There was plenty going on behind the scenes at Walsall FC in the first few weeks of 1991 and the local newspapers almost daily had something to say about the events and speculation as to what was really going on down at Bescot Stadium during this tricky and uncertain period of the club’s short history at its new home.
Topics like take over bids, huge losses uncovered during the switch from Fellows Park to Bescot Stadium, rent issues, a planned Sunday market and a vital donation from the Supporters Club got the concerned fans talking who by now feared for the club’s future. Following an advertisement in the Financial Times in November 1990 by Walsall FC which indicated the club could be up for sale, a board meeting was set for January 7th to discuss bids and possible new owners of the club. Most of the speculation was concerning a potential bid from an American multi-millionaire, Irving Brown, to head a consortium of wealthy Walsall supporters and indeed other interested potential buyers had fears about the muddy waters of Davenmanor’s accounts, who were the owners of Walsall FC.
By the end of January, the club were no closer to completing a takeover and Chairman Barrie Blower admitted defeat in their recent appeals to find new investors.Whilst he conceded there had been interest shown, there had been no actual firm offers. Blower issued a statement where he denied the club had ever been up for sale. He said, “Investors were sought to attract an immediate cash injection to assist the club’s short-term cash flow problems. An advertisement placed to this effect generated some interest, but produced no unqualified offers of support.” Around the same time of all this speculation came a hammer blow that because of unforeseen overspending, the move from Fellows Park to Bescot Stadium had left a shortfall of £1.7million. The figures quoted concerning the cost of the stadium itself compared to other bills to get the actual thing in place was staggering.
In a bid to diversify their income streams, Walsall Football Club came up with the idea of using the car park for a massive Sunday market. Its history now, of course, that permission was eventually givern, despite some objections from local traders and householders. Because of the lack of space at Fellows Park for such an event the club could see there was a chance not to be missed.
Due to postponed home games there was something of cash-flow problem in the January but to this end a lifeline was given by the officials of the Saddlers Club who presented the football club with a cheque for £5,000 and a few days later a second cheque for £10,000 to help keep the football club going. Following an emergency committee meeting the fans club decided to find money to help meet the running costs. Its Secretary John Wilson said to the press, “We knew they would be in trouble. with no home game and a fall in recent attendances, so we have scrapped the bottom of the barrel to find as much as we can to help them out.” This took the season’s total donations to the football club up to £22,000 and up to that point in over 40 years of goodwill the supporters had ploughed in around £2 million which on several occasions had prevented the club going to the wall.