Walsall FC in talks on Coventry ground-share

Plans for Walsall FC to stage Coventry City matches at the Banks’s Stadium were believed to have taken a leap forward today, with talks reported to have started.

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The Saddlers refused to deny the discussions had taken place, although they rejected claims they have agreed a deal for the Sky Blues to play at the Banks’s from next season.

Coventry want to build a new stadium, which would take three years, after financial problems saw them leave the Ricoh Arena at the end of the season. They need a temporary venue while building work is carried out and the Banks’s has been identified as a suitable temporary solution.

Reports from Coventry last night claimed the Sky Blues were in advanced talks over a three-year agreement to play at the Saddlers’ home while their new stadium is built.

Walsall officials today would not deny discussions had taken place but issued a statement insisting it was premature to say a deal had been reached. The statement said: “Walsall FC are categorically denying that a three-year deal to ground-share with Coventry has been agreed.”

Coventry chief executive Tim Fisher today confirmed the club are seeking a ground-share but refused to confirm or deny talks with the Saddlers were under way.

Any move is likely to meet with resistance from Sky Blues fans angry at the prospect of their club moving out of its home city.

The Banks’s Stadium is 27 miles by road from the Ricoh, meaning season ticket holders would be forced to travel an extra 621 miles per season.

More than 10,000 Sky Blues fans have already signed a petition against the club ground-sharing outside the city. Coventry moved to the Ricoh from Highfield Road in 2005, their home for the previous 106 years.

But the last few seasons have seen them mired in financial trouble and the rent dispute with Ricoh owners Arena Coventry Limited overshadowed action on the pitch for most of last season.

Do you support a ground share? Vote in our poll below.

Comments for: "Walsall FC in talks on Coventry ground-share"

Super Saddler

Categorically no!

We are a club that is proud of how we are ran.

If Coventry are allowed to play here then surely that is a contradiction to what Jeff Bonser has echoed all these years about his hard stance on punishment for clubs failing to pay their way?!

Whilst I dont want to see a club like Coventry fall out of existence I dont want my beloved club start a financial war with Coventry when they refuse to pay their share of the rent to use the stadium.

Surely Coventry would be more suited to playing at Hinkley, Nuneaton or even the now defunct Rushden and Diamonds?

Lee

if they share the ground, the pitch will be knackerd before half way through the season, our pitch cant handle it, if they pay for under ground heating n whatnot, maybe, but otherwise, walsall should tell them to get stuffed !

Jayallsey

The pitch is already knackered

Darkosblisteringpace

Don't have a problem with it as long as the playing side of the club derives some financial benefit ! Possibly wishful thinking I fear

kenco

Surly this just has trouble written all over it as if coventry do well then they are likely to fill and abuse the stadium also doesnt bode well as maybe walsall need the extra cash but been in the same league and all i wouldn't share. also agree that the pitch should stay in the same city as can reasonably be done...

Wulvzs

How about Molineux, we've got loads of capacity!

Good for Walsall,not sure about Coventry

bazrat

I think its a good idea saves us wolves fans some petrol money

saddled with covenry

only way walsall will fill their ground apart from when wolves come mind you cannot see pitch lasting 46 games on it . it's not the best over 23 games

Dan

surely more games on a pitch that is normally knackered by christmas anyway is going to hinder the way we want to play?? unless they are prepared to pay for a new and better pitch installation so it can handle the amount of games being played i'd tell em to get stuffed for fear of it affecting our football and forward movement as a club! this is their mess, why should we clean it up??

Craig

As long as we don't have to sit in the away end when we play Coventry at home then I don't care.

I'd make part of the contract that Coventry have to pay for maintenance on the pitch, including one of those lamp things that fools the grass into growing, they have them in the Premiership.

I'd take anyone's money, can't wait for the Wolve's to fill Bescot so we can take their money too, as long as they leave three points!

graham williams

its ok to say it will benefit Walsall fc financially but would you say that if the roles were reversed Walsall groundshare with Coventry in coventryt ....PLEASE SAY NO and encourage fellow supporters to follow suite

Saddler

Don't like the sound of this. Sure, it's extra money (although whether the actual team would see any of it is another story) but the problem is the pitch, by the end of February this year is was knackered, imagine what three games a week would do to it!

The fact is, we shouldn't be made to suffer for a team who couldn't pay their debts yet still paid money for loan players like Clarke to boost their promotion hopes, despite playing in a ground they couldn't pay for. Frankly, I think CCFC are an example of everything that's going wrong with football at the moment. I wouldn't want them to go out of existence because of the fans, but at the same time I don't see why we should suffer next season because they can't pay their way.

Penhevad

Ticketing arrangements for the 'away' game will be interesting to see - the stewards are going to love the friendly, integrated, derby atmosphere I'm sure!

Matty

NOT coventry fans fault but what ever is name is shouldnt of put coventry in the position were they dont no were they coming or going.

Its very un selfish on what they have done

But how i see it coming to walsall is a bad idea because for one, the pitch will be like a dirt track by christmas.

If coventry said to bonser (walsall charmain) we will pay half for a good pitch to last for the season, (if they can afford it) you can have the income from coventry fans (if they turn up) and have the income from car park charges then they can come to walsall anytime they want.

But other than that its a no!!

From a super saddler!

Sadsfan

So, we are thinking about a ground share with a club that has just been placed into administration for failing to pay the rent?

That sounds like it will be a risky strategy. Also, the pitch has been in a terrible condition after just 23 home games this season, imagine it after 46! I think this is mere postulating by Mr Fisher who is clearly angling for a vast reduction in the rent at the Ricoh. However, if the club do accept the groundshare with Coventry I suspect that would further exacerbate the negative feelings between the fans and Mr Bonser. Geoff, all that glitters is not gold.

Daz Anslow

I'm 100% against a ground share with any club, never mind a club in same League as us (Walsall). It's a no brainer that the pitch won't be able to stand up to a match being played there every week and it's doubtful that the facilities (food kiosks, toilets etc) at the ground could cope with he number of Coventry fans either. What's more, do the people of Walsall really want 8-10,000 Coventry City fans taking over the town every other weekend? I certainly don't!

mrb

i totally agree no share no matter what they offer

graham williams

great comment ,,this is what all the fans in Coventry hope hyou Walsall fans relay to the Walsall management...this issue is because of the present ccfc directors and owners sisu.....SISU ARE NOT WELCOME IN COVENTRY >>>>relay this to fellow Walsall fans WE DO NOT WANT GROUNDSHARE

worzel999

We'll have to be careful, they are not good at paying their rent, just ask the Ricoh landlords!!

WFC dies again

And to think I was starting to believe in Walsall FC again and believed things were actually changing.

Commitment to our new football philosophy lasted all of a year and then sold down the river for 30 pieces of silver.

All that took about proper financial management of clubs was obviously just that talk and taking us fans for mugs. To think it was actually something we fans also preached to other club's fans, taking some form of moral high ground. Well this make both the club and us look like hypocritical liars.

Us a club that puts the community at it's heart? Don't make me laugh, totally willing to deal with a bunch who have admitted trying to sent a kids charity business bust.

I was coming back to Walsall next season after 3 years away because I was starting to believe again, well if this goes ahead then forget that, obviously nothing's changed.

Navysaddler

Walsall FC would be a lot more successful without fans like you. You are quite clearly reacting to speculation, not facts. Watch Walsall for the quality football, support your club,

Walsall support the local community, (decrease ticket pricing for Juniors, Match experience days, up to 1000 school kids on certain match days FACT

Walsall obtain a 15% profit and do not spend above the league wage structure unlike Swindon, Brentford, Doncaster, Bournemouth, Coventry

The Club is one of the best run in the league and region FACT.

INVESTMENT in Youth and training facilities, coaching and management staff tying good players into long term contracts. We are improving and our league position this season reflects that.

This deal will not happen, but if it did, its fans like you with your cr@p fickle nature that cause it to happen by staying away. DONT COME BACK because you will be the one missing out next season when we play some of the best football in years.

As for all other west-midland football fans, come support a local rising football team with modest ticket prices and better football than dished up by Wolves and Birmingham.

Sky Blue Thinker

I think this could be a good move for Coventry.

We could move in with Walsall, like as a lodger. But as the bigger and more important club, we could gradually muscle them out, say by investing in a new stand or something. Finally kick them out, and we'll have got ourselves a new stadium for next to nothing, and its only a few junctions up the M6.

Robbie Dazzler

haha, quality comment!

Nat Swift

U'd have riots before that happened.

Walsallwonder

'll make the home and away fixtures interesting!!! I don't think I'd like to see a Coventry fan sitting in my seat when Walsall technically play Coventry away!

Totally agree about the state of the pitch. We struggled with it this season so more playing on it will ruin it.

If we do share I hope the coventry fans respect our stadium as much as we do. Coventry have a much bigger fan base than Walsall so more facilities will be needed.

Dog Brains

For every paying Coventry fan a Saddler should get a free pass. Sorted.

Me

I'm sure the Bescot would be able to handle all the Coventry fans. After all, its built to put 11,000 people in. Are Coventry planning to bring more? Because there aren't any more seats. Fair point about the pitch.

graham williams

to all Walsall fans this is a Coventry fan here who wants it known that firstly Coventry fans do not want to get into a war of any sort with our neighbours Walsall fc whetherthat be fans or club...as stated in this local press we do not want to leave the city of Coventry to watch football ..we are being told by sisu the football club owners that we have played our last game at the ricoh and that wer in talks with Walsall fc to groundshare with Walsall fc and rebuild a new Coventry stadium on the outskirts in a project called HIGHFIELD 2 and this stadium /ground would open in 3 years....pleasre could all Walsall fans therefore protest to your club NO TO GROUNDSHARE and also to the Coventry telegraph petition SAVE OUR CITY .fans together in a situation like this can be 1...for the bebefit and support of both clubs as well

Penhevad

No problem with yourself, or any of the long suffering fans that would be prepared to make the trip each time Graham.

Groundsharing is never popular with any fanbase is it! I hope you can find another way. Good luck with it all.

s3s

It's a done deal,welcome Coventry

Mark b

As a long term season ticket sufferer of CCFC I along with every fan I know would not contemplate supporting our beloved and beleaguered at the banks stadium apart from at the aw ay game.All the best.

Berks Boy

Makes perfect financial sense for both clubs.

Modern pitches can handle extra games (e.g. rugby played at Wigan, Wycombe & Reading's grounds).

NICK

You obviously never attent matches at the ground then !

graham williams

THANKS FOR REPLY PENEVAD...yes thanks for reply to my comments.hopefully the news that the administrator has comfirmed that 8 bidders so far have put in a bid and deadline is 30th may...football league involved as well so hopefully this bum deal sprouted by our owners will be null and void...if so groundshare hopefully will be avoided...all the best next season

graham williams

BERKS BOY...if you remember ricoh arena was used for the Olympic football ..after 12 games being played on it pre season the pitch then was finished by Christmas so you could imagine what week in week out games would do to the bescott...think you will find its a none deal of groundsharing and its being sprouted by our lying owners...PLEASE GET IT THROUGH TO FELLOW SADDLERS FANS IN SISU DO NOT TRUST

Norton Rob

I'm all for anything that brings additional finance to Walsall FC, but like previous comments, I don't believe this would benefit Dean Smith and his team building. Players such as Febian Brandy and Jamie Patterson are not going to fancy playing on a pitch which after a dozen or so games is shot to pieces, so that could influence their decision about whether to leave the club. Also, I would have serious doubts about whether the Coventry owners could be trusted to meet any financial agreement in the light of recent events at the Ricoh.

astleistheking

It depends on what type of pitch you have there? The amount of revenue that will go your way will make a hell of a difference. I can only assume you will be paid rent as well as gate revenue. That plus food and drink sales can help. Plus boost the local economy with travel, amenities etc....

Bescot market trader

Coventry are in a financial mess!! They can't afford nothing let alone rent a ground! Typical walsall selling there arse for a fiver!! After the feel good factor of last season and the optimism the new season brings we decide to take steps back and let someone else play on pitch etc etc. let alone a rival. Typical walsall 1 step forward n 10 back

astleistheking

I think you mean they can't afford anything. Can't afford nothing is a double negative.

WWFCMe

Can't understand why the Walsall fans are unhappy about Coventry fans sitting in their seats as there are plenty of spare seats at a Walsall home game as they only get a couple of thousand fans normally!!!

Have a nice weekend!!

Bilston Saddler

Im sure the custard bowl will be packed to the rafters next seaon for each game

WFC sell out

Must be some consultation to know that WWFC aren't the only ones with a management team capable of making stupid decisions which ultimately cost their club.

DannyWS10

WWFCMe - Idiot.

What club is closing their new stand because they were relegated again.

Oh yeah, that's right, that 'massive' club down the road in Wales... World Beaters you know. Played Honved once.

Love the Wolves fans and their 'we'm bigger than yow, so we can say wot we want' mentality. Erm, You lot are in the same league as us next year, and will have a half emtpy ground. Lets just hope that you have a good season and finish top half... dont want to see Wolves fans suffer. Again.

astleistheking

I like your style

In moxey we trust

So that's the same sort of crowd as the massive wolves got last time they played in this league.

Dinglespaz

Wolves wouldn't fill bescot next season.

Gaza

great idea to ground share put two poor teams into one ground if they played at the same time they still wouldn't fill the

ground.

Blocko Saddler

I agree with the comment about so much for our new footballing philosophy. "We're trying to do things the right way - at least until we get the smell of a few £50 notes wafting about".

The pitch won't cope.

We can't trust Coventry to pay

It ruins our moral high ground on these cheating clubs

The fact that another club may pay less than we do to play at the same ground will only further fuel resentment between club and fans.

How many more reasons to the club want to say "No!"?

Chalkie

It will be good to have decent home team playing at walsall for a change and surely the little club could do with the extra revenue too!

sexyswift07

if it goes ahead, will any of the season ticket holders get a reduction in their ticket prices? I for one am not prepared to pay full price if i have to share my seat. As it is it costs me more to travel to the matches from where i live than the season ticket itself. And as others have already said the pitch is in a bad enough state as it is with just us playing their let alone another team

David

Jeff Bonser may not be popular, but he's not stupid. If a ground share deal gets done it will be on his terms and conditions.

I would make sure Coventry's rent to us paid for our rent to Bonser, there would also be provisions to either re-lay the pitch after Christmas or they can pay for under-soil heating. Playing 50 odd games on last seasons pitch would not be realistic or acceptable.

Lady

Ground share !

Why don't Walsall get all the guys who attend the Sunday market to attend their matches this will treble their attendances and income !!!

Saddler

Why don't Wolves go and repeat their efforts of the last 2 years and do us all a favour....

Big saddler

Don't confuse the dingles even more.

That's 4 buses they'll have to catch to bescot and back.

Dave from Nuneaton

Walsall fans

You are on the up I am a Sky Blues fan things couldn,'t get any worse, my advice do not go anywhere near SISU they will shaft you all the way to their bank. They have no regard for anyone in football this will be the biggest mistake in the history of your proud club, raise your voices in the best possible way let us stand together as real fans I ask you to stand with me and join the petition for CCFC to play at the RICOH,

Best of luck for next season, You are a proud midlands club please stay that way.

Graham

Would it not make more sense for Coventry to ground share with the baggies or Birmingham as they have grounds bigger than ours which would accommodate coventrys larger fan base

steve

They won't be getting large crowds if this goes ahead, they get something like ours.

Baggies and Blues are probably doing what we should be doing and concentrating on building their clubs and steering well clear of a company that uses courts as a standard business tool rather than a mechanism to resolve disputes.

CornishSwift

Though dont like the idea, the extra revenue will be invaluable to Walsall and hopefully avoid the annual sale of our best palyers as we try and push forward and build a better team for a solid Championship challenge. Would be great to hear a commitment from Bonser that any extra money this generates will be reinvested into the club - either in players or infrastructure; and not a top up to his pension fund.

Jack Reacher

Saddler and big saddler the comments above are not from a Wolves fan I'm a season ticket holder at MAN UTD I could not careless about your little club you need to concentrate your directors thoughts on your club, going forward in stead of negative comments by your manager he will only make Wolves more determined to beat you.

James Barr

I agree with Jack Reacher for once these teams are losses !!!!

Hey Jack how you doing ?