At last weeks fans forum, Leigh Pomlett spoke about his 5 year plan, and gave an update on the freehold situation.
First up, Leigh Pomlett outlined his 5 year plan for the club. The plan has 3 aims for it. The first is to get the club back in to League 1. LP said that he has not given up hope of reaching the play-offs this season, however he did admit that they would have to have a very good 2nd half of the season to do so. Once the club is in League 1, he wants to establish the club as a solid League 1 club that has an eye on the Championship. Once they are at this stage, he said he will be looking at investors, potentially from the US, who have expressed an interest in investing in a club that are looking up at the Championship. This is when LP gave the big piece of information, that he may not be the chairman after this has been established.
Leigh Pomlett did explain the reasons why. He said that an serious investment would be required to get the club to a level where they could survive in the Championship, and that he does not have those type of resources to be able to do so. He said that he would do everything he could to keep moving the club forward, but that he would not be in charge once he cannot progress the club. On the flip side, he did state that he would only sell the club to someone who has Walsall FC’s best interests at heart, and not just to the first person to come along. He also eluded to not wanting to outstay his welcome, and that he will get the club in a position to begin to become that of a Championship aspiring and ready club.
So what do I think? I think LP is realistic. He has made an assessment of what is needed from the club, and what will be required to get them to the next level, and if he cannot do that, it is logical to let the club pass hands, to someone who has the resources to do so. It is not anything set in stone. LP said that he will remain at the club, so long as he can keep it moving forward, which I fully respect. He has clearly got an idea of investors, and knows that there are people out there ready to put money into a club like ours. Ultimately, LP has set out his plan to get Walsall promoted, then stabilise them in League 1, whilst laying the foundations to get them resembling that of a Championship team.
Next up, one topic that gets everyone talking, the freehold. Leigh Pomlett, said that part of his 5 year plan is to reunite the club with the freehold, putting an end to the £400,000+ rent we have to pay each year (which LP says is a fair price, and less than other clubs at our level pay). LP said that that the club meet lawyers and others involved with the freehold sale every month. LP admitted that they may have to purchase the freehold in stages, as it is a huge investment.
Pomlett also said that he would like to see the rent money being put into the playing budget, which Darrell Clarke seemed very pleased about. My thoughts on this are like many, the quicker we can do this the better, however it has to be done carefully, as I wouldn’t want the clubs finances being drained for it. However it feels that LP would not let this happen. I am very glad that one of the aims is to reunite the club with the freehold, as I feel in the future, it will make the prospect of buying the club a more attractive offer.
So there we have the 5 year plan and freehold updates, all from the fans forum. Let me know your thoughts, I am sure there will be lots of different viewpoints and I look forward to hearing them.