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Saddlers legend Jimmy Walker aims to save Pelsall Villa

Walsall | Sport | Published:

Walsall FC's all-time record appearance holder is stepping in to help save an amateur team on the brink of closure.

Pelsall Villa FC, which has been running for 116 years, will fold unless people come forward to help run the club and stump up cash.

Former Saddlers goalkeeper Jimmy Walker has offered to hold a sportsman's evening to raise money - and bosses have said his input could save the club.

He was contacted by the club on Twitter and said he would like to get involved.

It is hoped Mr Walker, who made 534 appearances for Walsall, will appear at an event at Pelsall Social Club in late July and details are being arranged in the coming days.

Player manager Andrew Bentley said: "He asked if there was anything he could so it looks like he will do this evening for us.

"Usually it can cost up to a couple of thousand pounds to get a speaker in and organise it, so this would save us money and bring a lot in, which would sort us out for a while."

Members of the public have also emailed club chiefs offering to help at the ground since the Express & Star reported on their plight last week.

Mr Bentley added: "Some people have said they could come and help so it's starting to look better now. It's all hands on deck because we have so much to do and not enough people."

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Plans for the future will be drawn up at a public meeting on June 12 at 7.30pm at Pelsall Villa's Bush ground.

The stand was recently revamped using grants but the club has fallen into disarray as former players Mark Bentley and Shaun Mason struggle to take on all the roles themselves.

There has also been a dispute over use of the dressing rooms, which are leased from Pelsall Cricket Club.

Mr Bentley said they hope the two clubs will work together to find a solution.

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He warned some 'tough decisions' will have to be made at the upcoming meeting at the Bush Ground in Walsall Road.

Records show that football was played in Pelsall as long ago as 1898.

The two world wars meant football took a back seat for a few years, but the club reformed in 1961, which heralded the start of Pelsall Villa as it is known today. The club attracted one of its biggest attendances in 1991 when Aston Villa stars turned out for a match celebrating floodlights being installed at the ground.

The team went on to enjoy one of its most successful periods – getting within three games of making it to Wembley Stadium in the FA Vase in 1992/93 before narrowly losing out to an extra-time own goal at the hands of Buckingham Town.

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