FANS FOCUS | News From Thursday Evening's Event×
Bescot Banter logo
READ OUR LATEST KICK-OFF COLUMN IN SATURDAY'S EXPRESS & STAR
 
Got Something to Say About the Saddlers? Join Our Team
FANS FOCUS | News From Thursday Evening's Event
 
FANS FOCUS | News From Thursday Evening's Event
FANS FOCUS | News From Thursday Evening's Event
TOP STORYCoventry City Enter the Race to Sign Amadou Bakayoko

FANS FOCUS | News From Thursday Evening's Event

9:31 pm Thursday, 19 January 2017
On Thursday evening Walsall Football Club Chief Executive Stefan Gamble and Secretary and Director Daniel Mole took part in a Fans Focus event where they answered questions posed by Saddlers supporters.
On Thursday evening Walsall Football Club Chief Executive Stefan Gamble and Secretary and Director Daniel Mole took part in a Fans Focus event where they answered questions posed by Saddlers supporters.

When asked whether the club are looking at offering the likes of Neil Etheridge and Erhun Oztumer new deals, Stefan Gamble said that the club are at different stages of negotiation with various players. The ball is rolling.

Gamble went on to admit that the recent managerial changes were partly to blame for so many players leaving over the summer. But revealed that they want to keep Neil Etheridge, who they see as the best 'keeper in the league, at the club and have been discussing a new deal with him since March.

Stefan also discussed the players who recently departed for Championship football conceding that many would have stayed had we achieved promotion, but revealed that many are now on contracts which are two, three even four times bigger than the ones they had with the Saddlers.

It was also confirmed that the club are looking to add to their first-team squad during the current window, but may also move players on as they seek to move up the table.

When asked whether record signing Andreas Makris should be loaned out Stefan conceded that the attacker has found it tough but was always one for the future and not expected to burst on to the scene.

Dan Mole reminded us that Makris is younger than Bakayoko and not everyone can have the impact of the likes of Rico Henry or Wayne Rooney.

--

When asked why the club didn't give Sheffield United more tickets, the Blades brought more than 2,500 supporters to Banks's Stadium last weekend, Stefan said that if the club had given them another set of tickets they would have had to move some home supporters and the Police bill would also have increased.

If the Blades had sold 500 extra tickets it would balance Policing costs, but Dan said that the club has to make a judgment call each time.

--

A supporter asked about the current kit supplier JD Sports/Carbrini but wasn't given a major response. It appears that the club will be using their 'out clause' which allows the club to end their current agreement early, and supporters should expect a new kit supplier to be revealed in the not too distant future.

--

There was also a discussion about supporters who are currently banned from games. - There is a very small percentage of supporters banned due to isolated but organised violence. The club aim to isolate the ringleaders but work with followers.

West Midlands Police are praised as the best Police force when it comes to their Football Unit.

The club are trying to develop more stewards who can do the job of those brought in from outside organisations.

--

The ground staff were praised for keeping the pitch in top condition. Recent investment is already showing improvement along with the covers which can protect against frost.

Aston Villa's Under 23s use of the pitch can cause the odd issue but the Saddlers' exit from the cups has also helped to preserve the playing surface.

--

The EFL will be holding a meeting at Banks's Stadium to discuss the EFL (Checkatrade) Trophy. It will take place on 11th April.

The trophy had been suffering before the recent changes with many suggesting that it be scrapped. But the tournament that we ended up with was not the one that is was discussed over the summer.

Stefan Gamble thinks it would be a shame to see the tournament disbanded, and Dan Mole admitted that while we dream of reaching the FA Cup Final, the EFL Trophy is currently the club's only realistic way of reaching Wembley.

Despite that, and with attendances often poor, the club have only ever made money from the tournament when they reached the final.

--

Commercial Manager Wayne Thomas is praised for his hard work since returning to the club. The scoreboard is also mentioned with the suggestion that there is plenty more scope for it to bring in extra revenue.

--

Stefan Gamble confirmed that the club does not have Chief Scout but do have a scouting network involving the coaches watching games and reporting back to the club. Also important to link up with local junior teams.

--

Former youth product Alex Reid is mentioned, the attacker recently completed a transfer from Rushall Olympic to Fleetwood Town. He wasn't good enough when he was with the club but progressed since his departure. Daniel Mole asks whether Reid is better than Bakayoko, the attendees concede that he isn't. Alex is wished well.

Cohen Bramall, who recently joined Arsenal from Hednesford Town, was also discussed. He was already out of our reach having trialled with clubs higher up the pyramid. The club are aware of players but there needs to be realism when it comes to negotiations and recruitment.

--

Stefan Gamble conceded that the club could do more to unearth potential players from Non-League football but that carries a risk. The club are comfortable with their current recruitment system especially as it allows them to give youth a chance. Something that would be scuppered if more signings were made.

--

The club continues to have a sell-on clause attached to Watford striker Troy Deeney. Dan Mole is (jokingly) disappointed that the forward didn't complete a big-money move to Leicester City, which would've seen the Saddlers collect a handsome sum.

--

Neil Cutler is on the same three-year deal that First-Team manager Jon Whitney is signed to.

--

The club are satisfied with the season overall and insist that it is unfair to compare this season to last. The current set-up is another long-term plan. As with Dean Smith, Jon Whitney has often been unfairly judged and needs to be given time.

Aside from the odd disappointing performance, the team is moving in the right direction as the squad continues to improve, especially with the likes of Florent Cuvelier and Isaiah Osbourne returning to full fitness.

It is hoped that performances will improve as the team continues to grow both on and off the pitch.

--

It was conceded that the club may have signed too many loan players, but with the new system banning players from joining outside of the transfer window it was felt that we needed to beef up the squad.

Scott Laird and Jason McCarthy are both praised. Laird has more than a year remaining on his deal with Scunthorpe United but the club will continue to monitor the situation.

--

The playing budget is discussed. It compares 'favorably' to last year. Numbers look good but the club still looks to split income with 50% going on infrastructure as the club looks to do things in a sustainable way.

--

The development of the away stand is discussed (once again). The club will not go ahead with it until attendances improve. Likely to be a constant question,unless we achieve promotion.

--

Stefan Gamble admitted that season tickets will be harder to sell this season than last. But Daniel Mole reminded us that not all of Dean Smith's five seasons were like the last. Sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture. It's a slow burner once again. The foundation is there and hopefully we will see the progression.

The club remains comitted to free football for under 18s. The rate of conversion from the free season tickets to the under 19s ticket is over 50%.

--

Clubs are limited to four games where they can offer discounts, such as the Schools Partnerships and/or Family Tickets as the FA/EFL deem it as detrimental to away supporters.

--

The club's Social Media output is praised as the best in League One and rivals many Championship sides. Dale Moon and Daniel Briggs are praised for their hard work.

--

Discussion switched back to the playing staff with Daniel Mole offering particular praise, especially as they are always happy to chat to fans. The Club always looking at exploring ways of interacting with supporters.

--

Club debt is discussed. The level of debt continues to reduce with loans now on regular repayment plans. Whenever there is money available the club will look to reduce debt.

--

The club expect to get another England Under 21s fixture following the success of the last one.

--

The 'promotion push' message which was released at the start of the season is mentioned. The club admit that it was ambitious, but not wrong. Promotion remains a possibility.

--

The loan market is discussed once again. Parent clubs will want a contribution to their players wages, especially as they can no longer re-call them outside of a transfer window. 

The club would never agree to give a loanee more playing time simply because the parent club wanted it to be stipulated, but clubs can suggest lower fees for more games.

--

Several other clubs were keen to take Jason McCarthy on loan in January but Southampton are satisfied with the progress he has made with out club.

--

Several more topics were discussed and we hope to have another update very soon!


LATEST

WALSALL 0 BURTON ALBION 0

About Bescot Banter

Bescot Banter is an independent look at Walsall Football Club


MORE OF THE LATEST HEADLINES
FIND US ON FACEBOOK, TWITTER & INSTAGRAM