Walsall preparing for possibility of welcoming fans back to the Banks's Stadium
Walsall are preparing for the possibility of welcoming 3,000–4,000 fans back to the Banks's Stadium when League Two football returns, the executive board have revealed.
In a zoom meeting published on the club's channels, chairman Leigh Pomlett, chief executive Stefan Gamble and secretary Dan Mole discussed the possibility of fans being allowed to return, socially distanced, for the 2020/21 season.
The training ground has already been made Covid-19 secure and work is being done on preparing the stadium.
"We're having to work a little bit in the blind because there's not a huge amount of guidance, but the guidance we do have allows us to map the stadium out, socially distancing supporters and using the whole stadium to get a crowd," Gamble said.
"We're potentially looking at a crowd between 3,000–4,000, which would mean we could get all the season ticket holders in.
"There may not be room for away fans, we don't know yet, but that work is underway.
"We're waiting on specific guidance from the authorities but when that does come we'll be in a very good place to be able to implement that.
"We feel that if we're given the green light, everyone that wants to come and watch Walsall will be able to do so.
"We're confident we'd be able to do it in a safe way."
Assurances were also given that the new community hub will be ready in time for the new season, while work is being done to make the stadium cashless – making it safer in light of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Pomlett believes that despite the financial difficulties of lockdown, the Saddlers will be competitive in the transfer market when it does open.
"We'll be as competitive this year, as we've every been in any year," he said
"Covid-19 is a great leveller of football clubs, some clubs that have behaved in certain ways in the past will not be able to do that in the future.
"In many respects we'll be in a more competitive position, certainly in my time being in association with the club.
"We have a squad of 18 players and I would expect that to be increased by another five or six to make us really ready for the new season.
"Darrell and I speak regularly about what he's looking for. He knows what the budget is.
"He's taking his time and being very thoughtful about it. He knows the positions and what's he's after and he can go and do it."
The new Walsall home and away kits went on sale on Monday, with fans queuing outside the club shop to get their hands on it.
At a time when all clubs have felt the strain of the pandemic, Mole says the sales forecasts are looking promising for the new kits.
"We're really pleased with the way it's been received. The supporters have really taken to the new designs, which is a nod to our tradition," Mole added.
"The home kit is something we wore in the late 70's and early 80's and the away kit takes in the colours of the Black Country flag.
"We listened to the supporters and they have taken the kit on board and taken it to their hearts.
"Hopefully it will be one of the best selling kits that we've ever had and the initial forecasts are that we're going to be there, or there abouts, in terms of numbers."