I have often wondered whether we could see Jeff Bonser standing outside the Banks’s Stadium each summer with his Paddington Bear style briefcase ready to announce the annual budget for the coming season…OK probably not.
However there have been a lot of questions raised about our ‘budget’ for the past three years and rightly so.
Lets look at the facts (permanent deals)…
Out (6) – Erhun Oztumer, Flo Cuvelier, Simeon Jackson, Mark Gillespie, Reece Flanagan, Kacy Butterfield
In (5) – Chris Dunn, Joe Slinn, Josh Ginnelly, Andy Cook, Zeli Ismail
Out (8) – Andreas Makris (£200,000)*, Theo Vassell, Neil Etheridge, Craig MacGillivray, Isaiah Osbourne, James O’Connor, Matt Preston, Franck Moussa
In (5) – George Dobson, Jon Guthrie, Luke Leahy, Nicky Devlin, Mark Gillespie
Out (12) – Rico Henry (£2m)*, Tom Bradshaw (£600,0o0)*, Jordan Cook, Jason Demetriou, Chandler Hallwood, Milan Lalkovic, Romaine Sawyers, Andy Taylor, Paul Downing, Sam Mantom, Anthony Forde, Levi Rowley
In (8) – Andreas Makris (£200,000)*, Flo Cuvelier, Simeon Jackson, Joe Edwards, Erhun Oztumer, Theo Vassell, Franck Moussa, Chandler Hallwood
* Transfer fees taken from Transfermarkt.com
So in the past three seasons we have seen a staggering twenty-six players leave WS1 for pastures new however we have replaced these with just eighteen permanent signings, a difference of eight players. For the purpose of this we have looked at the permanent signings only. Quite a lot of loan signings will have had the majority of their wages paid for by their parent club.
You cannot expect to compete or gain consistency when there is such a high turnover of players nor can you expect a club of our statue to be able to cope with the loss of eight players from the original squad which competed for promotion from League 1.
Throw into the mix that we have received around £2.8m from transfer fees over the past three years but have only managed to pay £200,000 of that for Andreas Makris – which we surprisingly managed to get back. Now we are not suggesting that we go out and spend £1.4m on new players (don’t forget only 50% goes back into the managers budget) but we merely want to be able to compete at this level. Far too many clubs are over taking us in the pecking order and soon enough it will be one club too many and relegation will be a certainty.
Walsall CEO Stefan Gamble has already said at the Fans Focus Meeting that hes happy that Dean Keates has used some of his budget to fund the scouting system at the club – in 2018 a scouting system should already be implemented at professional clubs and should fall under the staff budget like Pam in the ticket office or Frank in the kiosks – it shouldn’t be coming out of the managers budget. Its no surprise to see us unable to get anything other than non-league players if an already poor budget is having to be used to fund a scouting system.
The worry for us is we still have 70% of last seasons squad still here and have replaced the outgoings with non-league players – they might be able to cut it two leagues higher but I doubt all of them will. Last seasons squad lacked depth and quality and it was no surprise we found ourselves fighting off relegation, one year on and we still have the same problems staring us in the face.
Yet the hierarchy are hiding back in their shells.
They told us that they made mistakes last season and wouldn’t allow them to happen again – here we are seventeen days away from the start of the Football League season and we are still making those mistakes. Sooner or later these mistakes will result in our relegation from League 1 and given how football is changing, it wont be an easy return.
All we are asking for is the hierarchy of Walsall FC to give the manager a chance to build a squad which is capable of challenging in this division.
Over to you Walsall…..