Saddlers fans got to meet the new chairman this evening at the annual fans focus meeting.
The Saddlers Suite was full of intrigued fans as we got to hear from our new chairman just four days after he acquired the club from the long standing Jeff Bonser.
Bonser was often criticised for not speaking to the fans in his twenty-seven year stay, however Pomlett did it in just four days!
We were greeted at the door with a free drinks voucher to be used at the bar. A very nice gesture from our new leader – something we never got from the previous regime but as Pomlett said “let’s forget about what’s happened before”
There was a professional feel about tonight. There was a box for Pomlett to address the fans with a fifteen minute speech before the Q&A.
Before Pomlett did his speech he received a standing ovation from the audience.
In his opening speech Pomlett set out what his visions are during his reign. He wants communication to improve between the board, the fans and the media.
“I will not be afraid to talk to you, I won’t be afraid to talk to the media, I won’t be afraid to be on TV. I do that in my other roles.”
Pomlett confirmed that the budget available to Darrell this season is “very, very competitive” he touched on how it infuriates him to hear Walsall as a club that does well on a small budget.
He stated that there is huge capacity to improve the banqueting and conference facilities “but first and foremost this is a Football Club”.
Pomlett then went onto talk about the people around him. Saying he has a fantastic group of people working for him and the stick they have received wasn’t their fault.
“They now have a leader that will defend them”
He then went onto discuss the freehold. Stating that whilst he wishes to reunite the club with the freehold it won’t happen overnight but it’s one of the main things that he will address. He said he cannot give a time frame due to the legal aspect but will make it a top priority of his.
Pomlett resigned from his international business but will remain chairman of another company in London which won’t require as much time as Walsall FC.
“I am very ambitious for the club, not me”
Pomlett then went onto say what he wanted in return from the supporters. He says he wants another 1,000 bums on seats. He stated it would get the club another four good players “spread the word”.
He went onto discuss the Social Media aspect saying he was disgusted and staggered by the abuse some players and staff got last season. He said he wants a difference atmosphere around the club which will benefit all.
Currently there are only 3,100 tickets sold for Forest Green at home, Pomlett issued a challenge to Walsall fans asking them to double it.
He discussed the undisclosed aspect of the club, stating it doesn’t benefit the club putting it out there. The club were in the middle of the Zak Jules deal when we sold George Dobson and disclosing the fee would have made Macclesfield demand more.
The £2m quotes for George Dobson was laughable and those figures branded about doesn’t help the club.
Pomlett says he is nervously confident about his role as chairman and he will be very nervous on Saturday but as soon as Jeff said he would sell the club Pomlett couldn’t say no.
That was the end of his opening speech, all that was missing was him dropping the mic because he well and truly smashed it. Getting a standing ovation for a second time.
A fan asked about the investment once the club returned to League 1 enabling us to be more competitive to get into the Championship. Pomlett said it can be done on luck as Burton proved but it would need major investment to be a sustainable Championship club.
Pomlett then said he has interested parties in the USA that he has already spoken to and they are willing to invest in the club but only when the club get back into League 1.
Funds have been raised and work has begun on the “gutting” of the Bescot Bar and will take around 3-4 months to complete.
Pomlett confirmed he will watch some games with the fans and pleaded for fans to be nice to him if he sits next to them.
Pomlett identifies Bournemouth as the role model for Walsall FC and states what they have achieved has been remarkable.
He also admires Burnley stating they are a town quarter of the size of Walsall.
Pomlett confirmed that the club would explore the possibility of safe standing in the lower tier.
“if Shrewsbury can do it, so can we”
Pomlett says he will be at every fans focus meeting regardless of where we are in the league and will be looking to stage one three/four times a year.
Pomlett says he will not be on social media as it will make his life a misery and he has enough to contend with without social media. He states his family are keeping him updated with what’s happening on social media including the songs for him (you’re welcome Leigh) and the parody account set up on Twitter which he finds “mildly amusing”.
Pomlett states he was pleasantly surprised to get someone like Darrell to the club, calling him an outstanding manager. He also praised the work of Miguel Llera stating our youth team needed a rebuild.
He said he will remain patient even when results go against us, stating he is not a hire and fire boss.
Pomlett wants to get out of League 2 as soon as he can.
He confirmed that he has agreed to give the manager more than the 50% the previous regime gave a manager. He said he will give Darrell all the money from the George Dobson deal.
”Why do I need the money”
The questions as always became a bit erratic but towards the end Pomlett confirmed that the club would look to reopen the early bird deal on the back of his take over. He will go away and speak with Stefan about creating a halfway house that can be explored.
Over 2,000 season tickets have been sold. 50 season tickets have been sold since the takeover on Monday.
Pomlett confirms that all outstanding debt to Jeff Bonser has been paid.
Pomlett was given his third standing ovation of the evening as the forum came to a close.
Its fair to say Leigh Pomlett is a breath of fresh air at this club and exactly what we need. We are in very safe hands.
We welcome him with open arms and wish him the best of luck during his tenure at this great club.