Walsall

Banks's Stadium

Capacity: 11,300 (all seated)
Address: Bescot Crescent, Walsall, WS1 4SA
Telephone: 01922 622 791
Fax: 01922 613 202
Ticket Office: 01922 651 414/416
Pitch Size: 110 x 73 yards
Club Nickname: The Saddlers
Year Ground Opened: 1990
Shirt Sponsors: HomeServe
Kit Manufacturer: Carbrini
Home Kit: Red and Black
Away Kit: Blue and White

Main Stand External View
Main Stand External View
Looking Towards The Tile Choice Stand
Looking Towards The Tile Choice Stand
Main Stand
Main Stand
KIA (Away) Stand
KIA (Away) Stand
Family Stand
Family Stand
Tile Choice Stand
Tile Choice Stand
Looking Towards The KIA Stand
Looking Towards The KIA Stand
Tile Choice Stand External View
Tile Choice Stand External View

The Saddlers moved to then called Bescot Stadium in 1990 from Fellows Park, which had been their home for 104 years. A fairly simple affair, somewhat similar to Glanford Park in Scunthorpe, which was opened two years earlier, the stadium received a boost in 2003 with the opening of a huge stand at one end. This is a large two tiered affair that completely dwarfs the rest of the ground. It is smart looking, with a glassed area running across its middle, which houses the concourse. Unusually, it has a slightly larger upper than lower tier. This end before it was re-developed was previously called the Gilbert Alsop (a former Walsall playing great) Stand, but in a commercial sponsorship deal, it is now currently called the Tile Choice Stand. 

The rest of the stadium is totally enclosed with three of the stands being roughly the same height, giving it a 'box-like' feel. These stands are not particularly big, around 15 rows high. The corners are filled, but only for advertising hoardings. The Homeserve Main Stand on one side has a small television camera gantry perched on its roof, as well as the players tunnel and team dug outs at its front. At the back of the stand is a glassed area, which I presume is used for corporate hospitality. Opposite is the WFC Community Stand which is a simple seated stand that has dedicated areas for wheelchair users at its front. 

The main disappointment is the large number of supporting pillars in each of the older stands (the newer Tile Choice Stand is pillar free). As Walsall unfortunately very rarely fill the stadium, this is not a huge problem. However, for big games this can be very annoying if you are unlucky enough to get seated behind one. There are four floodlight pylons mounted on the roof of each side stand. In one corner of the stadium between the away end and the Family Stand is a large video screen that was installed in 2014. In a corporate sponsorship deal with Marstons Brewery, the stadium has been renamed the Banks's Stadium.

The Club have announced that they have been granted planning permission to redevelop the KIA (William Sharp) Stand at one end of the ground. The new stand would look similar to the Tile Choice Stand and add 2,300 seats to the stadium, raising the overall capacity to 13,500. It would also mean that up to 4,000 away supporters could be accommodated at that end. The back of the stand will also feature a giant advertising hoarding, clearly visible from the M6. However there are no firm time scales as to when this might actually happen.

Away supporters are housed in the KIA Stand at one end of the ground, where around 2,000 away supporters can be accommodated. There are a few supporting pillars at the front which could impede your view. The good news though, is that even a small amount of away fans can really make some noise and make a good atmosphere. A trip to Walsall can be disappointing in terms of trying to get there and the stadium itself, but is more than countered by the relaxed atmosphere around the ground and the friendliness of the Walsall fans themselves. Neil Harding a visiting Hull City fan provides his thoughts on the stadium; 'In my opinion The Bescot has to be one of the poorest grounds in the country. It has a strange look to it with three covered stands all the same size, but one large stand that towers over the rest of the ground, giving it a somewhat lopsided feel. I found the away end to be rather cramped and the view distorted by one of the four pillars that run across the front. The only good thing is that it the stand is covered, which means a good away following can create a lot of noise. The away end is served by a food kiosk stuck in each corner, and near to the toilets which created a bit of a bottle neck at half time, especially as a large away following was present. The food though, if you are prepared to wait, was excellent, especially the chicken balti pies. The home fans didn't appear to be threatening in anyway and the stewards came across as a friendly bunch of people. The amount of police on duty though did seem a little excessive for what was a bit of a nothing game'.

Inside you will find a range of Pukka Pies available including Chicken Balti (allegedly Walsall were the first Club in the country to stock Balti pies) and Steak & Kidney Pies (£3), Cheeseburgers (£3.40), Burgers (£3.20), Hot Dogs (£3.20), Sausage Rolls (£2.10) and Pasties; Cornish (£2.40), Minced Beef and Onion (£2.40) and Cheese & Onion (£2.40).

Neutral supporter going to the game?

If you are a neutral supporter attending the game then I would recommend sitting in the Tilechoice Stand at one end of the ground. This is simply that situated between the two tiers is a large enclosed area that overlooks the pitch. This contains two bars, refreshment kiosks and a giant television screen showing the latest scores. I was very impressed with the facilities. In fact if the refreshment kiosks had been serving prawn sandwiches then I might have thought that I had stumbled into a corporate hospitality area!

This is the Saddlers Club situated just outside the stadium that is happy to admit away supporters on matchdays on payment of a £2 entrance fee, although under 16's are admitted free. The Club has two rooms, a smaller one at the front which is for home supporters and a larger function room at the back, which is for away fans. This area has seating for 300, has a large screen showing Sky Sports news, has food on offer, such as pies & burgers plus they offered real ale (on my last visit this was Wychwood Hobgoblin). Overall, I was very impressed with the facilities, but as you would expect if there is a large away following it can get full pretty quickly.

Otherwise, the nearest pub to the ground is the King George V on Wallowes Lane. It is okay, but again understandably busy which can make it a bit difficult to get served quickly. It is about a 15 minute walk away, opposite the Morrisons Supermarket. If you are walking from the stadium, go out of the official car parks and down towards McDonalds. Go past McDonalds on your right and take a left hand turn into Wallowes Lane. At the end of the lane turn left onto the main road and the pub is just setback on the left. Away fans though should avoid the Fulbrook pub near to the ground. Otherwise after many years of opting not to sell alcohol to away supporters inside the stadium, the Club now serve beer to away fans!

Banks's Stadium is located right next to the M6, in fact you can see it from the motorway just north of the RAC Control Centre. Unfortunately, this stretch of motorway normally has a large traffic jam on both Saturday lunchtimes and early weekday evenings, so allow extra time. 

From M6 South
Leave the M6 at Junction 7 and take the A34 towards Walsall (beware though of speed cameras on this stretch of dual carriageway). At the end of the dual carriageway turn left at the Bell Inn public house into Walstead Road (sign posted Bescot Stadium, Bescot Station Park & Ride). Continue straight on this road for two miles, passing another pub called the Tiger on your left. You will come to Bescot Stadium and entrance to the away end on your right.

From The M6 North
Leave the M6 at Junction 9 and take the A461 towards Walsall. Bear right on to the A4148 (Wallowes Lane) and turn right at the second set of traffic lights. You will see the ground on your left. 

Car Parking
There is a good sized car park located at the ground behind the away stand, which costs £4. The car park lends itself to a quick getaway after the match. Bescot Railway Station also offers car parking for £2. Alternatively there is some street parking to be had off Wallowes Lane.

Post Code for SAT NAV: WS1 4SA

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The Banks's Stadium has its own Railway Station, called Bescot Stadium which is situated behind the away end and is only a few minutes walk from the turnstiles. Trains run there on a local line from Birmingham New Street and the journey time is around 20 minutes. There is a regular service on Saturdays along this line and you should not have too many problems getting away after the game.

Find train times, prices and book tickets with trainline. Booking tickets in advance will normally save you money!

Remember if travelling by train then you can normally save on the cost of fares by booking in advance.

Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can save on the price of train tickets.

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Like a number of Clubs Walsall have a category system (A & B) of ticket pricing, whereby the most popular games cost more to watch. Category A games are shown below with Category B prices in brackets.

Home Fans*

Homeserve Main Stand: Adults £23.50 (£22), Concessions £18 (£16.50)
Tile Choice Stand (Upper Tier): Adults £23 (B £21.50), Concessions £17 (B £15.50)
Tile Choice Stand (Lower Tier): Adults £19 (B £18), Concessions £15 (B £14)
WFC Community Stand: Adults £23 (B £21.50), Concessions £17 (B £15.50), Under 18's £15 (B £13.50)
WFC Community Stand (Family Tickets): 1 Adult + 1 Junior £25 (B £23.50), Extra Junior on family ticket £12 (B £10.50)

Away Fans*

KIA Stand: Adults £21 (B £20) Concessions £16.50 (B £15)
Family Tickets** 1 Adult + 1 Junior £23 (B £22), Extra Junior on family ticket £12 (B £10.50)

Concessions apply to Over 60's/Juniors who are Under 18.

* Please note that these prices are tickets purchased prior to matchday. Tickets bought on the day of the match can cost up to £2 more.

** These Family Tickets are only available on matchdays from the Walsall FC Ticket Office.

Official Programme £3.
There is also an excellent programme shop behind the William Sharp Stand

Walsall FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)

Wolverhampton Wanderers, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Aston Villa & Shrewsbury Town.

Record Attendance

11,049 v Rotherham United Division One, May 9th 2004

Record Attendance At Fellows Park: 25,453 v Newcastle (Div 2) August 29th, 1961.

Average Attendance
2015-2016: 5,382 (League One)
2014-2015: 4,392 (League One)
2013-2014: 4,807 (League One)

For details of disabled facilities and club contact at the ground please visit the relevant page on the Level Playing Field website.

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: duncan@footballgrounds.net and I'll update the guide.

Walsall v Bolton Wanderers
Football League One
Saturday 17th September 2016, 3pm
Tom (Bolton Wanderers fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?

Getting relegated to a level you've not played in for over 20 years is a horrible thing, but for fans who enjoy away days, it presents a whole new selection of grounds to tick off the list. The Banks's Stadium is one that I've never visited before so I was quite excited about the prospect.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

We didn't have much time before kick off, so just went straught into the ground.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

As I was driving down from Blackpool, our journey more or less consisted of the M55 then M6 to Walsall. Apart from the odd patch of traffic, I've never encountered such a straightforward away day journey (which is quite funny considering it was over 100 miles!) The ground was easy enough to get to. It was a matter of exiting the M6 at Junction 9 and following the signs to Bescot Railway Station. The parking itself was stupendously simple as well. We were directed up a narrow hill onto quite a large car park which cost £4.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?

The Banks's Stadium has quite a cosy feel to it and all corners are filled in. Their Main Stand at one end is a giant, but that doesn't detract from the local feel to the place.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

From a Bolton point of view the game was pretty horrific. I won't go into detail as to why (the referee) ;-), but we ended up losing 1-0 to a Walsall side who were down to ten men after 16 minutes. Atmosphere was lacking. We had a couple of thousand fans in attendance which was quite a contrast to the clusters of Walsall fans dotted about the ground. If you're in the overflow section (basically the half of the Kia Stand bordering the away end) the only source of alcohol is at the aptly named "Legends Bar" which was more or less a dull windowless room with a few seats in it. I heard "waiting room" and "doctors office" mentioned by other fans. They served decanted cans of Carling or bitter (no cider), crisps and other "bar snacks". The stewards were very friendly and didn't have any element of 'Jobsworth' about them. Our fans were getting very rowdy though and I feared that they were about to lose control of the crowd. Alas, everything calmed down in the end.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

The car park exits on to the main road. The exit is rather narrow too, so you have to be very careful as you share it with swathes of departing Walsall fans - they didn't seem to care one iota about their safety, so you need to roll out very slowly. You can get onto the M6 if you take a left or right out of the car park. We chose right and turned into a large queue which took a good half an hour to reach the front of.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I would have enjoyed it more if the game wasn't as bad.

Walsall vs AFC Wimbledon
Football League One
Saturday 6th August 2016, 3pm
Dale Why (AFC Wimbledon fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?

The start of Dons campaign in League One was the biggest reason for attending the game.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Straightforward enough! We left from Wycombe and arrived shortly after 1pm as we hit some traffic on the way up but that was expected. I had looked at parking beforehand and found a spacious car park at the ground designated for away fans which I thought was handy and at £4 we couldn't complain. Literally out of the turnstiles and back into the car.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

The ground is next to a retail park with a McDonalds so we walked over there and had something to eat. Walking through the car park to the retail park we were met by many Walsall fans who were all excellent and friendly a nd wished us well for the season and we never felt out of place or threatened.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?

Both myself and my cousin commented on the ground. For a League One club its actually a decent ground and the stand we were in had everything you needed and the views were good, though there were a few restricted views because of the supporting pillars holding the stand in place.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

A 3-1 defeat but the dons didn't stop singing which made for a great atmosphere. Bog standard food which we didn 't eat. Stewarding was fine and no real issues.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

As it was 3-1 we left a few minutes early so we got out of the car park with relative ease. There was no real traffic to speak of around the ground.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A great little away day.

Walsall v Fleetwood Town
Football League One
Monday 2nd May 2016, 12.15pm
Matthew Bowling (Fleetwood Town fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?

The Banks's Stadium was to be another new ground for me. Plus it was the final away game of our season and a big match in our battle against relegation..

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I got official coach travel and there were no problems on the journey down and we parked directly outside the away end. The ground is quite easy to find with signs for the Bank's Stadium in view as soon as you leave the M6 motorway.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

Before the game I walked up to the retail park and had McDonald's, which was full and there were home fans there but I never felt threatened nor did any away fan which was good.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?

The Banks's Stadium is decent looking from the outside and it's not too bad inside though, I didn't though like the seats they were terrible which makes it a better case to stand up. The bar, food and toilets are all in separate parts of the stadium but are all signed so it's easy to find.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

Fleetwood were right up against it from the start when Tom Bradshaw's volley gave Walsall the lead inside two minutes. Walsall continued to dominate, adding a second at the start of the game and it was 2-0 when a corner was flicked in at the near post. At this time I was thinking this could b e a very long day. But after that Fleetwood actually started to get into the game and had a few shots at Walsall's goal but only tested be keeper once.

Fleetwood started the second half brightly and had Walsall under the cosh, Walsall looked dangerous on the break and the three points were wrapped up when Romain Sawyers drove in a shot off the post from 25 yards out. Fleetwood sub Devante Cole managed to curl in a goal back for Fleetwood to give the away fans something to cheer.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

As ever it's a struggle to get away from the ground especially on a coach it took us about 20 minutes to get away and onto the M6 back up north. The stewards kindly stopped the traffic for us so we could join the main road.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall, it was a nice build up to the game but a big disappointment in the performance so not an awful day it but still not very good.

Walsall v Fleetwood Town
Football League One
Monday 2nd May 2016, 12:15pm
Ellie Stirzaker (Fleetwood Town fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?

I was looking forward to it because it was my first away match of that season (even though it was the clubs last of the season), I was unable to attend other away matches due to circumstances.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I travelled on one of the coaches ran by Fleetwood Town. The Banks's Stadium was only just off the M6 motorway and looked to be well signposted. 

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

We went to the Saddlers Club just by the stadium and only a short walk from the away stand turnstiles. The Club admits both away and home supporters, serves food and there was a friendly atmosphere between both sides.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then ot her sides of the Banks's Stadium?

The Banks's Stadium is quite cosy with the stands being close together. The pitch looked like it was in a poor state, but it was the last away match of the season so not so much bother. Opposite to the away stand is a big three tier stand.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The atmosphere from Walsall's side was good- all cheering along. Stewards were friendly, food was good and facilities were decent.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

It was hammering it down with rain when the game just finished so everyone was rushing to their cars and coaches- the road next to the away stand entrance is a bit busy so our coaches got stuck in traffic for about ten minutes- after that the traffic was great.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was a good away day despite the 3-1 loss.

Walsall v Millwall
Football League One
Saturday 6th February 2016, 3pm
Jack Pittman (Millwall fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?

I've been to the Banks's Stadium before in 2010 and I found it to be an easy away day in terms of getting to the ground and the stadium itself. Also Walsall were in the play-off mix with us so this was geared up to be an important match.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

Me and my mate arrived by train coming into Birmingham New Street and from there an easy twenty minute train journey to Bescot Stadium Station (You will pass Villa Park on the way). The Banks's Stadium is literally outside of the station via a footpath. Overall a very easy stadium to get to compared to some others in League One!

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

We went straight into the stadium and soaked in the atmosphere. They had a usual array of pies and burgers on offer, which were reasonably priced and the balti pies are fantastic! Home fans were very quiet and didn't cause any trouble at all.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?

The ground is a very standard yet tidy affair. The home end behind the goal is a two tiered smart looking stand that towers over the rest of the ground. The away end is a single tier stand and the rest of the stadium is similar. Its quite a small stand so we were able to really make an atmosphere but be warned there are plenty of supporting pillars to impede your view! The facilities themselves however left a lot to be desired. The toilets were flooded and the away end itself is quite cramped so moving around isn't easy.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc.. 

After a subdue first half where there were few chances and the atmosphere was flat from both sides the game suddenly sprang into life in the second half when our in form striker Lee Gregory scored for the 5th game in a row to put us 1-0 up. The atmosphere rocketed from there on in and not long after we were celebrating again as Mahlon Romeo scored a sublime individual effort on his debut. At this point me and my fellow Millwall fans went crazy. Some people ended up on the pitch! Gregory then notched up a third to round off a fantastic away day and another win on the road for the lions!

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

A simple short walk back to the station. Both sets of fans were let out at the same time and there were no problems. We were even talking to some Walsall fans on the train back to London so overall a quite pleasant experience.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall Walsall is a relaxed and simple away day. Its easy to get to by train and the people/police are friendly. Facilities aren't great but for a League One stadium its a decent place to go watch football. Thank you Walsall!

Walsall v Millwall
Football League One
Saturday 6th February 2016, 3pm
Mick Richards (Millwall)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?    

I had never been to the Banks's Stadium, so I was not going to miss the chance to see Millwall play there.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?    

My journey started off from Basingstoke, Hampshire at 10am travelling up by car the A339 then on to the A34,M40,M42,M6 and finally on to the A34 into Walsall and arriving at the stadium at 1.15pm. Then journey itself was trouble free apart from a minor hold up on the M42 for 10 minutes. I parked outside the away end which was a touch and only cost £4.

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?    

I decided to take advantage of the Saddlers Club which was at the edge of the away supporters car park. I paid the £2 entrance fee and once inside I was pleasantly surprised by the size of the place. Having drove up, I had my usual one pint of lager at a cost of £3.05, which i thought was a bit steep for a club up north. I bought a portion of chips for £1.60 and the portions were more than generous and lovely fat chips at that. Both sets of fans mixed and there was a good atmosphere amongst everyone and the door man were friendly and shared a joke with the Millwall fans which eases any potential problems.

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?    

I didn't think much of the exterior of the Banks's Stadium, but once inside I thought it was quite a tidy little ground and was big enough for Walsall. Three sides are very similar in shape and size, with the remaining end stand, towering over the rest of the stadium. With only one refreshment bar for away fans and the toilets being in the two corners of the ground and nowhere near the bar,i thought the lay out was poorly designed. There was a tiny kiosk in the corner next to the toilets which was not very nice with the smell from the loo's and due to the kiosk only able to serve one person at a time, it took 10 minutes to get a coffee.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..    

After a fairly even but goalless first half, Millwall got stronger and stronger. In the second half Millwall's dominance paid off with three well worked goal's in 16 minutes which deflated Walsall but you could see why they were second in the league as they never gave up. As always our support was load and out sung the Walsall fans throughout the game. I thought for a team second in the league, their fans were quiet and never broke out into song of encouragement. All in all we played brilliant and deserved the 3-0 score line, which had the Millwall faithful dancing in the stands. The stewards and Police were really good and allowed us to stand up throughout the entire game and never attempted to make anyone sit down. I suppose this is due to our fans old reputation, but it keeps the peace and is sensible stewarding rather than creating a problem. All credit to the Police/stewards who were happy to talk and laugh at the witty remarks being made.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was quite easy and was back home by 7.30pmn, the stewarding was organised and helpful until the last.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall an all round good day out and most importantly another three points. I would certainly return to the Banks's Stadium where the away fans can generate a great atmosphere as did the Millwall fans yet again.

Walsall v Crewe Alexandra
League One
Saturday 26th September 2015, 3pm
Liam (Crewe Alexandra fan)

Why were you looking forward to visiting the Banks's Stadium?

This was to be my first visit the Banks's Stadium, so I was looking forward to seeing another different stadium.

How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

We got the train from Crewe to Birmingham New Street. We changed at New Street onto another train to Bescot, which took about twenty minutes. The Banks's Stadium is literally across the road from Bescot Railway Station, so very easy to find!

What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?

We visited the Saddlers Club which is located just outside the ground. It cost £2 to get in, but it was nice inside, welcoming and has Sky Sports (as well as some rather fetching Walsall themed carpet!)

What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the stadium?

The ground seemed quite dated with a number of supporting pillars obstructing the view of the playing area. This is annoying at the best of times but with the Club charging higher ticket prices than most, then this was even more so. Leg room was also tight.

Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The stewards were a bit funny about fans standing up in the away end and in my opinion, needlessly ejected a couple of otherwise well behaved fans for doing so. I was surprised at the stewards actions which didn't help the overall experience. The game itself was an entertaining 1-1 draw and Walsall look like a good team, playing good football. As regards facilities then the less said about the bar area the better.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

The Banks's Stadium is easy to get to and away from. But with a restricted view and poor stewarding, I won't be in any rush to return.

Walsall v Bradford City
League One
Saturday, October 5th, 2013
Sam Hodgson (Neutral supporter)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I was looking forward to going because apart from the Hawthorns I had yet to visit another League ground. As some of my mates fancied going we all set off for the Banks's Stadium.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking? 

We caught the train Smethwick Galton Bridge, directly to the Bescot Stadium station. You can easily see the Tile Choice Stand from the station and it is only a 5 minute walk to the ground itself.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly?

We decided to get to get to the ground slightly early to take in the views of the Bescot and find our seats, but we first visited the programme office next to the away end and also watched the TV's inside the ground before making our way to our seats.

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

My first impression was that it was a small but decent-looking stadium. I had good seats just behind the goal in the lower tier of the Tile-choice stand, although I couldn't see any of the upper tier apart from a few hands dangling over the edge where people were leaning against the wall. The away end is decent sized and looked good for making noise!
 
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..

The game wasn't bad, with Walsall having a lot of possession, getting forward, but they seemed to make too many passes and not enough shots. Bradford punished them just before half-time, with a stunning out side of the box rocket from Kyle Reid that nearly broke the net of the top corner. Bradford scored again within the first 5 minutes of he second half, with James Hanson finishing after being put through on goal by a clever chip of the saddler's defence. Walsall had a lot of chances but were too afraid to shot, and you could tell from the 60th minute they weren't going to equalize. The atmosphere was good, and at one point during the first half the Walsall fans made the most noise, but Bradford made plenty of noise during the rest of the game. I barely noticed the stewards, probably as there was no hint of any trouble. I did enjoy a chicken balti pie at half time for an average price of £2.90.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was simple. We got on the first train going but it was packed with Bradford fans heading for Brmingham New street, but me and my 4 friends managed to get to the seats before they did!

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I quite enjoyed the day, with a good game, good atmosphere and a pleasant ground to watch it in. I think I may be visiting more 90 new grounds soon!

Walsall v Sheffield Wednesday
League One
Saturday 23rd April 2011, 3pm
Danny Brennan (Sheffield Wednesday fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be):

I've always quite liked Walsall and having looked at their ground, their shocker of a season this time out and Wednesday's small re-surgence it seemed the perfect ground to go to.
 
2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking? 

I went down with Sheffield Wednesday's official coaches so it was easier. We left Hillsborough at 11:30am and were down at the Bescot Stadium by 1:20pm. The trip down was perfectly fine with little traffic and Walsall was very well signposted. Just as you approach the ground you do just about see it over a warehouse but that's as good of a view as you'll get as it's surrounded by other buildings that are, simply, bigger than it.
 
3. What did you do before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly? 

As we were so early we had a little look around the ground first and then went over to the nearby retail park. For those shopaholics out there the retail park is a decent way to kill some excess time, though we simply went to the McDonald's there. The Walsall fans were very friendly and we had some good banter with them walking to and from the retail park. It was a family day at Walsall so there was a good atmosphere around the ground which made for a nice build-up to the game.
 
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground?

The ground, clearly, is very small. The Extrabet away stand is very small indeed but from the outside it looked a nice, tidy ground. Walsall had kept the stand in good condition and as we walked around the ground the stadium itself generally looked in pretty good condition. It was also one of the cleanest ground I've ever been to - I can't recall seeing one piece of rubbish on that walk-around! Once inside the stand it's compact with average views of the pitch but it could certainly be worse. There was something about the ground that I liked and the away stand was compact which made for a fantastic atmosphere. With lots of Wednesday fans it was buzzing but I imagine even a smaller number of fans could make some noise in the stand.
 
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets, etc... 

The game itself ended 1-1, though in all honesty Wednesday could and should have won it comfortably. Jon Macken gave Walsall the lead on 10 minutes, though frustratingly I had to watch the goal again when I got back to Sheffield because I had a pole in the way of the goal so I missed it. Neil Mellor equalized on 25 minutes (I did actually see that one) and from then on Wednesday looked in control and should've won. There was one steward in particular who took a fair amount of abuse in remarkably good taste and in fairness the stewards were all pretty decent, though I did see one Wednesdayite get ejected rather harshly. I had a pie before the game (£2.60) which was good and hot and the toilets, though small, were clean and adequate. In terms of the atmosphere the Walsall fans struggled to make much noise and the vast majority of the singing was from the visitors but they did come out in decent enough numbers and certainly tried their best, for which I give them credit. 

6. Comment on getting away after the game:

Getting away from the ground was fine, we got a police escort for about a mile away from the ground until back on the motorway heading back up north.

7. Summary of thoughts of day:
 
I actually really enjoyed my day to Walsall. I was disappointed with Wednesday's failure to beat the hosts and though the ground is hardly spectacular I found it to be nice and tidy and far from the worst you could find in League One. The facilities were certainly good enough and I would like to see Walsall stay up this season as I'd quite fancy a trip to the Banks's Stadium next year as I found it to be a good day out.

Walsall v Sheffield Wednesday
League One
Saturday 23rd April 2011, 3pm
Teresa Jewell (Sheffield Wednesday fan)

I have followed the Owls for many years home and away visiting some superb stadiums and others that are not so superb. 
 
This was a ground I had not visited before, so a few of us decided to travel by Sheffield Wednesday official coaches. The journey was only a short one approx 1hr 30mins, but we decided upon arrival we would find something to eat. The only place we found was a McDonalds on the retail park which is right at the side of the ground. We were not the only ones with the idea as other owls upon getting of the coaches followed. Incidentally the coaches park right at the side of the entrance to the away end and stay there until after the game (unlike some grounds).
 
The club had also put a family fun day on for all fans which meant both sets of fans mingling together with no problems what so ever. We even sat on the grassed area around McDonalds with Walsall fans and general shoppers to the retail park with no problems (a few little Wednesday songs did come from a young group of lads nothing harmful though). 
 
The ground its self from the outside looked okay you could see it was ageing, but not all clubs have millions to spend now. Yet once through the old rusted turnstile it became another matter. The away end was comprised of a single tier with the two sides the same. Their Main Stand at the other end, looked impressive with its two tiers.

The amenities were awful. The toilets could be found in the corner of the away end water could be seen on the floor of the entrance. I can only comment on the female toilets, which were water logged so your feet were wet, two toilets one of which had no handle to flush and one had no lock on the door. You had to have a sense of humour believe me.           

The catering facilities were right outside he entrance of these toilets and comprised of two windows. The staff were helpful a very cheerful. I had a pasty for £2.00 and it was not bad at all. 
 
One of the things I liked about this ground was how near we were to the pitch, but unfortunately there were some supporting pillars holding up the roof on the away end, so at times it got annoying and we couldn't see down by the corner flag. My son ended up standing on his seat. 
 
The game itself was good. Walsall came at the Owls hard in the first 15 or so minutes scoring on the 10 minute mark, but Wednesday hit back on 26 mins with Neil Mellor. There were times it looked like we were in trouble but after half time a second goal was beckoning with brilliant saves by Walsall's goalkeeper James Walker. 

Due to the compact nature of the away end every noise was two fold it sounded at times like the whole of Hillsborough had come with us. It was brilliant and a good party atmosphere. 
 
After the game the coaches were in the same spot where we got off them and we followed each other out of the ground with a usual police escort back onto the motorway. Incidentally, some how our coach got lost and we ended up back at the stadium! 
 
Glad we went would go again a nice short run of an away game ideal when taking a young child. In addition very friendly and we may try the train next time many fans did this time and reported no problems at all.

Walsall v Rochdale
League One
Saturday 26th February 2011, 3pm
Paul O'Shea (Doing The 92)

I travelled by train to Walsall via Birmingham hoping to see a decent game and tick off another new ground.

I got off at Walsall station and headed for the Black Country Arms a Good Beer guide listed pub. For those who like their real ale this is truly a wonderful pub 16 beers on handvpump plus a couple of traditional ciders too! Fans of both teams were enjoying the quality on offer and I soon got talking to some of the home supporters.
 
At about two thirty I set off walking with one of the Walsall fans to the ground which was a good old trek at speed but we reached the ground at about five to three. I had already decided to go "away" and was soon through the turnstile although the stewards relieved me of my brolly! The sun had come out by this time and lit up the huge 'Floors to go' stand at the far end although it was fairly empty.
 
Rochdale had brought over 600 supporters and they made a good noise which compensated for the very poor vocal support afforded by Walsall.
 
The game however was hugely disappointing perhaps the worst I have seen this season and the only highlight for me was the terrific Pukka chicken balti pies on sale at half time for £2.70.
 
The match petered out to a 0-0 and I admit I left early after reclaiming my brolly and legged it over to the Bescot stadium railway station which is directly behind  the away end across the car park just in time to catch a train back to Birmingham.
 
I won't be going back to the Bescot anytime soon but at least some very good ale made up for the poor game I witnessed
 
You can't win them all!

Walsall v Bournemouth
League One
Saturday 12 February 2011, 3pm
Tino Hernandez (Bournemouth fan)

1. Why you were looking forward to going to the ground (or not as the case may be): 

Another ground I had somehow never been to, together with the fact that Bournemouth were pressing for a second consecutive promotion and Walsall were fighting to stay up.

2. How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?

I caught a late morning train from London Euston to Birmingham and then a brilliantly simple change onto a train that takes you to a station (Bescot) which is literally over the road from the ground. If you are a London based and train travelling football fan and think, like me, that Walsall is quite a way away, think again, train is super quick.

3. What you did before the game pub/chippy.... home fans friendly? 

You can’t have everything. The train journey was incredibly easy which in my book is always a huge plus but it has to be one of the worse grounds to find any food at all outside, although you were welcome in the supporters club. Other reports said there was ‘half a shopping centre’ close by but I couldn’t see it. Home fans friendly enough. Take out local rivalries and the odd historical reason for a rivalry and my experience at this level is that we all just love football and respect fellow loyal supporters whoever they support. 

4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the ground? 

The Banks Stadium is now 20 years old and starting to show its age in my view. Looks a bit ramshackle.  

Ticketing was confusing. Signs on the gates imply you need to have bought tickets to get in and this was confirmed by the programme seller. However, lots of Bournemouth fans were then walking around to the ticket office only to be told – no, you pay on the gate. Other fans said the ticket office staff were not sure and had to check first. Later a few young Bournemouth fans were sold tickets from the office. But the true situation was to pay on the gate.  

Is it me or is the pitch pretty small too? We were being the goal and very close to the pitch which makes it very exciting when your team is pressing to score and extremely nerve wracking when your keeper is under a lot of pressure.

5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, toilets etc.

Ground is pretty compact making for a good atmosphere though the attendance wasn’t great. Stewards were perfect – hardly noticed them. 

Blimey, we could have been 2-4 down at half time, plus we had the embarrassment of wildly celebrating a disallowed goal. Walsall didn’t look like at team at the bottom of the League One. Second half we got the breakthrough goal and had four or five very good other chances but at 1-0 there is always a danger they might nick something which made for an exciting game as our strikers kept squandering chances. An injury time Walsall free kick hammered against the post and bounced down onto the goal line so it could have ended in tears.  

Chicken Balti pie was great. Coffee fine. Big downside though is the catering is dispensed through two small hatches. Fine when getting into the ground early but ridiculous if you want something at half time.

6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

On a train within 5 mins of leaving the ground and then caught a connection at Birmingham straight away. Oddly enough I was home quicker than for a Bournemouth home match.

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out: 

Well worth a visit and would go back. Transport for the non driving fan coming from London superb. But I’ll take food next time.

Why not write your own review of the Banks's Stadium Walsall and have it included in the Guide? Find out more about submitting a Fans Football Ground Review.

Updated 20th September 2016

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