver marked improvements… like actually having some food?
  • “Our communications director liaises with supporters across multiple platforms.” Now, I work in PR and comms for a company and even have dealings in sport via sponsorships. Posting a pre-scheduled tweet out does not constitute communication.
  • “We also produce a match day programme.” :joy::joy::joy: how innovative and cutting edge! My grandad still has some of his Walsall programmes from the early 1950s for ■■■■ sake.
  • “We have two fans focus meetings a year so it’s unfair that you say we don’t communicate.” Two a year. Two. And those are scheduled at the most inconvenient times for supporters imaginable, like 7pm on a Tuesday night. Why not have the fans focus immediately before/after kick off? Oh, because more people would show up then and that’s more hassle.
  • Also, I’ve banged on about him before but look at Accrington Stanley’s chairman - engaging on Twitter, visibly part of the club on a daily basis, willing to talk to the media? Our chairman? Skulking away in his cave, counting the rent. You’re more likely to get an interview with Kim Jong-Il than our leader and Kim’s dead.
  • “Vision is the Championship.” Oh do me a favour. You proved that’s nonsense the last time we had a chance.
  • “Boxing Day attendance disappointing”- and yet you’ve not thought about why that might be until a fan letter lands on your desk.
  • “For future reference, please email this other person.” - Oh ■■■■ you.

The whole place is rotten to the core. To say it’s outdated is doing a disservice to that word. The club is screwed with these dinosaurs at the helm. I suppose then a nice simple events company can continue to flourish.

Apologies that this post is rambling/repeating what’s said above but that letter has really boiled my ■■■■ and I wanted to get it off my chest - and I haven’t even mentioned the ‘rent’ thing. The tone of that letter is disgraceful and stinks of “well what more do you want?” which is exactly what I said in another thread a while back. The club is dying and they just aren’t bothered.

Up the protests.


What a sad response. Too much to say on the whole thing that I can’t be arsed. I hope they are reading this forum though. Just get out of our football club, you have no idea what you are doing and every reply to the letter is embarrassing and shows them for the inept people they really are. ■■■■■■■ idiots.


Bristol Rovers Cat A just because it was Boxing Day? You’d expect it to go on the appeal of the opposition?



I would say the amount of away fans predicted. They didn’t bring many however.


Why can’t the club actually be sympathetic towards the fans for a change !?

They really don’t get it do they …


A few seasons ago it appeared we’d turned a corner and Gamble / Mole were engaging with us and things were slowly improving. Now it seems to have regressed back to the old days of Whalley. The tone of that response reminds me very much of Whalley. The whole “you should be grateful for what you get” tone!


Exactly but it completely contradicts the response you received.


They clearly thought as it was Boxing Day fans would just turn up without question and they’d get a bumper crowd so let’s mske the maximum money.

Didn’t take into account that the dross football being served up meant a lot couldn’t be arsed to ruin their Christmas!

And considering the problems they had in staffing and stock on Boxing Day even though the crowd was clearly smaller than expected they couldn’t be arsed with getting that right either! :roll_eyes:


Mole enjoyed the attention he got on Twitter nothing more , promised lots delivered nothing !


People didn’t turn up because A, like you say the footballs crap and B, Bristol Rovers is not an appealing opposition.

But hey Category A … Merry Christmas


Yeah, I agree. They just thought people would ignore who the opposition was and just turn up because it was Boxing Day.


I don’t agree re them expecting home fans to just turn up.

I don’t think they give a toss about how many home fans turn up, I really don’t. How can they?? There were mad queues to get in the home ends and there was only 3800 home fans on Boxing Day!

The prices are ridiculous, the ticket structure & game classification system is moronic, the matchday experience is chronic and they make it a ballache to enter the stadium even when there is a crap home turnout.

If that is them worrying / caring about home fans, I hate to think what it would be like if they didn’t!


So that’s it then

That’s the reply from the CEO - not some bod in complaints - the actual CEO of a professional organisation.

How motivated are we all after reading that?

There are so many bad things to say about how this has been dealt with and the message coming across it would actually form an excellent case study for business students on the symptoms of a decaying business. Just imagine being the owner reading that letter from your CEO.

Just a point about the pension - we all know about the legalities of the commercial arrangement and that it would be illegal to reduce the rent- no need to patronise - but as said above the pension scheme member is of an age to withdraw benefits. I understand that by drawing down benefits a cap is placed on further contributions but does bonser need to make more contributions and he can’t anyway if he is over 75. The point is he could withdraw the rent equivalent and donate. There would be a tax hit but even at 65% the donation would put us in a better position or our saviour may even take the tax hit himself to repay us net.

That letter says that the club are not prepared to make an effort certainly with the rent bonser is not going to make an effort so the decision now is for all supporters is why attend while bonser is there because any effort we make will just go straight to bonser

You are literally topping up the bloke’s savings


That response letter is so condescending!
I agree, they don’t actively want to grow the fan base. That then falls into their rhetoric of “this town doesn’t deserve a league club” or Whalleys famous line “there’s no civil pride in Walsall”.

Beyond free tickets for kids (providing its in season ticket format) and that ridiculous fan zone, no efforts are made to engage other demographics. Eg, pubs around Walsall are full of football loving blokes watching sky sports, what is done to entice them into their local ground?.

If there’s any positive to the letter, it may make a few realise that Gamble and Mole are as much of th3 problem as Bonser. They’re responsible for the operational side after all.


Between us, we could have easily guessed that reply. Virtually word for word.

I don’t know if the issue is one of skill or will. Are the people running the place incompetent or lacking in motivation or both? I’m actually leaning towards lacking in will following that reply. Our club has a gift that a lot of organisations would die for. Live forums with customers giving feedback, doing market research, generating their own ideas. Lapsed customers talking about what it would take to get them back, customers talking about how to win new customers. An absolute tonne of insight and opinion. To any organisation that is gold dust and many pay good money to get it. Walsall FC gets it for free and yet treats it as an inconvenience.

It has customers paying more money for a vastly inferior experience to local competition and yet it expects gratitude because “hey, we do our best” and “as far we are concerned” that best is as good as it can be.

The saddest thing is that I’m not even angered by it. Mellowing with age? Maybe I am. But I think it is like the fight is slowly being wrung out of me like the soul has been slowly wrung out of the club.

So so sad.


You are technically correct re: contributions once in drawdown - now capped at £4K per year, however, I imagine he has not contributed for years. The rent is not a contribution but a return on an asset.

Because the law has changed numerous times regarding lifetime allowance, I imagine that he has an element of protection.

His potential issue would have been at 75 when HMTC revalue and there is an excess tax charge on funds in excess of the lifetime allowance. Not sure how this would impact the Bonsers though due to the time the fund has been in operation i.e before a lifetime allowance was introduced.


One of the biggest crimes in all this, for me, is that they seem actually surprised at lower turnouts. It’s like they look around at the facilities, prices, match day experience and just turn to each other, exhale, stroke their chins and go “pfffff beats me why they aren’t showing up guys. I guess they just don’t realise what they’ve got. I mean, who’d want to turn this down? We’ve provided so much for them.”

Then anyone who has been even vaguely near another football ground in the same league or below can see the reasons and yet they seem baffled, or worse - wilfully ignorant.

“We’re obviously concerned by the lower attendances.” Oh no you are not.