Walsall back Steve Jenkins' vision

Walsall Council were today facing mounting pressure to bid for the Banks’s Stadium after the Saddlers backed Steve Jenkins’ vision.

Walsall Council were today facing mounting pressure to bid for the Banks’s Stadium after the Saddlers backed Steve Jenkins’ vision.

The club have broken their silence over the proposal by music producer and fan Jenkins for the council to own the ground, with chief executive Stefan Gamble labelling it a “unique opportunity.”

The stadium has been on the market for two months but the local authority rejected the idea last week, insisting they had to cut £70million from their budget.

But lifelong fans Jenkins, a former managing director of Jive Records who has worked with Britney Spears, wants to safeguard the club’s future and his idea now has the backing of the club.

Gamble said: “Since the announcement that the freehold was to be put on the market, it has always been my belief the ownership of the stadium should remain within the town.

“This represents a unique opportunity for the council to purchase one of the town’s most valuable community assets and safeguard hundreds of local jobs.

“We welcome Steve Jenkins’ call for the council to purchase the freehold of the Banks’s Stadium site and, in effect, secure the long term future of the club and league football within the town for generations to come.

“The benefits of council ownership, not only for the club, but the council itself are significant.

"The importance of the club to the town should not be underestimated.”

The land is likely to top £5million and there is believed to be other interest.

Gamble realises money is tight at the council but believes the stadium would be an asset.

He said: “The club is in a very strong position financially and is not looking for a ‘hand-out’ by the council or anyone else.

“I am fully aware the council faces stringent budget constraints and cuts, including job losses, but the purchase of the freehold represents a very sound financial investment.

“This investment could actually cut right across the difficult issues currently faced by the council.

“The rental income, which is linked to RPI, would offer any investor a significant return on their investment.

“The council could apply to borrow from the Prudential Fund so any purchase would be no burden whatsoever on local tax payers.

“If you consider the level of rental income this would mean, the council could generate additional funds to be reinvested into the community.”

Comments for: "Walsall back Steve Jenkins' vision"

Dippy

Did the Council not 'gift' the ground to the club back in 1990? Now you want them to buy it back for £5million. Dont hold ya breaths.

Wayne Swift

I know it's been mentioned many times on fans forums, and amongst the "Internet" community, but for the thousands of Walsall Fans that just do not access the Internet, the whole situation is new information for them. It would be interesting to get a view or opinion of the wider community regarding the worrying situation the club finds itself in regarding the freehold issue, and mounting rent payments! Perhaps the Express & Star could do some sort of a poll?

desben

As someone working in the public sector it would take over 12 months for the council to approve the funding of a £5 million project. It may gain 2000 voters, but it could lose many more who couldn't give a monkeys about football in walsall and wouldn't be too pleased with the council under financial limitations 'wasting' there money on kicking a bit of leather round a bit of grass.

Simon Williams

It could be sorted by a council in eight weeks. How do I know - I headed the external funding teams in two councils and now work as a consultant. The business case is simple - income exceeds interest and capital repayments. Venue can be marketed further. The KEY is to ensure that football operations and venue operations are stand alone from each other. The venue should operate without football if the case arises. Income from venue cannot be used to subsidise football - but could be used for Football in the Community activities. Cabinet member for finance should be able to sort this out.

Voter

So all along its a front for Bonser.

How disappointing.

Rogsaddler1

Aren't we in danger of losing sight of the ball? It matters not who owns the freehold. The real problem is the half a million quid plus draining out of the club every year. Money which could be used on the field! Perhaps those with a combination of money and "the club's interests at heart" could pool their resources to buy the ground and let the club use it for a peppercorn rent on a long term lease. If I win the Euromillions jackpot this week, I'll do it myself.

Jimbob

So when JB had the land owned by a pension fund he was the devil himself, but if they council refuse to do the same thing, they are? Too many Walsall fans have nailed this coffin shut with their anti owner protests!!!

amialrightoverhere

it sums up the current state of society when our football club sold the previous ground to finance the building of bescot stadium, a ground which the do not own..... its typical of modern day society that the owner jeff bonser has benefited to the tune of £10million pounds from his original purchase of the freehold rather than reducing the size or cost of building of the stadium so that the club could afford the freehold and therefore own the ground it plays in..... but no ever a business man and spotting the main chance he buys it to provide himself and his family with a tidy income...... how different it was during the days of fellows park, the ground at fellows park was gifted to the football club by mr h.l. fellows for the benefit of the people of walsall...... a true altruistic man... not a term you would use to describe the current chairman.

Phil Hopkins

What is the relevence in this argument that Mr Jenkins as worked with Britany Spears and it qualifies him as being the ultimate visionary.(give it rest the line is boring).

If he is so successful in his proffessional life he should splash his own cash and not encourage Walsall rate payers to fund this project for the satisfaction of a few thousnd football fans.

The council is skint they do not need this at a time when there is more responsile issues to sort out.

What is the sense in exchanging the current landlord for the same set up when the real problem is the cash being paid out every year in rent,whereby the need is to stop the drain on the cash resources.

l m worried now that Stefan Gamble is being sucked on board when he should be seeking the alternative option (perhaps he s getting the Brittnay Spears effect).

Steve Jinks get your cheque book out and make the investment of a life time.

DaveH

Am I missing something ? If The Council borrow money to buy the ground which will cost acording to Steve Jenkins about £250,000 per year & the football club continue to pay upwards of £400,000 per year thus giving the Concil a profit. Why can not the club itself borrow the money to buy the ground & reduce the clubs overhead by the diferance in the cost of borrowing against the curent cost of the rent.

Thus possably allowing this money to be spent on the team.

NICK

Yes we get the message , Steve worked with Britney Spears ! maybe he should have a chat with her and she if she'll give him the money towards buying the club !

Saddler

The fact that many of the people above are using phrases like"expect the taxpayer to fund" shows that they do not understand what is being proposed.

Let's get this straight, no-one is asking the tax payer to foot the bill for anything.

Whilst some of these knee jerk reactions are understandable in the current financial climate, people need to understand that this is not some kind of bail out where the tax payer pays. Why not find out more about what is being talked about before writing it off.

What this is about is safeguarding the football clubs existance, safe guarding jobs both at the club and possibly at the council, safe guarding services to the community, and bringing extra income to the Council without increasing your Council tax, plus many other benefits.

It potentially will help reduce further cuts and will not in put the cost on the tax payer.

Ask yourself why so many other authorities are entering into these type of agreements and not just connected with sport, then ask why Walsall Council aren't investigating alternatives to just more cuts and increased taxes.

Pete

It will never happen ... END OF!!!

Jim Allen

Well Simon (#4) as a council tax payer I do hope that Walsall Council don't engage you as a consultant on this.

There has been much ridiculous talk on this issue. The council can't afford the land. The money available for loans is not for projects such as this, but genuine infrastructure investment.

Olympic stadiums with massive investment into local communities is one thing, a major base for investment from outside parties, a bridge a road or an airport is something else, a few school visits and some part time work for some schoolkids forced to buy their own uniforms is nothing in comparison.

Please Express & Star do some decent journalism and don't waste our time, money and paper resources.

Please Steve Jenkins please do not waste council workers time and have them running about on a wild goose chase.

Please Walsall Fans don't be so easily led or try and get your own mucky faces in the trough.

Please Walsall Council please do whatever is necessary to close this diversion as quickly as possible.

Please whoever owns the land, try and do the decent thing for the borough and not hold it to ransom.

Penhevad

I agree with Jim Allen that there has been much rediculous talk on this. Opinions such as his offered in ignorance of any real awareness of options or insight. Just because a solution may ultimately not be achievable doesn't make proper examination of an idea worthwhile. Lazy minds never achieve and there are plenty of those around.

Jim Allen

I've seen the light.

Penhevad's enlightened, reasoned, educated and non-personal post has convinced me totally.

So today I rang up Walsall Council's Navel Gazing Department headed up by Mr. Heath Robinson to look into this plan. Unfortunately there was no capacity in the team so we have engaged Mr Simon Williams, reknowned consultant, to undertake the project. It is estimated it will take eight weeks and at a cost of only £30,000. Oh and his suport staff, managemtn time, legal consultations and all the other things that need to be taken into consideration. Ok so it may cost 50K or take time resources away from areas where they are needed but at least we'll have investigated something that any finance officer will tell you is not possible.

I'm convinced. I believe. I've now got my diploma signed by Walter Mitty and I'm ready to take on the world!!!

Penhevad

I'm sure you did all that Jim. You seem to be easily convinced - take care .

robo

I too should I win the euro millions will buy the land and lease it to the club on a lease to buy scheme and once paid the club would then own the land.