Two days ago, the minutes from the last Working Party Meeting were published for all the fan base to read. Although each Working Party has key topics discussed, this one was more significant than a lot. The latest meeting featured a lot of questions by the Walsall Supporters Alliance, who put forward the concerns of the fans about a broad range of topics.
Pomlett unhappy and frustrated, but loyalty remains
Unsurprisingly, one of the biggest topics fans wanted addressing was the situation regarding the manager. Leigh Pomlett addressed the concerns by stating that he was concerned about the results. He also expressed his frustration at where Walsall find themselves in the league. This overall dislike of the club situation sees fingers pointed at Brian Dutton, however as imagined, a lot was said about Brian.
Pomlett still backs his man. He once again mentioned Dutton’s coaching skills, and also confirmed that he could have left to go elsewhere, presumably along with Clarke to Port Vale. The loyalty is something that Pomlett keeps going back to, however the fans want a Head Coach on for their results, not loyalty. Pomlett also praised the coaching of the younger players, especially Perry and Leak, which is a tick in the direction of Dutton.
Leigh mentions that he assess the position game by game and speaks with Dutton after every match, no matter what the result is. He also feels that Dutton has been unlucky since taking over, although he stated that he was looking forward to positive results going forward to avoid a relegation battle. There were more topics raised surrounding Dutton. Pomlett was asked about the situation if a new manager comes in, and what that would mean for Dutton, but it is something that has not yet been discussed.
There was also a question raised regarding the wins situation, off the back of comments made by Leigh Pomlett in his last video. This was brushed off, where Pomlett said that the timeframe shouldn’t be taken literally.
Incomings and Contracts
The Director of Football appointment has also been a hot topic amongst fans. Pomlett confirmed that their had been over 100 applicants for the role, and that they concluding interviewing people in the week (the meeting took place on Tuesday 30th March). They were hoping to narrow down the candidates, and offer the role to someone by Monday. This would then be confirmed to the fans in due course. The process of hiring the successful candidate may be slightly delayed if they are in a contract elsewhere, as it will take longer for them to be able to come in to Walsall.
With a threadbare backroom, the topic of coaching staff was brought up. Pomlett confirmed that there was scope to bring in staff if Dutton wants. The difficulty is finding staff that are currently out of contract. This once again leads back to the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Head Coach. Having a settled side, and settled management will help entice staff from other clubs, however the situation the Saddlers are currently in, is not the best for recruiting staff.
With a Director of Football coming in, the question of player contracts, and who’s responsibility they are came up. It was confirmed that this particular job would see the DoF help aid whoever the Head Coach is. So it would appear that the Head Coach and DoF would be having discussions about players, but the managers decision was final.
Leigh Pomlett answered questions about the DoF, but made one thing abundantly clear, Walsall needs an identity. Pomlett spoke of how he feels Walsall have lost that identity since Dean Smith left. One of the biggest areas that the DoF will be responsible for, is recruiting staff, and players, to fit and build a system. Having that system will help sign players that can fit in rather than creating a tactic/formation, based around the freebies that were available.
It seems that a DoF will result in a more targeted recruitment. There will be someone who can work behind the scenes looking for players, and constantly working on improving the team, whilst the Head Coach can actually coach, and focus on the matches at hand.
Other bits and pieces
There was a lot about Season Tickets too. The campaign is ready to go, but the club are holding back until the government confirm guidelines for games going forward, to learn more about how many fans they will be able to have in the stands. The board will also be looking at different options regarding the early bird campaign, and going for a less traditional approach. This is something that may come in future seasons, but with the current roadmap, the club will be going for a more usual approach.
Finally, there was also confirmation that a fans forum was in the pipeline, and that it was just a matter of when, and how is the best way to do it. The two fans forums that Leigh Pomlett had hosted were well attended, and a lot of information was given at them too. It is something that would no doubt be as popular as the previous ones, and given the state of play at the club, would raise a lot of important issues.
There were plenty of other things raised at the Working Party, and all the minutes can be found here.