DSA Statement In Relation To Supporters Trust.

Ian Buckingham to Walsall FC Disabled Supporters AssociationAdmin · 14 mins

Attendance of WPM - email to WFC Hi Dan/Stef During the WPM in April 2019, documents were submitted to WFC which gave an indication as to the membership base of Walsall Supporters Trust, much to the apparent annoyance of the Trusts representative that day, namely Bob Thomas. As a result of the production of this information, the Trust then failed to attend the next WPM which resulted in the temporary suspension of the WPMs. When the WPMs reconvened, the Trust, via Trevor Reece, expressed its desire that all the representative supporters bodies, specifically the Trust, ISSA and the DSA, should work more closely together, to which all groups’ representatives agreed. The WPM were later joined by Walsall Supporters For Change. Since then it is apparent that the Trust has not co-operated or properly engaged with the other three groups to this end. A number of events have been arranged to which no groups other than the Trust or board members of the Trust have been involved. These events include · Invitation of former players to meet supporters at the Banks’s Stadium and presentation to supporters pre-kick off · Arranging and promoting the end of season players awards · Failed to liaise with ISSA, WFSC and the DSA and work with any of those group to identify deserving causes within the borough of Walsall for the distribution of WFC surplus merchandise at the end of the season (typically such goods have been shipped to Seirra Leone)

Since the DSA, ISSA and WSFC have not been involved in any of the above when it is considered that these should have involved all groups, as alluded to by the Trust’s Chairman, it is apparent and proven , through its own actions, the Trust is failing to have regard to the sentiments expressed by its own Chair.

Furthermore, a number of issues and concerns were raised with the Trust in February 2020 at a meeting attended by Bob Thomas (Trust), Dave Beckett and Trevor Cockayne (ISSA) and myself (DSA) in relation to a member of the Trust's board. The issues relating to the DSA included

· Attempted to discredit the formation of the DSA before its creation (the comments were overheard by both WFC staff and myself) · When the DSA were promoting the sale of a book for the purpose of raising funds that were ultimately handed over to a disabled child's family, the named person deliberately promoted the sale of the same book on the same social media post at a reduced price thus entailing the funds raised for a severely disabled child were otherwise less than they could have been

Other issues were raised by the ISSA representatives and an undertaking was provided by Bob Thomas that the complaints would be investigated and he would liaise with the DSA and ISSA on the matters discussed. Regrettably neither organisation has been contacted by the Trust to advise what the outcomes of their investigations were and how the supporters group could work more closely together.

Given the above, the Committee members of the DSA have determined that the Trust is failing to actively engage and fully co-operate with the other groups to the detriment of Walsall supporters and unanimously voted that the continued attendance of the WPM will cease with immediate effect due to the inaction of the Trust and the lack of regard and respect that it has shown other supporters representative groups. The Trust’s current actions and outcomes contradict those expressed by its Chair. We will reconsider our position should the Trust address all outstanding issues whether they relate to WSFC, ISSA and the DSA.`

However, I wish to emphasise that the DSA will continue to actively engage with WFC for the benefit of its members and disabled supporters and co-operate with WFC and the other supporters groups (ISSA and WSFC). I am happy to discuss any matters raised within this communication at any time, subject to work commitments.

Regards Ian Buckingham Chairperson Walsall FC DSA