Walsall Football Club Supporters Working Group Meeting – October 4 – News
Walsall Football Club Supporters Working Group Meeting. Held via Zoom on Monday October 4, 2021 at 1 p.m.
Daniel Mole (DM) – Walsall Football Club
Graham Whittaker (GW) – Walsall Football Club Supporter Liaison Officer
Dave Beckett (DB) – Independent Association of Saddlers Supporters
Brian Adshead (BA) – Walsall Football Club Fan Trust
Ian Buckingham (IB) – Disabled Fans Association of Walsall Football Club
Minutes: Sam Hadwen (SH)
SM began by thanking everyone for attending the meeting.
GW addressed those in attendance first and mentioned that for working group meetings in the future he will chair the meetings and that a member of the board will represent the football club. This will alternate for each meeting between the DM, Stefan Gamble (SG) and Chairman Leigh Pomlett (LP).
DM began by addressing recent results on the pitch and discussed the club’s recent results and their position in the league.
Off the pitch, previous issues raised during the FGR game in particular continue to be monitored and addressed. Our last home game against Bristol Rovers saw WFC staff all over the stadium with our own staff as opposed to agency staff.
While we now have these bodies in the business, DM has asked supporters to be patient and understanding with these individuals as they settle into their game day duties over the coming weeks as they move forward. ‘they gain experience and knowledge through training, support and, of course, more and more work. Matches .. From a hospitality perspective, DM said most of the games so far this season have gone well and hope they continue. DM referred to the new, simpler system in place for the bars around the floor whereby members of the Savoy Lounge can use the Savoy Lounge, upper level supporters can use the Stadium Suite and the lower level can use the Mick Kearns Community Hub. . Community booth supporters have access to the community hall and fan area while outside supporters can access the outdoor bar.
DM asked for comments.
BA asked DM where fans in the main stand who do not have Savoy Lounge passes can have a drink before and after the game. DM stated that the Stadium Suite is available to all supporters with a match day ticket valid before the match, as communicated before each home match and that supporters in the main stand during the match can use the concession unit under the basement of the gallery.
Update from the Walsall Football Club Supporter Liaison Officer:
GW took stock by raising the issues that had been raised with him since the last meeting. E-ticket booking fees will continue as they normally were as the club were unable to absorb the costs themselves and GW reminded supporters that the ability to order tickets by phone and at the ticket office was still in place. BA then raised a suggestion brought to its attention via a member as to whether the club could consider having its own system to reduce this booking fee. DM reiterated that these fees are the responsibility of TicketMaster and although this has been increased at the board level, the club are not able to swallow the fees and this is passed on to the end user.
DM has confirmed that supporters do not have to pay a fee if they call or visit the stadium in person. Fees are collected by TM as they deal with ticket sales rather than ticketing.
DM went on to say that in order for us to start our own system we would need to realign all of our programming and other areas of the business e.g. stadium mapping for Aston Villa Women, our conference and events etc., which would create its own complications and costs which would be higher than the treatment fees currently billed by TM.
GW spoke about the bars and kiosks and said additional staff and training will be in place so that further improvements are made in this area.
GW has held meetings with disabled supporters in recent weeks and various ideas are being discussed as we look to improve their match day and booking experience in the future.
GW then referred to the club’s recent partnership with the Her Game Too campaign and said that we encourage supporters to raise issues regarding sexist behavior as it is something that will not be tolerated at the club.
Walsall Football Club Supporters Trust Update:
BA started by addressing some issues from the last meeting and asked if the club is hosting the Poppy Appeal. DM said we spoke with Gurinder Atwal from the British Legion and suggested either the 13e November vs Harrogate Town or the FA Cup game on the 6the November should we be given a home tie for this to happen.
BA then mentioned that Trust Secretary Ray Dale (RD) was hosting 4 bus drivers from the local bus company as part of the recognition of the efforts of key workers during the pandemic.
BA spoke about the Christmas appeal for toys and food and said he was in contact with us and the Manor Hospital about it ahead of the proposed dates for donations and delivery. DM said that on 11e December is set for the toy call to happen and has advised BA to let the club know in advance of their plans and what they need from us. Regarding the visit to Manor Hospital, DM said he was awaiting clarification as to whether the team could attend due to Covid protocols.
BA concluded and suggested if Helen Thorpe-Wood, a member of the Trust’s board alongside Club Reverend Chaplin Lance Blackwood, could organize some form of service around the holiday season in recognition of the supporters we have sadly lost. . DM said he was happy this was happening and suggested tying this to the toy call and having a service next to the memorial wall at the reception. BA understood and confirmed that he would report to the Trust.
Update from the Association of supporters of independent saddlers:
DB began by asking a question regarding a request to meet with LP, head coach Matt Taylor (MT) and technical director Jamie Fullarton (JF) after the Bristol Rovers game. DB said he had received a response, so say it would be brought up in the next few days, but heard nothing back. DB then asked if there was a specific reason why this could be, as it was something that we had agreed would take place once the season started. GW responded and said discussions had taken place and a date had been set but had not been formalized. DM commented and reminded DB that we had a fan open forum meeting with LP and MT in the Stadium Suite in August on the day of the open photocall / training session before the start of the season, but said that he would follow that up with LP when he saw it in Tuesday’s game against Northampton Town. This has since been confirmed for 8e November with all the details to follow.
DB then asked a question regarding a number of longtime supporters who asked if the club could refund their membership money based on recent performances. DM explained that while the club was respectful and sympathetic towards supporters who were disappointed with the current results, under the terms and conditions of the membership sale, they are not refundable on the basis of form. DM and GW agreed they understood the frustration of supporters and imagined most of these email inquiries followed the late home loss to the Bristol Rovers. DB confirmed that this was the case and explained that there had been around 15 such emails after the Rovers’ loss and that he understood the club’s position but had to ask the questions as it had been raised by ISSA members.
DB asked about the first-team squad and asked if there is any funds for potential re-entries in the January transfer window given the recent list of injuries we have. DM says there are funds available if needed. DM spoke about Liam Kinsella, Conor Wilkinson and Rory Holden, all currently injured and hoping they will be back in a Saddlers shirt in the not too distant future.
DB concluded by stating that he had recently resigned from his post as DSA Vice President for personal reasons. DM thanked DB both for the update and for all their hard work during his tenure as DSA Vice President.
DM and GW asked if there were any further questions.
The meeting ended at 1:45 p.m.
Next meeting on Monday 1st November.