UpTheSaddlers Forum

Walsall FC - My View


#1

After today’s performance I’ve seriously had enough of the shambles that my football club has become.

Let me start off with today’s game. Whatever the attendance was (5069 or something), it actually felt like nobody could be arsed to be there, from the fans to the players, the bar staff to the stewards. This all filters from the top of the club, and I find it truly disgusting how little they all care. Yes, they give it lip service and lots of people fall for it time after time, but in reality they just carry on as usual. It felt like people were there just because today - players too. It’s all well and good them apologising for a crap performance but instead of talking about it, go and put it right. Talking gets you nowhere.
Also, can we stop introducing us as ‘The Pride of the Midlands - The Super Saddlers’, especially when we run back out for the 2nd half and we are losing. It’s embarassing. We aren’t even the pride of Walsall ffs.

Squad wise - poor. Keates needs at least 3 transfer windows to sort out the mess we are in at the moment properly, and so far he’s had one. You could argue that if you include Roberts, our back 5 today were all last season’s too. We were bad defensively then, so it’s no surprise we are bad defensively now. We’ve had a decent start to the season and everybody got their hopes and expectations raised to levels that weren’t ever going to be sustainable. The simple fact is that we are lucky if we stay in League One again (I hate that this is the way it is, but it is), and again this isn’t helped in any way by those at the top.

Moving on to the food/drink outlets in the stadium - absolute shambles. Today, and not for the first time, I went to get me and my Dad something to eat from the kiosk, about 25 minutes from kick-off. “Sorry, we don’t have any pasties” followed swiftly by “oh we don’t have any Balti Pies either”. Shocked - no. Amazed at how ■■■■ this function is - Yes. Why can’t we have a selection of food and drink readily available to consume when we are likely to want it? If it’s not kiosks selling out downstairs, it’s the bar areas. Not enough staff, queues too big, prices are decent enough for a football ground, but so many people every week (today included) don’t bother when the queue gets so big. A missed opportunity of £1000’s every time. Again, the decision makers here need to sort it out. You’re told to email Dan Mole or whoever else who will pass your comments on to Mr or Mrs whoever, but nothing is done about it.

Next up, ticket prices. I have a season ticket, so individual ticket prices have no bearing on me personally, but I’m led to believe today was a Category A game. Excuse me, what? Why does anybody need different priced tickets based on who we are playing? Policing costs are a cop out. There’s a whole thread on ticketing but we need to simplify it and potentially try adding other brackets of ticket holder (student/NHS/forces; Under 22’s; etc.), to maximise people coming through the gate. I know we give tickets to schools etc, but where are the tangible results of that? Walsall seem to have an ageing fan base with not many youngsters coming through - similar to our youth team if you will.
If it’s cheaper for kids / young adults to watch better quality football at similar prices, it’s not hard to work out where they’re gonna go.

The club has gone so far backwards in recent years it’s untrue. There’s so much more I could go on about - competitions ran and winner selection, stewards (or the lack of), or the utter contempt those at the top have for us fans amongst others.

The way this club is ran from the top downwards proves that we are nothing but an income to them, and they will continue to treat us like ■■■■ because we will keep going.

I’ve been to every single game this season bar Fleetwood (a) and the Checkatrade games, and I’m sure many have done the same or maybe more, but what thanks do they ever get?

If I don’t get banned, I’ll carry on going to the home games for the rest of this season because i’ve paid for them, but I won’t put myself out doing all of the away games as I have been doing. I’ll pick and choose. As another poster has said recently, in different words, it just ain’t the same at Walsall FC any more.


#2

Nailed it mate. I have complete apathy to Walsall FC atm and I’m only 22!


#3

About 18 months ago (first Whitney season) I still defended Bonser a fair bit but last year truly seen the light.

What sticks in my throat is the whole structure Dean Smith put in place has been destroyed by penny pinching and cheap appointments in terms of managers and replacing the 15/16 squad.

I liked Keates being appointed by what chance does he have when he is handed a bottom 6 budget?

Then you have Bonser et al in press with their continual lines of wanting to be in the Championship…how exactly? You don’t get promotion for having a decent events venue at the stadium.

The home attendances really dropping off now is hugely worrying. In previous years you still had hardcore 4k for the “glamour” games and now that isn’t being achieved.

Sad as it is we have reached a point where Walsall staying up now feels like a good season. It should be better than that even with the current restrictions.


#4

Couldn’t agree more. There were what, 4,000ish home fans in the stadium today. Imagine if a crowd actually turned up!

Logistically the club is a shambles. The playing squad is largely poor and we’re once again only being propped up by a decent manager, who is overachieving given the resources and generally apathy at the club.

I know of at least eight people who were put off going to today’s game by the price. Imagine forking out £25 for that all-round shambles (on and off the pitch) today.

The whole place needs some energy, but unfortunately whilst Bonser is at the club that will never happen…


#5

Great post, Rob.

We’re stagnating as a club, and as a result, a fan base.


#6

We need new leadership badly…the current model has brought success in the past but the game has moved on so I hope JB goes as soon as possible. Having said that I won’t stop going. Walsall is my team and I have been going for over 50 years and I won’t stop now. I have seen good times and bad and very bad and you have to live through those and celebrate when the good times come as they do sometimes when you least expect them.


#7

I was offered 3 or 4 people’s season ticket for Luton at the end of the game.
Naturally I declined, it would be wrong to deny the club* the valuable contribution that I would bring and put in danger the supreme levels of service we enjoy at present.

*Bonser


#8

Your whole post sums up a lot of what I’ve been feeling for a long time superbly. I’ve said a lot in another thread, but this club is dying in terms of support. If I didn’t have 20 years supporting them behind me and a deep-set loyalty through close family to the club already, I’d throw in the towel and frankly I don’t blame the scores of people who already have. Everything about the match day experience and the running of the club in general is tired beyond measure and its no wonder gates are falling.
I also had a similar experience to you regarding food that I also mentioned in a thread about the kiosks. It’s a ■■■■■■■ shambles and I’ll never so much as buy a chocolate bar from them again until there are radical changes.

Please, please can someone from the club tell us how a team 90 miles away in the bottom 4 (at KO) can warrant the same ‘category’ as, say, a local derby? By no metric should this be the case. Oh no, hold on - its Boxing Day and there might be some extra people coming with family, so lets squeeze some extra pennies out of them. Thats exactly why.

As I’ve said elsewhere, the beauty of this whole arrangement is that we get blamed for a lack of progression or budget. “Why not buy a season ticket, we could do loads more with another 1,000 season ticket holders.” Yeah, come along to our aged facilities: you’ll queue endlessly for a ticket that’s more expensive than Championship football, you won’t get the food you want, you’ll queue again for a beer and then finally get to a seat that might be obscured by a 3ft wide metal stanchion to watch a football team hamstrung by a club with no ambition beyond 12th in League One that literally exists to pay off a rent cheque every month.

How could any young football enthusiast refuse that offer?


#9

I think Geordie has also made the same point. The club’s treatment of their fans gives them a ready made cop-out for declining interest. The local media could put pressure on the club by highlighting it, but none of them do. They’ve all bought into the “What can you reasonably expect on these gates?” line , I assume, because their jobs are so much easier when they have the club’s cooperation. It looks like collusion, pure and simple.


#10

You forgot to mention the state of the loos . Bog standard at the best of times but today an inch of what I hope was only water all over the floor.


#11

Probably not!


#12

This is because the pressure in the taps is ridiculous and hits the poxy little sink at such force it pisses everywhere. Add in hand dryers that frankly are that weak you may as well just blow on your hands to get them dry. 30 yrs of non investment and treat the paying punter like they do


#13

Spot on Rob. This season has been an unmitigated shambles off the pitch. Won’t repeat all the stuff I’ve written on the “chips in the lower” threads but the club have lost the goodwill of between 700 and 1,000 people this year. What’s more, I’m not sure they’ve noticed or inexcusably actually care.

Based upon Home fans only our crowd today will only be slightly better than some clubs who were traditionally non-league clubs - people like Cheltenham, Fleetwood, Stanley. Even in the league below us people like Exeter, Notts County et al will smash our home attendance out of the park. Then there will be non-League home crowds better (I think Wrexham got 8,000 today), or similar to ours (4,500 at Chesterfield who are in a right state and yet a similar amount of their fans turned up today as ours). Torquay and Stockport some three levels below us will have had similar turnouts to us.

We’re in a mess. The structure of the ticketing, the acquisition of tickets, the cost of tickets, the facilities, the catering, the whole experience are all in some kind of other-worldly twighlight zone where the worst bits of the footballing experience from the last four decades have all come together at The Bescot Stadium in Walsall for the 2018/19 season.


#14

Well, I think that post is spot on. The club is rotten to the core, I put my future plans on the match thread, but I don’t think I’m alone in my views. I can’t believe they charged £25 for that today, in fact I can’t believe they would have the cheek to charge that for any Walsall game. And I’m glad you mentioned about the pitchside announcer, Pride of the Midlands my arse.


#15

First class post. I’ve been going for 55 years and seen some dross in all that time but I have now come to the end, got my season ticket but shall not be going to see the Luton game . I’ve kidded myself for a long time that things will improve but I’m afraid that we are well entrenched in a spiralling decline, if we find any half decent players they are soon moved on , what a situation the clubs in, having to pay rent when we used to own our own ground and in my opinion year on year the team gets poorer, hence the crowd goes down and consequently less cash to invest in the next transfer window.I really feel for dean keates, inherited players who aren’t up for
it and not much room for him to alter things. I could rant on for hours here I’m so disillusioned and angry tonight. As for the pride of the Midlands announcement do they actually watch the game? We are not even pride of the pleck.


#16

I think most of the posts on this and other threads have summed up why I after over 40 years have stopped going. It has nothing to do with results, it is purely because of the way the club has been run down over the last few years. And just when I think there will be a turning point, and there is a protest group it all goes the same way it has gone for the last protest, absolutely ■■■■ all. And the leach still keeps sucking and the fans just keep going, albeit fewer and fewer.


#17

There’s so much more to add to that list I could have written a book.

Someone has mentioned the toilets already. If you wash your hands you’ll come away dirtier than if you didn’t bother ffs.

There’s barely enough stewards to allow the stadium to be open, and some of those that are employed aren’t going to / couldn’t do anything if something were to kick off.

Social Media wise, it’s all gone downhill since the departure of Dale Moon. He’s the only reason this club had any sort of ‘decent’ relationship with its fans. We are now employing what seem to be kids / graduates who don’t have a lot, if any, experience. One of them
Even had the cheek to post on Twitter after Bradford saying that as they work at the club they feel a defeat more than a fan!

No matter what the directors say, our club is going downhill. Fast.


#18

With regards to the ticket prices , few weeks back I booked asked for a quote for their pre match meal package. I officially received an email from the club with the pricing.

On phoning the club to book an pay I was told it would now cost £50 more as it was in fact going to be a Cat A game… like a mentioned above the club will do everything possible to bleed cash out of the punters.

Obviously I told them to stick it as I couldn’t agree with a match against Bristol Rovers being classed as a Cat A game!


#19

It’s shocking. Your food doesn’t cost £50 more to source just because Bristol Rovers are coming to town. I wish i’d taken a picture today of who was in the Bonser Suite, Dobson had a Table, Czuzcuman and another’s Mrs had a table, Bonser’s Mrs had one. There were more. Wonder if they paid £50 extra, if at all.


#20

An organisation nearly always resembles the bloke at the top. We resemble an out-of-date, money scrounging bunch of amateurs.

The way Bonser has wrung the finances and life out of our club makes me sick. They say you don’t get rich owing a football club … well I know one that gets £400k a year richer out of a football club that barely exists, let alone thrive.