Banks's Stadium: Walsall Council Leader Won't Rule Out Potential Purchase

Walsall Council leader Mike Bird, who leads Walsall Council following the recent local elections, admitted that a potential purchase of Walsall FC's Banks's Stadium is an attractive prospect for the council, but insisted that a move is not currently on the agenda.
Mr. Bird, who represents the local Conservatives group, admitted that he had discussed the sale the stadium with Saddlers chairman Jeff Bonser on several occasions and believes that a purchase makes sense for the council, especially since the previous Labour regime made the decision to buy the Saddlers Centre for a deal believed to be worth around £13,000,000.

Councillor Bird, who speaking via the Express & Star, believes that the income the Banks's Stadium generates makes a purchase less risky, he said; "I have had that conversation on many occasions with Jeff Bonser. The income on the Banks’s Stadium would be a far better option than buying a retail centre. There are always choices and the choices we make is what people measure us on. But it is not on the agenda at the moment."

When pressed on the possibility of a move being on the agenda in the future, the paper reports that Councillor Bird said it ‘could be’.

Walsall FC's Supporters' Trust has recently made moves to protect the ground and surrounding land by successfully applying to have the area listed as an 'Asset of Community Value' which will mean that the Trust must be informed if an offer is made and will then have six months to put together a bid of their own.

A spokesperson for Walsall FC insisted that the club would welcome discussions with the Council and continue to believe that ownership of the Stadium should remain in the borough, and said in a statement; "Walsall Football Club would welcome discussions with Walsall Council over the sale of the freehold of the Banks’s Stadium. As a community focused club we believe, if the freehold is to be sold, it would be beneficial to keep ownership within the borough and in-turn safeguard the long-term future of the club."

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