'We want our Walsall back': 100 Saddlers fans protest at way club is run - with VIDEO
About 100 Walsall fans joined a protest outside the Bank's Stadium this afternoon chanting "We want Bonser out" and "We want our Walsall back" in protest at the way their club is being run.
Initially the protest drew fewer than 20 supporters as the match against Oxford kicked off but more joined them from inside the ground as the game reached 80 minutes, with the Saddlers eventually going on to win 2-1.
Season ticket holders had been urged to leave the ground in the 80th minute in support of the campaign, which was backed by Walsall Supporters Trust, and protest organiser David Olly Beckett thanked them for leaving the match to support the boycott, which will be repeated at every home match.
Mr Beckett, one of the driving forces behind the protest, said the main issue was the fact Jeff Bonser owned the club and the ground as two separate entities.
Mr Beckett argued that not enough money was pumped into strengthening the team from the lucrative commercial events held at the ground, which is advertised as WFC The Venue.
He told the Express & Star: "For us the way Jeff Bonser owns the club has always been simmering in the background.
"It is a football club, it has always been a football club for the community of the town of Walsall.
"Jeff Bonser has decided to rebrand it as Walsall The Venue.
"Year on year we have become tired of the Walsall FC playing side being treated as an add-on to the commercial business.
"It is no longer run as a football club.
"When we left Fellows Park we were told we would no longer be at the mercy of one man and the fans would be able to play a bigger part.
"That has never materialised."
In 2016 Walsall FC paid £440,000 in rent to a pension fund ran by Suffolk Life, in which Walsall chairman Jeff Bonser is a beneficiary, money which many fans believe should be spent on bolstering the team.
Mr Beckett added: "Ultimately the aim is to reunite this club's ownership with its own ground and regain the true identity firstly as a football club, not a banqueting facility or a comedy gala venue. The fans are sick and tired of the football side having to beg for crumbs from Jeff Bonser's banqueting table."