Saddlers fans in sit-in protest

Scores of supporters staged a sit-in protest with one ejected for a 'freedom of speech' banner as Walsall FC fans vented their frustration at the club's ownership.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Temx2b1HRj8

Scores of supporters staged a sit-in protest with one ejected for a 'freedom of speech' banner as Walsall FC fans vented their frustration at the club's ownership.

Around 80 fans stayed inside the Banks's Stadium after the final whistle on Saturday to show their opposition to the running of the club.

They gathered in the Floors 2 Go stand for just under half-an-hour after the match against MK Dons in a protest at the lack of investment by chairman Jeff Bonser.

One supporter had tried to put up the 'freedom of speech' banner but was removed by stewards.

Stadium manager and safety officer Dave Storr said it had been a peaceful protest and people had left by their own accord by 5.20pm.

He added fans had behaved responsibly with no-one arrested.

Comments for: "Saddlers fans in sit-in protest"

Belgian Saddler

Freedom of Speach, you're having a laugh WFC. The image of that banner being ripped down by the stewards will live long in the memory of many and sums up everything that is wrong with the club. Shame on you but as usual WFC have managed to shoot themselves in the foot. That single action galvanised neutral fans into joining in the protest songs.

Apart from that incident Dave Storr and his team treated people with respect and got respect in return. I assume the powers that be will be hoping that things die down over the summer. This time I don't think they will. Well done to all involved. Whether you like it or not and no matter how many banners you wrip down freedom of speach is a fact so get used to it

Lilsnappa

The protest was not against the lack of funding, it was about the club stopping our freedom of speech.

Several fans have been banned from the ground so far simply for raising an opinion which goes against the 'all is rosy' message the club likes us to believe. Whether this is a correct view or not, people should have the freedom to say how they feel.

Lift the bans, communicate with the fans and all this can quite easily go away.

Keep the bans in place, continue to stonewall us and Unity will only grow in numbers and strength. I would leave my name but fear a ban would follow.

Massive thumbs up to Dave Storr and his team for a perfect hdnling of the after-match protest. Oh and I would also like to point out that no Unity members were on the pitch post game, we syated quite happily in the stands.

Up the Saddlers.

swampy saddler

80 protesters and 4772 in the ground, with 1000 or so from MKD, so the ratio isn’t exactly overwhelming is it?

I am not saying I don’t agree with the right to protest or even parts of the message that the Yellow boys are trying to convey, but I can’t help thinking that we are lucky to have a club that has been kept in the black.

Many clubs have owners who take money out of their clubs and let’s not forget JB put his money in at the beginning. WFC pays rent to A pension fund, not JB’s pension fund. And anyway that’s his business!

Yes, there is probably a case for non investment but may be Jeff Bonser hasn’t got £millions to pile into the club.

Investing in Football is a massive gamble and one that JB was prepared to take, added to by the fact that the club moved sites. If that gamble is paying him a fee, then so be it.

Also JB/the club should be allowed to do what ever they like with trying to generate additional revenues (market and social/conferencing), without everyone keep going on about it?

With all the above in mind, please remember we have a club with reasonable financial security, a Manager and Asst who are passionate football men and a team that is building some consistency.

In my opinion, people should stop trying to blow it apart, cos you won’t succeed, you will only end up with no club.

And lastly yes JB should engage more with fans! Maybe the new season will bring a new way of doing things……but the Yellow Boys are making that more difficult. Surely you can see that. JB isn’t going to walk without a buyer who will invest…..they few and far between at the moment and no one is going to look at a club in turmoil, cos money men don’t want the hassle.

So NEW SEASON…..NEW BEGINNINGS!

Stop the protests, stayaways COME ON BACK and lets show some UNITY!

UTS!!!! (35 years a supporter, seen all this before and will still be here when it’s gone away!)

Dave G

This was a major own goal by the club. The over-reaction by the club in banning fans and then the ejection from the ground of a fan for unfurling a banner smacks of overkill.

The protest is about the perpetual drain of resources from the club into Jeff Bonser's pension fun in the form of the annual rent but the more the club use the heavy handed approach in trying to crush supporters' protests and ignore the views of loyal fans, the more they will be persuading fans that there is something to hide.

I have been following the club for 35 years and can never remember this level of distrust between fans and club, even in the days of Ken Wheldon's attempt to move us to Birmingham to ground share many years ago.

swampy saddler

p.s THERE WAS A FOOTBALL MATCH AS WELL!!Thought the football was good on Saturday. Shame some of crowd weren't watching it. Special mention for my Man of the Match Daryl Westlake.

Well done lads and here's to next season.

BUILDING A CLUB TOGETHER! UTS!

imstillhoping

Belgian Saddler is spot on, this wi;; not go away.

The supporters of the club who will be there long after Bonser & Whalley are forgotten have a right to make there feelings of disatisfaction known.

Phil Burton

SWAMPY SADDLER...

PLEASE show me some proof that Walsall F.C are "in the black".

Regards,

Phil Burton

Kev

Swampysaddler why dont you post under your real name... Royston Whalley??

kev w

get real swampy in the black ?. as for bonser not have millions to spend richard money only needed a few quid and a little ambition and he would have taken us up into the championship.

Saddlertd

I have sympathy for both Unite and the Board. I think that the communication with fans is woeful and the grand-a-day rent is a big drain on funds for a club of Walsall's size. It also still sticks in many fans' craw that Bonser sold Scott Dann and did not replace him when we we're 4th in the table, thus effectively destroying our chances of at least getting into the play-offs. That was the last straw for many supporters: if the club has no ambition then what is the point of supporting them? I have some sympathy with the Board in that we have actually had a pretty good season (in the league anyway) and Chris Hutchings and Martin O'Connor have something to build on for next season. What happens in the summer is vital: the Board needs to provide funding for some quality additions, especially in midfield and communicate betetr with the fans. If this happens, then Unite needs to bury the hatchet and start getting behind the team.

Jason

This is the most balance post on here.

I would also ask the questions: if Bonser goes, who next? Where's the buyer. I'd like to see the Trust and/or Unity focus their efforts on finding this buyer - that would be productive.

Also this constant mention of the rent we have to pay - the alternative is a mortgage. We'd still have to pay the money.

I hope Unity achieves what it's name says - Unity. If they do that they will have done a tremendous job. And on the flip side, Whalley please put your dummy back in and rescind these silly, achieve-nothing bans.

tinned

Jason, the freehold was about £250k nearly 20 years ago, do you think we'd still be paying £392k a year on that mortgage if the club had been given the oppurtunity to purchase the freehold?

tinned

Beat me to it Phil.

Instead of peddling this all too often rubbish that we are in the black can we see some evidence of that. For my evidence I'd like to point you in the direction of the annual accounts which show a great big debt. Let's not let the truth get in the way of a poorly based argument though eh?

cliff

bonser and is gang of ... are killing the true fans.spend some of the money, not a lot but it will see you are trying to keep the fans happy or is to much for you to do.you must have made some over the sale of player, but as usual over the years we never see it go into the club. BONSER OUT

cliff

FREEDOM OF SPEACH NOT AT WALSALL F. C

steve

Let's be clear about this. These protests are not about lack of investment and the media must stop using this tag line. It gies the impression that Walsall fans are asking JB to irresponsibly chuck money at the club and that is not true.

The protest are about what some fans see as an unrealistic level of rent which stiffles the club leading it to have to be propped up financially and the discraceful approach to fans including th banning of fans for no other reason than expressing an opinion.

Just how is a banner saying freedom of speeach a protest about lack of investment.

With regards to some other posters asking for fans to seek to engage with the club, a number have had face to face meetings with the club to express their views about these bans only to see the club continue to refuse to listen and impose further bans.

The irresponsible approach being taken by the club with regards to communication (or lack of) with the fans is driving attendances down and down to a point that threatens the long term future of the club.

If the club continues to treat it's fans in this way it is they that will be responsible for the clubs inability to comete and it's ultimate destruction not fans who only seek to be actively involved with there club and are basically told to shut up or get lost.

Linda

As one of the protesters can I say we weren't protesting against the lack of investment BUT the fact we pay our no1 fan "a grand a day" to play at Bescot and banning fans for daring to have an opinion is down right disgusting!! The image of that banner being ripped down with live with me for a long time. Shame on you WFC

We are not as Swampy said in the black, we are running at a loss. why oh why can't people check the facts instead of listening to RW and JB telling us what a well run club we are

swampy saddler

Phil, Kev, Tinned.

It was a turn of phrase.....'in the black' being that we are afloat and in a reasonably solvent position! Any debt is offset to the value of the club anyway.

And who do you think is responsible for any debt at the club...........The Chairman has to take that responsibility. Not you or I, JB.

Look I am not unsympathetic to the protesters way of thinking, but all clubs have financing deals behind the scenes but some of our supporters seem intent on making the financing of the club all they talk about!

I too am frustrated at seeing talented youngsters sold on for next to nothing and never to really have found out whether the club receives sell on payments for likes of Dann & Fox......surely these should have been better done deals and the figures should be made public knowledge?

To my knowledge JB comes to most games, unlike many club Chairmen, he loves his football, but is firstly a businessman.

He is protecting his investment as best he can.

I think the current situation, as I said earlier (above) would be best sorted with better prepared and thought through dialogue from the Board and less 'Bonser Out' from Unity/Protesters.

THE ANSWER - I think maybe it's time for a new CEO at the club (sorry Roy) and that way maybe we can move onto better days!

UNITY is what we need, but if you are going to call the Protest group Unity, then why cause dis-unity?

I could go on, but think I might just get this thrown back in my face anyway.....>>>>

UTS!

Phil Burton

The club is not "in the black", no matter what spin you put on it.

The club has debts of £2.5m and real, tangible assets totalling less than that - see the last set of accounts for proof. Therefore the club is technically insolvent - another of your myths debunked.

Frankly, it doesnt matter who is responsible for the debt, debt is debt - I dont want my club to be in debt.

staffs saddler

yet you want the club to show ambition. ambition costs money paying off debts in some peoples eyes shows a lack of ambition

Phil Burton

Want to know what else costs money? The fact we dont own the freehold. Now, how did we go from owning our ground, to being tenants?

WalsallFan

Suggestion for all the protestors. If you are really unhappy with JB then either buy the club off him or locate someone who can afford to buy it otherwise it is unlikely you will actually achieve anything.

Shame that you appeared to be more interested in chanting against JB then supporting your team - how can you expect them to stay focused if you are booing.

Steve

If you knew anything about what is happening you would realise that work is already underway on this.

windowman

walsallfan wrote,booing; that is just a lie, at no point did the protest group boo, why lie

Walsall fan of old

I used to watch Walsall from 1977 through to the move to the Bescot Stadium when the thoughts and feelings of supporters were walked all over. A minor point but we, the fans were asked what we wanted from the new stadium, all we asked for was for the players to run out from the corner as at Fellows Park - this was totally ignored. Funny how this all coincided with Roy Whalley becoming Secretary. He is the man who has done most damage to this club. I watch from afar now but This man has destroyed all the old feelings that used to be there. No matter who comes in as manager, who buys the club etc etc - as long as Whalley is involved the club will never be allowed to move. He is a leech and get rid of him and you will find a totally different club emerges, one with the old family feel of old.

walsall fc supporter

the fans was not booing at the team the only time they was booing was when the stewards took the freedom of speech banner down and yes they do sing and get behind the team leased there is some fans that want this club to go forward

previous stay away

i think your find that on saturday that is the most people who have got behind the team for ages and same as the previous 2 home games. were did that noise come from unity members mainly we love the club and got behind the team and will continue to do so!

if people do not see that jb backs enough out the club with out taking the rent a true supporter would not do that

mel58

Just to endorse what others have said: the protest was not centred around "Lack of investment" - please try to be more comprehensive in the views you give on the reasons for the disquiet at Bescot.

Also, the 'wind-up merchant' who has chosen to post under the psuedonym 'Dave Roe' seems intent at simply stirring up conflict and confusion by posting contrary views to the widely-known Walsall poster of the same name. Pathetic.

saddlerjp

I would ask that if I newspaper is going to report on something to at least look into it properley and write an informed factual peice. Not just publish somthing for the sake of it which is not only factualy incorrect but serves no purpose