For me, any protest will struggle because the issues surrounding the club just aren’t black and white.
It’s very easy for the club to defend itself from a lot of these criticisms. We are currently mid-table in the third tier, which is our natural place in the pyramid for pretty much our entire existence. Attendances are pretty much what they have been for the last 40-odd years. The club is on a sound financial footing and can always point to the likes of Stockport, Orient and Chesterfield as a ‘be careful what you wish for’ argument.
If you look at it with external eyes, it would be hard to see what all the moaning is about and I’m sure some people within the club think that way to.
But I get why people are so frustrated and feel it too. For me the sales of Fox and Dann are still a watershed moment. We had a genuine chance to return to the Championship then, but rather than roll the dice, Bonser decided to settle and it feels like that’s what we’ve been doing ever since.
It feels like the club’s ultimate priority is to stay in the black and deliver the rent cheque - what happens on the pitch is almost an irrelevance. I cringe when I think back to January 2016 and how we lauded the club for it’s “ambition” in not selling Bradshaw, Sawyers and co. If ever there was the time to take a risk and invest a little bit extra that was it, but no we were kissing the club’s feet for simply holding on to what it already had. Just shows how low our expectations had become!
Some people have managed to effect a bit of positive change from within the club, namely Dean Smith, but it all comes down to the organ grinder at the end of the day. Let’s not forget how desperate Smith was to leave, he knew that the lack of ambition at the top was always going to hold us back despite his good work.
What does the future hold? Sooner or later we will leave this division and the chances are its going to be through the back door not the front. If I had to make a prediction for the club’s fortunes I’d wager our destiny is to stop being a bog-standard third tier side and become a bog-standard fourth tier one.
Attendances will fall and the playing budget will drop accordingly (the rent must still be paid). The club will stay in the black and lament the fact that if it only had a few more fans it might be able to challenge for promotion to League One more often.
Walsall FC just desperately needs a change, someone with new ideas and a new direction. Someone who actually wants to run this football club with football as it’s main priority. It could easily all go tits up I know, but perhaps its better to burn out then slowly fade away?
But as others have said, the ownership situation makes the prospect of change seem almost impossible.