• Callum Pattison

Walsall supporters raise £7,000 for club

Despite currently sitting in 19th place in League 2 this season, fans of Walsall Football Club have raised a large sum of money for the club in a fundraiser set up by the Walsall Supporters' Alliance. An accomplishment that truly shows the togetherness of the Walsall FC fanbase.

In total, £7,220 was raised by a total of 405 people. The final sum came to £6899.43 after card processing fees. The funds that have been raised will be welcomed as a massive boost for the club after a turbulent time since the first lockdown started 1 year ago.

The Saddlers are among a host of clubs all over the country that have been unable to welcome back supporters for over a year due to the pandemic. As we know, matchday income such as ticket and kiosk sales are a large source of funds for football clubs such as Walsall.

Unfortunately, this source of income has been non-existent since Walsall's last home game with supporters on March 7th 2020. This was in a 3-1 win at the Bank's Stadium against Exeter City.

This is a reason why the Walsall Supporters' Alliance (WSA) stepped in. The WSA are an independent, FSA-accredited fan group who work for the supporters of Walsall Football Club.

Rob Harvey, Chairman of the Walsall Supporter's Alliance, set up a JustGiving page in an attempt to help the club during the COVID-19 pandemic. After putting the question to Rob of why he set up the fundraiser, he told me this:

"We heard that we weren't going to be allowed back into the ground and nobody knew how long it was going to be. We just decided to set something up and bring a little bit of money back in. All of the money that would have been spent in the kiosks or the bar was going to be nil so it was just a way of putting something back in.

"Initially, the target was £5,000 and we hit that within 3 or 4 weeks. I then decided to put it up to £7,000 and we got past that but the card processing fees have ended up taking us just below that."

In terms of how the football club will spend the money, it will be going to a good use and will be a massive benefit for the club's youth/academy set up.

"I think about £3,500 is going towards the cardiac screening that the youth and Academy team have to have every year. After the discussions I had with the club last time, I think the rest of the money will be going towards getting a new minibus for the Academy team. The current one is on the way out and they need something bigger and better to travel in," Rob said.

Rob has also acknowledged the fans of the club for helping out in these tough and precarious times.

"I don't think anyone can doubt how much people do love this club. We're always good for a moan about anything and everything but in terms of the club itself, people want to get behind it. We want to be back in the ground and we want to do whatever we can to help. I'm grateful to everyone that chipped in, I wasn't expecting it. Everybody has rallied around and we've pulled it off."

You can check out the Walsall Supporters' Alliance website here: https://thewsa.org.uk/

Twitter page: https://twitter.com/wfcalliance?lang=en

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