ISSA Statement: Peaceful Protest Planned ISSA Statement: Peaceful Protest Planned

ISSA Statement: Peaceful Protest Planned

A peaceful protest is planned ahead of this weekend's League Two meeting with Tranmere Rovers.
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The Independent Saddlers Supporters' Association has issued a statement calling on supporters to join them in staging a peaceful protest before the Saddlers take on Tranmere Rovers this weekend.

The protest comes as the newly manager-less Saddlers sit just four points above the League Two drop zone following a run of seven consecutive defeats, a run which is the latest in a long line of dismal displays.
 
Beginning at the Railway Club on Wednesbury Road, the ISSA hope to see as many fans as possible as they make their way to Banks's Stadium ahead of kick-off, with club officials hopefully taking notice of supporters' feelings following many months of turmoil.

Along with the ongoing dismal form, the protest is also designed to demonstrate fans dissatisfaction with the way the club is being run, with stadium conditions, matchday experience and a lack of communication amongst a plethora of issues currently surrounding the club.
 
Initially published via a thread on Up the Saddlers, the ISSA confirm; The Independent Saddlers Supporters Association would like to propose a peaceful protest before and after the Tranmere Rovers game this Saturday, 12th February 2022.

The protest is to display our dissatisfaction with the way our club is being run and how we are being treated as supporters. The list of concerns is continually increasing and supporters concerns are being brushed aside.

Our Club has been in decline for some years now and if changes aren’t made it will continue to decline further. The Club has gambled with our Football League status two January’s running, whilst seemingly being oblivious to the danger. It surely should matter more to a board that has self-confessed lifelong supporters on it. Falling out of the Football League would be a complete disaster. It is questionable if we would ever recover from it.

The feeling that the Club only exists to pay the rent and make a small profit each year has never been more prominent. From messages we receive from disgruntled fans, reading social media and the Walsall family we meet at games it is clear that many Walsall supporters will not be renewing season tickets, with many considering walking away altogether because they are fed up with the same old cycle and the feeling they are being treated with contempt. That their views aren’t valued and their support isn’t appreciated. Walsall supporters have arguably invested more financially over decades than most of the board put together. They have certainly invested more emotionally.

Long term concerns and complaints about the matchday experience remain unsolved. Every single aspect has a knock-on effect. For example, how many parents would not consider coming back if they have to walk through urine to take their children to the toilet? If the Club are serious about increasing attendances and making progress, then they have to do better in all areas.

The danger of relegation appears to have dawned on the board with the sacking of Matt Taylor. The blame can not be put on one man though. All of the above has played a part in us getting here. The question also needs to be asked why Jamie Fullarton is being entrusted to choose our next head coach when he has played such a big part in our latest failure. He chose Matt Taylor and was also the man who put together the squad which was clearly unbalanced and had gaping holes. He told us not to panic if players left in January as he had players lined up. We lost two attacking players and signed one who has yet to kick a ball for us. We were told that we would only sign players with the right characters but there are clearly question marks about the character of some of our signings. Surely he has to be held accountable equally as much as Matt Taylor.

There are questions about the appointment of the Supporters liaison officer. Nothing against him personally. However, he was not chosen by Walsall Supporters and could be seen as a safe pair of hands for the club.

The past two years have proved beyond doubt that a football club is nothing without supporters. It has been a time of uncertainty like we have never known in our lifetime. The way Walsall supporters came together during the darkest days of the pandemic was a thing of real beauty. People lost their jobs and businesses. No one knew what the future held. Despite this, a reported 90% of season ticket holders left their money in the club. No one knew if and when they would see a football kicked live again. This could be for be for no other reason than for their love of Walsall F.C. Beyond this there was a fundraiser where supporters put the cost of the money they would have spent at the match in on a weekly basis to support the club further. A working task force of Walsall supporters gave up their time to do jobs at the ground.

After the disaster of last season when relegation from the Football League was far too close for comfort, we were promised that lessons had been learned and it would never happen again. Supporters bought into all that came out of the club and season ticket sales were reported to be up by over 20%. Yet here we are again in real danger of going out of the football league.

We feel now is the time we have to stand together and fight for positive change at the club we love so much. For all the supporters that give their time, money and devotion. For all the Saddlers who are no longer with us who showed us the way, who we spent our time following Walsall with making memories that will live with us forever. And for the children who we are trying to encourage to be lifelong Walsall supporters, so they can experience a brighter future following Walsall Football Club. We simply can’t sit back and watch the Club we love die in front of our eyes.

The planned protest will be a march from the Railway Club on Wednesbury Rd, Walsall WS1 4JG. We are asking people who wish to join the march to assemble at the Railway Club from 12.30 PM on Saturday. We plan to leave at 2 PM and assemble outside the main entrance at the ground around 2.15 PM. Anyone who wishes to join us but doesn’t want to walk is welcome to join us at approximately 2.15 pm at the main entrance at the ground. We then plan to meet again at the same spot after the game, regardless of the result.

This is not a protest against the team. The team needs our support more than ever right now. We urge as many people as possible to go and give their support to the team. We must also state that this must be a peaceful protest.

We understand that not everyone will want to support the protest, and we totally respect that decision. We ask that those who wish to show their concerns be given the same respect.

We urge as many of you as possible to come and join us.
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