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Stefan Gamble: Walsall have a competitive budget

By Joseph Masi | Walsall FC | Published: | Last Updated:

Walsall have a budget to be competitive in League One next season, chief executive Stefan Gamble has declared.

Walsall chief executive Stefan Gamble

The Saddlers, who are known to operate on one of the lowest budgets in the division, have bolstered their ranks with four signings so far this summer.

Manager Dean Keates has also made changes to his backroom staff with Andy Davies joining as assistant manager, Michael Oakes as goalkeeping coach and Gary Jenkins as chief scout.

But speaking at a fan focus meeting tonight – which was attended by around 40 supporters – Gamble insisted Keates still has funds available to build a successful side.

“Ultimately, what any manager does with his budget is more important than the quantum,” Gamble said.

“The board are backing Dean. He has been able to bring in his own staff.

“He has also started the process of bringing in his own players and there are funds available to improve that.

“There will be some teams whose budget we can’t match. Sunderland for example are still receiving parachute payments from their time in the Premier League.

“Our budget won’t be the biggest in the division but it won’t be the smallest.

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“And everyone here wants to make sure we have a better season than last season.”

Gamble is confident Keates will make a number of signings in the coming weeks – with the club eager to get some of the players who featured in the friendly against Rushall Olympic on Friday out on loan.

“Of the 25 players that were at Rushall, there are some we’d like to get out on loan – they need first team football,” he said.

“If you look at the squad I think we can all identify where we need to strengthen.

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“We need centre-halves. Perhaps another midfielder, perhaps another striker.

“The transfer window has been a funny one this year. The World Cup has slowed things down.

“It needs one of those big moves at the top to speed things up. But the transfer market will hot up.

“And while the transfer window closes earlier this year, we can still bring in long-term loans up to August 31.”

A host of other issues were also discussed at tonight’s meeting.

Gamble insisted the long-standing stance of owner Jeff Bonser hasn’t changed with the chairman happy to remain at the helm but also open to offers to sell the club.

“His (Bonser's) passion for the football club has not waned,” Gamble said.

“He feels the direction we are going in is the right direction.

“He has said publicly if someone has the financial means to buy the club and they have its best interests at heart he will listen to those offers.”

Meanwhile the chief executive confirmed the Saddlers Club – which is based on the land surrounding the Banks’s Stadium – could close down.

The venue is a popular place for fans both home and away to enjoy a drink on a match day.

“Everyone is aware the Saddlers Club is in financial difficulty,” Gamble added.

“There is a winding down process going on. They stopped trading on April 29.

“There is little information flowing our way. They owe a significant amount of money to creditors, particularly to the football club.

“We will know more when we get the chance to look at their accounts.”

Joseph Masi

By Joseph Masi
Football MMPJ - @josephmasi_star

Football journalist for the Express & Star covering Walsall FC.

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