Posted by: Bescot Banter


Following Thursday evening's 'Fan's Focus' meeting Bob Thomas, Vice-Chairman of the Walsall Football Supporters' Trust, gives us the run down of events.
Following Thursday evening's 'Fan's Focus' meeting Bob Thomas, Vice-Chairman of the Walsall Football Supporters' Trust, gives us the run down of events.

In attendance, Stefan Gamble, Dan Mole and Leigh Pomlett (Director) plus 15 Saddlers fans.

No developments on the scoreboard and/or the sale of chips – get that out of the way first!

Contracts – negotiations are still ongoing, including Andy Taylor. Andy Butler has an option (in his favour) for a further year. He has to tell the club by May 1st if he wishes to take up the option. Julian Gray's contract expires on January 20th – there is no indication if he will be offered an extension yet.

Paterson's fee will be considerably in excess of £1 million pounds if all the clauses in the transfer are invoked.  The sell-on is a fixed percentage and does not reduce over the period of his contract. Transfer revenue is divided as 50% to players’ wages budget and 50% to the infra-structure of the club, e.g. the academy (particularly the staffing), the new gyms, pitch maintenance, etc.

The club is taking steps to secure all of the promising young playing talent and feels that it is not particularly worried about the EPPP. The 48 League One and League Two clubs are scared of upsetting the 24 Championship clubs and all 72 of them are scared of upsetting the Premier League clubs! If a really big club, or alternatively, the Wolves or the Villa, came along after any of our promising players, the club is confident we would be fully compensated.

Three of the first-year professionals will be flying out to play in the summer season in Iceland (the Siggi connection!). No names revealed yet.

Great credit given to Jon Whitney and the fitness of the players. Milan Lalkovic was found to be below the desired fitness level on arrival from Chelsea’s development squad. He is now much fitter and stronger. This could be seen as a message for many young pros currently at Premier League clubs – Under-21 football is not necessarily a good preparation for the pro game.

The club also confirmed Chelsea are paying more than half of Milan Lalkovic's wage.

Following negotiations with West Midlands Police, the Policing bill has been cut from around £100,000 down to £60,000 in view of improved spectator behaviour. Banning orders have been issued against those involved the trouble after the Portsmouth and Shrewsbury Town games.

After many complaints about the club website, the club is relying more and more on their Twitter and Facebook accounts. Following the departure of Richard Hazelgrave as commercial officer for the Football League, the club hope that the matter of the standard League website will be addressed.

There are currently around 400 people are registered to use Saddlers Player.

As noted on HERE on Bescot Banter, the club has a two-year deal with BBC Radio WM to cover ten Walsall matches per season.

Club Chairman Jeff Bonser is not “actively looking for a way out” of his position at Walsall Football Club. He still regularly attends games, and is often at the training ground. He also goes to a lot of away games, when his schedule allows.

The U18s “free” season ticket has been a big success with over 500 taking up the offer. There is a good take-up with the “transitional” scheme for 19 year-olds of a season ticket for £150. The club will be watching to see if these 19 year-olds make the transition to full-price season tickets when they leave their teens.

Finally, pre-season friendlies – likely to be our local rivals again (for financial reasons – they attract plenty of support). Glasgow Celtic, fellow 1888'ers, wanted around £250,000 to play a pre-season friendly at the Banks's Stadium.
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