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
Pitch Type: Grass
Club Nickname: The Saddlers
Year Ground Opened: 1990
Undersoil Heating: No
Shirt Sponsors: HomeServe
Kit Manufacturer: Errea
Home Kit: Red and Black
Away Kit: Black and Red

Looking Towards The Homeserve Stand
Looking Towards The Homeserve Stand
Main Stand
Main Stand
St Francis Group Community Stand
St Francis Group Community Stand
University of Wolverhampton Stand
University of Wolverhampton Stand
Main and Homeserve Stands
Main and Homeserve Stands
Looking Towards The University Of Wolverhampton Stand
Looking Towards The University Of Wolverhampton Stand
A Closer Look At The Homeserve Stand
A Closer Look At The Homeserve Stand
A Closer Look At The Main Stand
A Closer Look At The Main Stand
Main Stand External View
Main Stand External View
University of Wolverhampton Stand External View
University of Wolverhampton Stand External View
Homeserve Stand External View
Homeserve Stand External View

Welcome To Walsall Football Club SignThe Banks's Stadium is a fairly simple affair and is somewhat similar looking to Glanford Park in Scunthorpe, which was opened two years earlier in 1988. However, one major difference is in 2003 the Banks's Stadium received a boost 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 Homeserve 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 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 Community Stand which is a simple seated stand that has dedicated areas for wheelchair users at its front. 

The main disappointment is a large number of supporting pillars in each of the older stands (the newer Homeserve 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 Community Stand is a large video screen that was installed in 2014. In a corporate sponsorship deal with Marston's Brewery, the stadium has been renamed the Banks's Stadium.

The Saddlers moved to then called Bescot Stadium in 1990 from Fellows Park, which had been their home for 104 years.

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 Fans Turnstiles EntranceAway supporters are housed in the University of Wolverhampton 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 Banks's Stadium has to be one of the poorer 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 bottleneck 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 any way 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.' A visit to the Bank’s Stadium is normally a relaxed one, although sometimes the journey there and back can be a bit of a pain. Just outside the away end is a programme shop that stocks an interesting range of old programmes. Entrance to the away end is a little different as you have to pass under a giant elevated LED screen, which is designed to catch the attention of the M6 traffic going by.

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 (both £3.20), Cheeseburgers (£3.60), Burgers (£3.40), Hot Dogs (£3.60), Sausage Rolls (£2.20), Cornish Pasties (£2.70) and Cheese & Onion Pies (£2.70).

Neutral supporter going to the game?

If you are a neutral supporter attending the game then I would recommend sitting in the Tile Choice 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!

Away Supporters Bar Open SignAlas, the Saddlers Club situated just outside the stadium is no longer available to away supporters. Close to the ground, just a short walk along Bescot Crescent from the away end is the Park Inn Hotel, which has a bar and shows Sky Sports. Usually, there is a good mix of home and away fans inside. Otherwise, the nearest pub to the stadium is '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.

Just across the road from the away end is the  Park Inn Hotel. Inside it has a sizeable bar and allows in visiting supporters. Otherwise, after many years of opting not to sell alcohol to away supporters inside the stadium, the Club now serves beer to visiting fans!

Bescot Stadium SignThe 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 onto 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 for cars and £6 for minibusses. The entrance to this car park is off Bescot Crescent next to the Park Inn Hotel and is signposted as 'Blue Zone'. The car park which is for the use of visiting supporters only (there are two other car parks available at the ground for home fans), normally lends itself to a quick getaway after the match. More or less opposite the away end is Bescot Railway Station, which also offers pay and display car parking for £2. Alternatively, there is some street parking to be had off Wallowes Lane. There is also the option of renting a private driveway near the Banks's Stadium via YourParkingSpace.co.uk.

Post Code for SAT NAV: WS1 4SA

Bescot Railway Station SignThe 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.

Booking train tickets in advance will normally save you money! Find train times, prices and book tickets with Trainline. Visit the website below to see how much you can save on the price of your tickets:

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*

Main Stand: Adults £24 (£22.50), Concessions £18.50 (£17)
Homeserve Stand (Upper Tier): Adults £23.50 (B £22), Concessions £17.50 (B £16)
Homeserve Stand (Lower Tier): Adults £19.50 (B £18.50), Concessions £15.50 (B £14.50)
Community Stand: Adults £23.50 (B £22), Concessions £17.50 (B £16), Under 18's £15.50 (B £14)
Community Stand (Family Tickets): 1 Adult + 1 Junior £25.50 (B £24), Extra Junior on family ticket £12.50 (B £11)

Away Fans*

University of Wolverhampton Stand:
Adults £21.50 (B £20.50)
Concessions £17 (B £15.50)
Family Tickets** 1 Adult + 1 Junior £23.50 (B £22.50) Extra Junior on family ticket £12.50 (B £11)

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

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

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

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

Record Attendance at the Banks's Stadium:

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

Record Attendance At Fellows Park:

25,453 v Newcastle
Division Two, 29th August 1961.

Average Attendance
2018-2019: 4,927 (League One)
2017-2018: 4,760 (League One)
2016-2017: 5,072 (League One)

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If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at: [email protected] and I'll update the guide.

Walsall v Cambridge United
League 2
Saturday 16th November 2019, 3pm
Edward Trafford (Cambridge United)

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

As I am a Cambridge fan now living in Birmingham, any away game in the Midlands is on the cards for me to visit. I had seen the ground from the M6 lots of times but now finally had the chance to go.

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

The train from Birmingham New Street to the 'Bescot Stadium' station couldn't have been easier. It must be one of the shortest walks from the platform to the away end anywhere.

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

Being a modern out of town ground I wasn't optimistic, but the hotel behind the away end has a big bar where lots of Cambridge fans were drinking. Home fans seemed to go in the supporters club, also behind the away end. It doesn't seem like a ground where you would ever get any trouble.

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

It reminds me a little bit of Tranmere with the biggest stand at one end of the ground. The rest of the ground is fairly small with pillars that can get in the way a bit. The away end appears to once have been a terrace with the seats added at a later date, with two steps to each row of seats. Nothing special, but perfectly good for League 2 or 1. Shame that there is no option to stand, but that seems to be all too common now even in the lower leagues.

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

A terrible start from Cambridge saw us behind after 30 seconds and two down after less than 10 minutes. Walsall are struggling at the moment and although Cambridge got going after about half an hour it was too late (92nd minute) before they could get one back. Even so, Walsall looked very nervous for the final two minutes at 2-1. It could have been very different if Cambridge had scored sooner. On the plus side, you could get a beer in the away end for just £3 at half time.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Again, very easy. Not even a 5 minute walk to the train station and only a couple of minutes wait for the train back to Birmingham.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Wrong result and not a ground with bags of character, but definitely a good place to go and watch your team if they ever play there. As an unexpected bonus admission was only £5 including for away fans because of a promotion they had on, so quite a cheap day too. It looks like a mediocre mid-table season for both these teams and with only one going down this year I will probably be back next season.

Walsall v Darlington
FA Cup 1st Round
Saturday 9th November 2019, 3pm
David Forster (Darlington)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
It was a new ground for me, so yes, I was really looking forward to this game. It was Darlington's first time in the First Round of the FA Cup as a Fan Owned Club.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
The journey was easy enough, I normally go with my dad, but went with a fellow Darlington fan. The drive down was great, the roads were good. The Banks Stadium is right off the M6 and there was plenty of parking for visiting supporters.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
Once we got parked, we went for a drink in the Hotel Bar of the Hotel behind the away end of the Banks's Stadium.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
I was impressed with the Banks's Stadium. It is a proper lower league ground, holding around 11,500 with an away end of around 2000.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
What a game, Darlington were the better team in the first half, going in 1 up at Half Time after Omar Holness slotted home. The last 10 minutes was absolutely action packed, 2 red cards, Walsall taking the lead with a few minutes to go and 7 minutes injury time. Darlington got a free kick in the 97th Minute, and Joe Wheatley got on the end of Osagi Bascomes Free Kick to equalise right in front of the 1,229 Darlington fans, where there was a pitch invasion and the Darlington Players celebrating with the travelling support. The Stewards were good with us, let us celebrate with the players, and were not too heavy-handed when there was a mini pitch invasion. The facilities were quite good and catering was quite good too; Pies were around £3 and Hot Drinks were priced at £2.30.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
We stayed back in the ground for around 20 minutes to celebrate with the Team, getting away afterwards was quite slow, but we got away from the car park after about half an hour.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Overall, it was a good day, it was everything a Cup Tie should be, 4 goals, 2 red cards, a 97th minute equaliser, what more can you ask for from an FA Cup Game.

Walsall v Mansfield Town
League 2
Saturday 26th October 2019, 3pm
Andrew Wood (Mansfield Town)

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

I haven't been to Banks's/Bescot Stadium since about 2002, so with Mansfield due to play here on a Saturday off, It would be like visiting a new ground. Or an unfamiliar one, at least!

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

I travelled up from the South Coast, and the first part of the train journey was easy, from Worthing to London. London to Birmingham was a different matter though, as the train was packed solid and standing room only. A fairly easy connection to Walsall/Bescot Stadium from Birmingham New Street. The ground is only 2 minutes walk from the station, so you're not likely to get lost.

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

The first thing we did was get drenched! It had been raining heavily in the West Midlands most of the morning. As we were so close to the stadium, we thought we could just head for a drink and not get too wet. However, we reckoned without a flyover between the station and ground. A vehicle passed overhead and hit a (presumably) extremely large puddle, which came over the flyover like a tsunami and caught us full-on. My travelling companion copped for it worse than me. Oh, how we laughed! We made our way to the stadium. We should have been wearing flippers, such were the puddles. Queued for tickets, only to be told that the computer had frozen, and we could pay on the turnstiles anyway. All well and good, but in the 5 minutes wasted at the ticket booth, 2 coachloads of thirsty Mansfield fans had turned up. We'd already been told the only place to get a drink was at the hotel opposite (The Saddlers club outside the ground looked permanently closed) and 120 Stags fans had the same idea as us and decided to use the hotel for pre-match refreshment. Really not worth bothering. After queuing for 20 minutes, I found the poorest choice of beers I've seen outside of Stadium MK. It wasn't cheap either. A couple of lagers, a bitter and a couple of ciders on draught, Guinness only available in cans. The hotel did a matchday special of burger and chips for about £7.50. Fair play to the hotel though. the staff were friendly, and the surroundings pleasant, but I'd prefer a better choice than that offered. With the rain tipping down, we were never going to venture too far from the ground. No home fans in sight, they doubtless have their own watering hotels away from the stadium.

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

The Banks/Bescot Stadium has been here for over 20 years, and it's already starting to show it's age. You could pay on the turnstile, and sit where you like apart from reserved seating. The away end is large, with bog-standard red seats throughout. A decent view, but not much legroom. The 2 stands alongside the pitch are similar, with one having a block of executive boxes incorporated, and the other housing a scoreboard adjacent to the away section. The ground's pride and joy, however, is the large two-tiered home end behind the goal. This looks very impressive from the opposite end, and due to the lack of home support, I got a pretty good view of it.

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

Both the Stags and Walsall had been struggling, and with the way the day had gone so far, I feared either a defeat or an abandonment. However, the God of football smiled on me. The rain stopped, and the Stags won. Former Walsall striker Andy Cook opened the scoring for Mansfield with a far-post header after excellent work by Otis Khan (man of the match by a mile). Sadly our defensive frailties were evident again, and Walsall levelled on half time with their substitute heading in from a free kick which we never looked like clearing. The second half was fairly even, altho' we were grateful to Conrad Logan in our goal for a couple of excellent saves to maintain parity. The Stags won it with 20 minutes to go after some fine work by Mal Benning (another ex-Saddler) who crossed for Alex MacDonald to blast in from 6 yards. Pandemonium in the away end as 900 Stags celebrated. They sang all through the game, and deserved this win which was secured without too much late drama, largely because Walsall were hopeless!. 

The stewards were friendly, but for some reason, every time Mansfield got a corner, they lined up in front of the away end, expecting a goal, followed by a pitch invasion, which suggests they had more confidence in the Stags attack than we did. Food was average at best. Pukka Pies (yawn!) at £3.30 (Chicken Balti, or Steak), Burgers at £3.50 or £3.70 with cheese in a godawful floury bun. There was also pasties and hot dogs, as well as the standard drinks you get at every stadium. Only a couple of people serving in a busy away end meant yet more queuing (which must surely be my specialist subject if I ever go on Mastermind), which everyone did uncomplainingly. The loos looked old and could probably do with some renovation.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

We kept our eyes open under the flyover, I can tell you that much! Train back to Birmingham, then back to London (not so packed this time) and back on the South coast in time to watch Match of the Day.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

In a word- damp! A good win for Stags, but our defence still looks, suspect. Better teams than Walsall will beat us. Banks stadium was probably nice 20-25 years ago but looks scruffy and elderly in places. Everything about it is average, but just about worth a visit, although it may be advisable to eat and drink in Birmingham prior to the game, as the choice in the surrounding area is almost non-existent. A decent stress-free match, so a good day, all told!

Walsall v Southampton U21s
EFL Trophy Group Stage
Tuesday 1st October 2019, 7pm
Kevin Nash (Neutral Reading Fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
It was my first visit to the ground since 2000.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
Proper old school signs directing you to the ground make it so easy, car parking at the stadium is such a bonus and no worry of a ticket or break in etc. You can't miss the ground from the M6.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
It was raining so I stayed in the car until just before kick off. I did not see any food vans outside or around the ground.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
I remembered it exactly as it was, it is a tidy ground, plenty of leg room in the seats. The Main Stand when full makes a buzzing atmosphere.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The game was flat, Southampton U21 did not seem to have any star gems. A small attendance did not help, no food for vegetarians at this match, the stewards did not know where away fans were sitting...I sat with the only other Southampton fan.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Easy, it is one of my favourite grounds as you can park right outside the stadium and be back on the M6 in just a few minutes, parking was £4 for this match.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Well, I am still bitter after the 2001 Play Off Final but Walsall is a decent ground, old fashioned but clean and good stadium, a full house makes it a much better atmosphere. I was working in the area and it was a night of football, and the on site parking is ideal!

Walsall v Grimsby Town
League 2
Saturday 31st August 2019, 3pm
Mark Cartwright (Doing the 92)

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

Having drove past this stadium a few times on the M6, I felt like it had to be ticked off somehow. Not being here before being a Tranmere fan was starting to get to me.

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

With the other half being from close by we caught the train from Stourbridge Junction and switched at Smethwick Galton Bridge which took in total around an hour.

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

With this being my first visit it was one of the best have seen for transport links getting to the ground with 10 minutes to spare the train station is literally a minute walk. The locals seemed an odd bunch from the 1980's but friendly at the same time.

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

The ground was very tidy from the inside and right on top of the pitch-perfect viewing from the large stand I was in I could see this being a tough ground to go to for other teams if they had more local support and backing.

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

Walsall took the lead early on in the game but you could see Grimsby coming back into it after a poor mistake from the goalkeeper gifting the mariners a goal to get back on terms after the break Walsall give a penalty away In front of the 800 plus Grimsby behind the goal. Grimsby went on to win 3-1.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away was simply a quick walk back to the station listing to the locals moan about the club owners.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

I really enjoyed the ground and the food was brilliant. Hats off to the Walsall supporters who seen to have a lot of passion even at the foot of League 2 currently.

Walsall v Barnsley
League 1
Saturday 23rd March 2019, 12 noon
David Crossfield (Barnsley)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
Barnsley were 2nd in the table, on an unbeaten 18 match run and with 6 consecutive clean sheets. The trip to Walsall is fairly easy by train, especially as you can get off at the Bescot Halt. I've been to Walsall several times before and like to visit a couple of good real ale pubs in the town centre, plus a couple of pubs in Birmingham. This was our third consecutive away game chosen by Sky TV, so another altered kick off time. 12 noon this time. I had to rebook my outward rail ticket which was timed for a 3pm kick off.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
I travelled by train as usual. A fairly easy journey from Sheffield changing at Birmingham New Street. Cross Country managed to get me to Birmingham 36 minutes late (delay repay?) but I got to the ground with about 20 minutes to spare. At Bescot Halt you just have to cross the railway footbridge, walk through a car park and cross a road to get to the away turnstiles.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
No time to do anything prior to the game due to the 12 noon kick off. So we planned to drink in Walsall and Birmingham after the game.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
I've been several times so I knew what to expect. I don't generally like out of town stadia, but this is different. It has some character and is perhaps a bit old fashioned compared to some other grounds. Barnsley sold about 1000 of the 1500 seats on offer and stewards said we could sit where we liked. My seat was fine, although my view was impeded slightly by a post. If I had a choice I'd like to sit in the upper tier of the stand behind the home fans goal.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
No problems with the stewards. They checked tickets outside the turnstiles and were firm but tolerant of fans infringing rules inside the ground. As usual, I didn't try any refreshments. The refreshment bars are at the corners of the stand next to the entrance to the toilets, which isn't ideal. There were big queues for the toilets, which are inadequate for a decent away following. Unusually, there is no concourse behind the stand. Turning to the game, Walsall played really well, whilst Barnsley were very ordinary. The away fans were fairly quiet for most of the game, except for some individual loud moans and grumbles. Walsall had a goal ruled out in the first half for a foul and had the ball hooked off the line in the second half by Barnsley's young left back. No goal-line technology to sort it out. 
 
Walsall were troubling Barnsley on the break and the young stand-in Barnsley keeper Walton made a couple of vital blocks. In the 92nd minute Barnsley's 60% possession paid off. A good move from right to left, Mowatt picked out Brown. His first shot was blocked, but he scored from the rebound via the keeper's legs. Cue pandemonium on the away end. Brown was mobbed by fans and then booked for removing his shirt. Very lucky Barnsley. Very unfortunate Walsall. Barnsley fans find their voices. Not a great game for Sky viewers, but Barnsley 5 points clear of Sunderland who have two games in hand.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
We walked back to Bescot Halt and got a train to Walsall for a celebratory drink. We exchanged a few pleasantries with some despondent Walsall fans en route. Play like that and they will avoid relegation. In Walsall, we walked to an old favorite the Fountain Inn brewpub. Backyard ales are really good. 2 pints, 2 pork pies, 2 ham rolls (cobs in Walsall) for about £10. Friendly service. A few Walsall fans came in. We didn't see any more away fans in there. Then a five minute walk to the Black Country Arms, which had 15 real ales on offer. We then went back to New Street by train and tried a new venue for us, the Craven Arms. A decent Black Country Ales outlet. Very busy. The Plum Porter was not a patch on the Titanic brewery version, unfortunately. Finally, a pint in the downstairs bar of the Post Office Vaults before our respective trains home.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Walsall is a decent day out and fairly easy to access by train. Hopefully, Sky TV won't mess up anymore of our games kick off times this season. A very lucky Barnsley now 19 unbeaten and 7 consecutive clean sheets. Unfortunately, Luton and Sunderland are on even longer unbeaten runs.

Walsall v Scunthorpe United
League One
Saturday 12th January 2019, 3pm
Jamie Morgan (Scunthorpe United)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
We had won our previous three games coming into this one. We had an abysmal start to the season, conceding some really sloppy goals and I have honestly seen better defending in the Sunday League (adult and kids leagues) However we have already made five new signings in this transfer window. Three of those are defenders and it was very much needed.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
I travelled to the match on the coach and after briefly getting lost, we had no other problems getting there.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
I visited The Park Inn Hotel across from the ground. I enjoyed a couple of pre-match drinks and playing pool (Killer).
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
I have been to The Bescot (I still call it that) quite a few times before. I have very often described it as another Glanford Park (our ground name) except for the two-tiered stand that Walsall have behind the goal.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
It was not the best of matches I have ever seen, to be honest. However in the situation, we're in, I was more than delighted to see Scunthorpe win another game, to make it four wins in a row. I certainly didn't see a run like this happening before Christmas. In fact, I was struggling to see where the next win was coming from. The stewarding was nothing other than shambolic I am afraid. They had tried to place us in a small corner of seats and were initially not allowing any of our fans to go and sit in the middle behind the goal. This was due to previous pitch invasions from other fans we were told. However thanks to the actions of the police, who had seen that there weren't enough seats for us all, common sense finally prevailed and we were finally allowed to spread across into the middle of the away end. Whoever is the stadium manager, must learn to provide enough seats for the away fans from the start. It was a load of unnecessary nonsense. They get a mark of 1 from me and they are lucky to get a 1 to be honest.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
No problems at all. The coaches were out quite quickly.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Decent enough especially before the game, after the incident in the away end, it was ok and as I have said, it was nice to see another Scunthorpe victory. I would like to wish all the best to Walsall and their fans for the remainder of the season. Their reaction to the incident in the away end was top class.

Walsall v Gillingham
League One
Saturday 18th August 2018, 3pm
Ian Bradley (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
Both teams had made an encouraging start to the season & I was interested in which team could continue the good form.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
Easy. By coach from Meadowhall near my Rotherham base to Birmingham then a 20 minute train ride to Bescot Stadium.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
I always eat & drink in Birmingham City centre as I object to the overpriced rubbish at the grounds I visit. Walsall fans were very friendly & welcoming.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's  Stadium?
 
The Banks's Stadium although only built in 1988 is looking very tired. I was sat in the largest Homeserve Stand behind the goal, on the lower tier I had a decent view of proceedings. However, if you are unlucky enough to be housed in either one of the side stands there are pillars in place restricting some fans view.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
A pulsating game saw the home side beat Gillingham 2-1 with a terrific attacking display. There was only 4,200 there and to be honest the atmosphere was poor but if the team keep performing to the high standard that they produced on Saturday I'm sure gates will improve.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
No problems.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the Black Country.

Walsall v Stoke City
Pre-season friendly
Saturday 14th July 2018, 3pm
Ryan Jones (Stoke City fan)

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

I and my Father had never been to Walsall's ground and we are fans of Stoke City so we decided to attend the game as it wasn't all ticket and you could pay on the gate.

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

The journey was easy down the A38 (as we don't live in Stoke) before going onto the Walsall Ring Road., It then became satnav reader for my dad on Google maps for the last part of the journey. We arrived at the ground at about ten to two, car parking was easy at the ground itself and only £4.

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

We just went into the ground after we got parked.

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

My first impressions of the Banks's Stadium was that it was a decent ground, we gave it a rating of 8/10, I thought the away end was good albeit, with a few supporting pillars in the way which could impend your view, the other sides of the ground were quite good too.

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

Stoke started the game like an express train scoring twice in the first five minutes to effectively kill off the game then and there. They added a third in the second half and that was how the game finished. The atmosphere from the Stoke fans was fabulous, with the visiting supporters comprising two-thirds of the crowd. The stewards were fine albeit with one incident in the first half when they had to deal with a group of young Stoke fans. The toilets were okay, but the catering according to my Dad was rather unorganised as I bet they didn't expect so many Stoke fans to attend the game.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away was easy as we left about ten minutes before the end.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A good day out I would happily return to Walsall again.

England U17's v Italy U17's
UEFA U17 European Championships
Monday 7th May 2018, 3pm
John Hague (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
The Bescot Stadium was a new ground for me and these days I'm not too bothered by paying over £20 to watch rubbish league football when I can pay £10-£12 to watch some decent Non-League stuff. I tend nowadays to pick off League grounds when there are League or FA Cup games at reduced prices. The UEFA U17 European Championship games gave me a rare chance to tick off a few League grounds for a fiver. Kerching! I was also thinking that these games would give me an opportunity to see some rising stars of European Football. My past experience of U21 football showed nearly all of Spain's losing U21 squad from 1984 went to to the first team whilst most of England's winning team drifted into obscurity... and this was years before foreign imports and the Premier League ruined English football.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
Following the directions from this website to leave at Junction 7 of the M6 we were parked up in the station car park an hour before kick off. Because it wasn't a league game we, after asking a policeman, managed to park for free. On such a hot day we also got some welcome shade from the M6.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
We had gone without tickets so our first job was to secure a ticket for The University of Wolverhampton stand to give us some relief from the sun. After this, we popped into the club shop for a pin badge and then had a walk around to take a few photos. As this was an international fixture and they had clearly targeted the game at kids it was very sad to see and hear that young England fans are already turning into xenophobes and following in their parents narrow view of the world.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
Bescot Stadium is totally functional and unremarkable and looks almost like Blandford Park in Scunthorpe. The home end looks an impressive stand but it would have been better if it could have been balanced by a bigger main stand. In this day and age having your view blocked by pillars is unacceptable when you think how much tickets ordinarily cost.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The game was a pretty exciting game. Italy are clearly a better technical side but England's physicality eventually told much to the delight of the Brexiteer Youth. I had until today always resisted the Chicken Balti Pie but being in the spiritual home of the Balti Pie I decided to give it a go. I love Balti and I love pies and whilst the pie was okay, it is not something I would have again. Another complaint was the filling was superheated and totally untouchable for hours.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
No problems, the away end is right by the station and we took a detour around an industrial estate to avoid the queues.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
An enjoyable day, sadly Italy couldn't get a win. I must say that young kids in attendance were very disappointingly xenophobic and that can only be blamed on their parents who did nothing to challenge them. It is one reason why I have always gone with supporting (West) Germany since 1974.

Walsall v Northampton Town
League One
Saturday 28th April 2018, 3pm
Andy Willis (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
It was a key game with Walsall needing a win to stay up and Northampton needing a win to have a chance of staying up on the following final game of the season. As a neutral I was also looking to visiting a ground I had not been to before.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
The journey from Thrapston to Walsall was straightforward from the A14 to the M6; which wasn’t as busy as I’d anticipated around Birmingham; steady flow rather than crawling car park ( I did leave early so was navigating the Brum area at 11am. The ground was easy to find from Junction 9 off the M6 and there was lots of space in the supporters car park at the back of the main stand. I enjoyed the journey which surprised me as the journey is not exactly scenic. Perhaps the anticipation of the match and Bruce Springsteen spurred me on. Good job I didn’t mind diving because I’d soon be driving in the opposite direction without seeing the game!
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
I’d like to say I visited the Saddlers Bar and enjoyed some banter with other neutral supporters or fans from either Northampton Town or Walsall. I’d read the information on this website saying the Walsall supporters were a good lot from a friendly welcoming club and I had been to Northampton a few times and always been well received as a neutral visiting supporter. Unfortunately, on this visit I saw a lot of the car park and certainly little of either fellow football supporters, convivial bars or food.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
My first impressions simply walking round to the ticket office was it’s a bit stark and empty but to be fair it was only 11.30am in the morning for a 3pm kick off. I had anticipated taking it all in during the hours building up to this crucial game for both sides. I can’t comment on the feel or layout of the ground once inside either empty or full of fans as I was not allowed to purchase a ticket! Hence my day consisted of three hours driving with the highlight being able to renegotiate back the four pounds I had handed over only ten minutes earlier to the the car park attendants.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
For obvious reasons I can’t comment on the game as I didn’t get in to see it and at this point of posting this the result is unknown. The following is a warning to prevent others sharing the disappointing experience I have just had. To be honest it may have been my fault for thinking a neutral supporter can simply gain entry into a ground to watch a match? I had checked the Walsall website on the morning of the game and knew the away allocation had been sold. I looked to see if tickets were available on the day and if there were any restrictions that applied. There didn’t appear to be but if I missed this then the club certainly need to give a much clearer warning! I arrived at the ticket office late morning and was asked my name and address post code. At this point I should have lied as honesty was not to prove the best policy which says a lot about the times we live in. I live on the border to Cambridgeshire but my post code is for Northants and on this discovery I was told I could not get a ticket. I explained I was there as a neutral supporter and was in fact a life long follower of Chelsea FC. The official was polite but showed not an ounce of empathy or potential flexibility. I said my main family home had a Peterborough post code so could I submit that one instead only to be told my name was already in the system and they couldn’t break some FA rule? At this point I asked why the system couldn’t handle two Willis surnames in it with two different post codes? Surely the computers wouldn’t crash with such an information overload!
 
Unfortunately there was no way I was going to see this game and by now I was already losing the will to live when faced with officialdom so clearly intended to block any semblance of joy. It lead me to reflect on my experience only the week before when I watched Northampton as a neutral from their main home stand. When I purchased the ticket I did not need to give my post code to secure entry. When I was inside the ground I was sat next to a Plymouth supporter and a neutral, rugby loving, follower who lived in Oxford. Again neither of whom had provided post codes to prevent some form of perceived disaster. Amazingly the three of us were able to coexist, comment about the game and enjoy some banter without feeling some overriding compulsion to tear each other limb from limb. Given we are not still embroiled in the late 70s - mid eighties when the odd exchange or two did take place between supporters I feel it was reasonable to think I’d be able to get in to watch the said game at Walsall. If that’s not reasonable then again it’s a sad indictment of the times we live in?
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
After being refused entry in a post code lottery that I previously thought was only a worrying feature of this Country’s precious NHS I made my drive away easily. This was not a surprise given all the traffic was going in the opposite direction!
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Given the worrying trends toward declining interest and crowds particularly in the lower reaches of the EFL I am surprised clubs like Walsall are able to pursue a policy that seemingly prevents neutral supporters from attending their home games. I accept the mistake in thinking I could buy a ticket on the day was mine alone though I wondered if an online purchase or one made over the telephone would have been subject to this sort of scrutiny. Certainly not if someone is prepared to be economical with the truth. Mind you the reach of the Walsall FC “intelligence services” may well be extensive and deep! Not noted for their huge average crowds I would suggest the club would do well to be less cavalier in its attitude to neutral supporters in the future as at present I know of no Russian Oligarchs, Chinese investors or Ruling Elite from an oil rich land interested in taking this club forward in the immediate future. Clearly today it was very much a case of a sober, immobile, 59 year old Chelsea Supporter tooled up with a pair of glasses and a newspaper being far too much of a threat to those sensitive souls of Walsall’s Tile Stand.

Walsall v Bristol Rovers
League One
Tuesday 26th December 2017, 3pm
Yaz Shah (Bristol Rovers fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
It has been a tough season where any team can beat any other team in the league. We always have good games against Walsall and I really like watching their left-footed midfield player Ozthumer who last season I rated the best player in League One.  The Banks's  Stadium is also a very friendly ground and easy to get to.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
It was Boxing Day so I left my home in London with plenty of time up M40, M42 and M6 to Junction 7. It took just over two hours. I got close to the ground and parked free on Brockhurst Crescent, which was on the left before the stadium. Quite a few home and away fans use this road. Last year I parked in the away car park which was a bit of scrubland and difficult to get out with all the traffic on the main road.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
Went to Park Inn next to the away end as per last year and had a lager. Home and Away fans here with Sky Sport being shown. Home fans friendly as usual.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
The away end was okay but the view was spoiled by pillars. I did not mind too much as the game did not live up to expectations. The Banks's Stadium is generally fine. The away end is close to the goal with pre match warm up balls flying hilariously into the stand. Shows really the Rovers shooting skills?
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The game was generally boring which is unusual for Rovers. It was hard to see either side scoring and it finished 0-0. We had just under 2,000 away fans and like most away games, outsang and outshouted the home support. The referee good compared to most League One referees. Had tea which was a 25 minute queue and cost £2.20. Very expensive and tasteless. Stewards good as usual.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
I left five minutes early, taking the 15 minute walk to the car. It then took another 25 minutes to get onto the M6 motorway and then easy to home.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Our first draw this season, our first draw in 34 league games! Cold, a slight drizzle at half-time, but happy with a point. Although I would prefer win or loss, to have made the game more interesting! Rovers don't do many draws.

Walsall v Shrewsbury Town
League One
Saturday 7th October 2017, 3pm
Clive Richards (Shrewsbury Town fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
A Midland derby and with Shrewsbury top of the league this match had more of an edge to it.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
I live in Herefordshire so I got the train from Hereford to Birmingham New Street then a connecting service straight to Bescot Stadium station, which is only a two minute walk away from the ground.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
Away fans can use the Saddlers Club bar, but on this occasion, I decided not bother so just went straight into the ground.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
Having been past the ground many times when driving up the M6 this was my first visit here. It is a typical lower league stadium that was built in the 1990's but was beginning to show its age. The away end was compact but found it quite spacious, food in the stadium was good better than Shrewsbury's but on the downside it had only one serving hatch on open on either corner of the away end, which caused long queues and the waiting time for those arriving later with only three staff serving a full away following who very polite and the best they could to keep the wait to a minimum. The toilets looked like they had seen better days and could do with a good clean.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
It was a good competitive game which ended in a 1-1 draw which on reflection was a fair result although both teams had chances to win, there was a good atmosphere as you would expect from a Midlands derby. The stewards were fine with no problems with them.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
Getting away from the ground was easy. I got onto a train almost straight away. The trains run about every 20 minutes from Bescot to Birmingham New Street station.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
Overall a very good enjoyable day out at the Banks's Stadium. I will be going again when we play next play Walsall away.

Walsall v Shrewsbury Town
League One
Saturday 7th October 2017, 3pm
Stephen Marvin (Shrewsbury Town fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
The natch is something of a local derby. It had the potential to have a great atmosphere with Shrewsbury top of the table. Plus I had never been to the Banks's Stadium before.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
The journey to the Banks's Stadium was very easy. However, I felt that the ground had insufficient parking as it was 2.10pm and I just got the last space available in an overspill car park.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
I went straight in and bought a coffee. I had little experience of the home fans, who seemed to be keeping themselves to themselves.
 
What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end then other sides of the Banks's Stadium?
 
The Banks's Stadium ground is very like Scunthorpe's Glanford Park. It really isn't steep enough for a decent view. It has a lot of supporting pillars and the corner we were in was dingy. The three smaller stands are all the same; the big stand is impressive enough.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The game was scrappy and tense with a few dubious refereeing decisions. Walsall scored first with a worldy, then Shrewsbury equalised with a penalty, before having a goal disallowed for offside. I saw two of our fans ejected, quite forcibly, for what I don't know. The catering was inadequate for 1,673 away fans, as were the toilets.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
It took me forty minutes to get to the M6 after the game, with no sign of anyone controlling the traffic, which seems to be the way at football matches these days. Just echo what the Bolton fan said on this website about Walsall fans exiting by the same route as all the cars in the overspill car park.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
It was an okay sort of a day. Walsall though need to improve their facilities for bigger away followings.

Walsall v Aston Villa
Pre-Season Friendly Match
Tuesday 18th July 2017, 7.45pm
John Boynton (Neutral fan)

Why were you looking forward to this game and visiting the Banks's Stadium?
 
Chance of a mini man trip away to visit a couple of new grounds meant the country was my oyster. Looking for consecutive days fixtures close together led me to a few possibilities in the Midlands. Being a massive Chelsea and John Terry fan meant this game was a no brainer.
 
How easy was your journey/finding the ground/car parking?
 
I stayed close to the M1 which made the journey pretty straight forward bar the slowish moving rush hour traffic. In case of travel issues and to savour the trip I got to the ground early and found the car park at the ground to be ideal at cost of £4.
 
What you did before the game pub/chippy etc, and were the home fans friendly?
 
There was a good atmosphere around the ground. As I coach kids football I was able to watch some kids doing a session on the pitch next to the ground. I then had a wander into the club shop which was decent though short on some stock which may have cost the club with a large crowd in attendance.
 
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 easy enough to find from the M6 motorway. It is a very tidy stadium which seems to bridge the gap between the old type of stadium and the "all look the same" modern stadiums.
 
Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc..
 
The game was just a friendly but there was very little between the teams. Both played decent football until the final third then ran out of steam. This was particularly disappointing from Villa who look in desperate need of a good quality striker. The atmosphere was quite good with a real family feel about the place. On my visit to Villa Park a few years back to see Chelsea play I was disappointed that Villa fans only seemed to have one song that they kept repeating. Well credit to them as they now seem to have doubled their repertoire. The facilities at Walsall are pretty old fashioned with pretty grubby toilets and a couple of food kiosks. Hopefully a 7,000 attendance at this game will free up some money to spruce things up a little.
 
Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
 
The advantage of being a neutral means I can indulge myself with an early departure which I never do when watching Chelsea. So I left ten minutes before the end and consequently had no problem getting out of the car park.
 
Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:
 
A very enjoyable trip to a club with a very warm feel to it. From the community spirit of seeing kids training just before kick off to the general friendly ambiance of the crowd, to the helpful announcing of the train departure times from Bescot station, were all was very pleasant. The chance to see John Terry playing in less auspicious surroundings was also a good reality check for football in general. As a guy next to me in his local accent said "ee is probubly the wilthiest man oive ever sayn in the flesh" - fair point said his pal fair point!

Walsall v MK Dons
Football League One
Sunday 30th April 2017, 3pm
Harry Costnall (Neutral)

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

I had won tickets for this game in a raffle from my local Walsall College. Although I am a West Bromwich Albion fan, I thought it'd be nice to go

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

As I live fairly local it was a simple matter of taking a bus into Walsall town centre and then the train from Walsall to Besot. The train was busy but I wasn't too fussed as it was only a short five minute journey. 

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

We had something to eat at a Burger King in Walsall town centre, which was fairly quiet considering it was a Sunday. On approaching the ground the fans we saw didn't seem that buzzed seeing as it was the last game of the season and with nothing to play for.

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 for a lower league club and the views we had from our seats near the team dugouts were good. It was also nice to be in a four sided stadium of separate stands, in comparison to the newer enclosed bowl stadiums that teams seem to be moving to nowadays.

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

The game ended with MK Dons winning 4-1, with the visitors having most of the chances. The atmosphere was quite flat considering it was the last day of the season and both sides had nothing to play for. The visiting Dons fans were in good spirits considering they won 4-1. The facilities inside the stadium were okay.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

It was pretty easy getting out of the ground. The train was rammed back into Walsall but it was only for one stop so I didn't mind.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

It was quite an enjoyable visit to the Banks's Stadium. It made a pleasant change for a Sunday afternoon.

Wallsall v Oxford United
Football League One
Saturday 8th April 2017, 3pm
Rob Pickett (Oxford United fan)

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

Although at the back end of the season, the Banks's Stadium is a new ground for me to visit and a nice sunny day out. A theoretical 1 hr 45 mins journey time for a Northern Exile was appealing.

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

The Banks's Stadium is very easy to find, being just off Junction 9 of the M6. There is plenty of parking at ground and some spaces in the railway station car park opposite. My journey was delayed by an incident on the M6 though.

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

I met up with two old mates in the Saddlers Club. It cost £2 to get in and real ale at the bar. No problem with home fans and it seemed a decent atmosphere. The Saddlers Club is functional, and a good option if time challenged, as it is right by the ground.

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 one of the older "new" grounds. My only criticism were the number of supporting roof beams which were annoying.

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

Wallsall dominated the first half and should really have been ahead before they scored just into the second half. Oxford had changed shape at half time and dominated the rest of the game to equalise.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

It took half an hour to get out of the car park and this was not a huge crowd in attendance.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

A decent end of season day out and despite the supporting beams, I'd go to the Banks's Stadium again.

Walsall v Bradford City
Football League One
Saturday 17th December 2016, 3pm
Charlie (Bradford City fan)

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

I couldn't decide if I was looking forward or dreading this game. I had visited the Banks's Stadium on one occasion before, a 2-0 victory not long after we were promoted back to League One. That was a brilliant day so I was hoping for a repeat. However, in the week leading up to the game I had been very under the weather and even contemplated giving it a miss the night before! So it was sure to be a quiet and calm day from myself (on the outside anyway).

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

As always, we took the supporters coach down to Walsall which left Bradford at 9:45am. The coach parked right outside the away end and the ground can be seen from a distance away.

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

We had some dinner and a few drinks in a pub near Wolverhampton for an hour and half and arrived slightly later than planned, at 2:15. However still with plenty of time before kick off. After getting off the coach I bought a programme and headed straight into the stadium. I didn't come across any home fans near the away end but those in the ground didn't give off a hostile/intimidating atmosphere. It felt like a very family friendly club.

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

I have visited the Banks's Stadium before so I knew what to expect. The stand opposite to us behind the other goal is impressive with its size compared to the rest of the stadium. The other three stands are pretty basic and small all with a similar size. The low roof on the away end can help create a cracking atmosphere for visiting teams. The only let down, however, is the pillars which could impede your view. On both of my visits to Walsall the stewards have allowed us to sit where we please. So it's a case of whoever gets in first gets the best seats.

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

The game itself was one I felt we should of won. We had a few decent opportunities in the 1st half and maybe should of scored. We didn't start the second half well with Walsall taking lead in the 49th minute through Osbourne. City reacted brilliantly though, equalising through Jordy Hiwula 4 minutes later. The rest of the game was stressful to say the least with City having a couple of golden chances to take the lead. City fans grew frustrated throughout the game at the teams recent lack of goal scoring. The game finished 1-1 and I was disappointed we didn't take all three points.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

After everyone got back onto the coach we began the journey back up north. Getting away from the ground was easy enough and we arrived back in Bradford at around 8:30pm.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall a decent day out, ruined slightly by me not feeling great. However, it was another good (but stressful) away day following City and I hope that we can turn our goal scoring form round as soon as possible as I feel these are the type of games we need to be dragging three points from. Again, I enjoyed the day at  the Banks's Stadium Walsall FC, a nice ground to visit as an away fan and would most probably go again.

Walsall v Bradford City
Football League One
Saturday 17th December 2016, 3pm
Andy M (Bradford City fan)

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

I was looking forward to it as the Banks's Stadium is a ground that I have never been to and this was the first away game for myself this season.

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

I went with the Bradford City Supporters Coach, so the journey was quite straightforward. I noticed that the Banks's Stadium was well signposted. It took roughly two and a half hours to arrive in Walsall.

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

Before the game the coach stopped off en route at a Hungry Horse pub, which was about 20 minutes away from the ground. The food was very good. The home fans seemed friendly.

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

At first look on the approach to the Banks's Stadium, you would be forgiven for thinking that it wasn't a football ground, but part of the retail park that is adjacent to it. One thing that did frustrate me though was that there was only one turnstile open and Bradford brought 1000 fans so there was a massive queue which to be fair went down fairly quickly.

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

The atmosphere from the Walsall fans was disappointing however the Bradford fans were making a lot of noise. The only time I really heard the Walsall fans was when they scored. The stewards seemed helpful and friendly from what I saw. The toilets were located in very odd areas. They were at both corners of the away end, but not in the area where the food and drinks are sold as you would  think. There were also big queues for the toilets as there are very few of them.

The game itself was very frustrating. Bradford were the better team in the first half but Walsall took the lead early in the second half. Bradford equalised not too long later and from there on it was chance after chance for Bradford but no one could finish and it ended 1-1

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:

Getting away from the ground was easy and no hold ups at all getting out.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

Overall it was a good day out at the Banks's Stadium. The atmosphere among the Bradford fans was good. The food at the pub beforehand was good also. Everyone at the ground was friendly, it was just a shame we couldn't pick up the three points.

Walsall v Shrewsbury Town
Football League One
Saturday 15th October 2016, 3pm
Thomas Inglis (Dundee United  fan)

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

I usually plan my trips ahead, and like to cover all the leagues. Also from this guide, I noticed there is a train station right at the ground.

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

I got an overnight megabus from Dundee to Birmingham (£6 return). Then at about 10.30am a train from Birmingham New Street to Bescot Stadium (£3.70 return) and the ground is right in front of you.

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

When I got to the Banks's Stadium it was only 11am. so I bought ticket, and had a look in the club shop. I then walked into the town centre for a look around. I went for a meal and a pint in St, Mathew Hall (a Wetherspoon's). I picked up my football coupon and headed to a more football pub 'The Black Country Arms'. Whilst having a couple of beers and watching lunchtime game I got chatting to a few locals (kind of). A Walsall fan who was with his Birmingham supporting mate and an exiled Celtic fan, we chatted about football in general, and how anybody could be on 300 grand a week. All very friendly and in depth stuff as you could imagine.

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

A nice wee ground. For the first half I sat in the 'Tile Choice Stand' which is the biggest (behind the goal) and has the most vocal fans. For the second half I was able to move around to the 'Homeserve Stand'. There appeared to be a few ex-players around me and I found I was sitting next to Leon Mike who said he was the Walsall player Oztumer's agent. On hearing my accent he asked where I came from, and he told me he played for Aberdeen around 2001-02 and scored against my team (Dundee United). The away support, behind the other goal was just under 600, I thought there may have been more as this was a local derby.

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

A great game for the neutral. Walsall took the lead when Bakayoko fired them in front on 23 mins. Then a Lancashire header looped in for the equaliser, with the keeper not looking too clever. Just before half time Morris bundled in from a few yards to give the home side the lead again. I checked half time scores in the bar, which seemed fine, as were the toilets and the stewards appeared helpful enough. Onto the second half and Shrewsbury again levelled with Brown scrambling in from close in. On 65 minutes.. McGiven of Shrewsbury was sent off for a bit of 'handbags' with Bakayoko. With two minutes to go, Oztumer scored direct from the corner, during the wild celebrations, Bakayoko leapt into the crowd and was given a yellow from the ref for over celebrating, This getting him sent off having been booked in an earlier skirmish. The Walsall fans kept the rousing atmosphere going then to the final whistle.

Comment on getting away from the ground after the game :

Not so great getting on the train back to Birmingham as the Shrewsbury fans and Walsall fans and some Villa fans (playing Wolves in tea time game) were all on the same train along with a fairPpolice presence. There was some singing/shouting going on and some underlying tension but things were kept in hand.

Summary of overall thoughts of the day out:

For my English ground visit No.67, a great day of football and banter with the fans, Unfortunately soured a little with the events on the train. Anyway onto planning No.68.

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.

Walsall v Tranmere Rovers
League One 
Saturday 23rd October 2010, 3pm
Alan McKeown (Doing The 92)

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

I was actually looking forward to going to the Banks Stadium, as  I have never been there before, so it was the excitement of ticking another ground off the list and enjoying another game of football. 

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

I must say I was very impressed. It was really easy to find, there was signposts leading you all the way to the ground as you came off the motorway. There was a car park bang opposite the away end of the ground and it cost £2 which is very reasonable.

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

I never got to do much before the game because we got there about 40 minutes before kick off, me and my girlfriend had half a lager, we were located in the Floors to go stand in the middle tier, as you enter this part of the stadium and go up about 3 flights of stairs, on the middle floor, there is a massive function room with a big screen, so you can watch live football and football scores, there was loads of tables and chairs, 2 bars, it was £2.80 for a pint, £1.40 for half a pint, there is also windows in the concourse area which allows you to stand and watch the game in the warm if that's what you prefer.

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

My first impressions of the ground were it's a nice tidy little ground, pretty clean and very easy to find seats as there are plenty of signs. There is also a retail park behind the stadium which is ideal if you need to kill a bit of time before the game.

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

The game itself was not the best, a lot of long balls and the defending was pretty poor, it was mainly errors that led to all of Tranmere's 4 goals. The atmosphere was not to bad for an attendance of 3,600 it was pretty lively, stewards were very friendly and helpful. I was not too impressed with the toilets thought, very basic, 2 cold water taps which I found bizarre and there were not very clean both the the men's and ladies (as per my girlfriends advice).

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

Getting away from the ground was not too bad at all, after coming out of the car park we got held in a queue of traffic for about 5 minutes, once we got out of that queue it was a straight forward journey and no hold ups.  

7. Summary of overall thoughts of the day out: 

My overall thoughts of the day, I really enjoyed it, fairly good atmosphere, obviously the ground and the facilities helped the day as well, we got our tickets for £9.75, as they were purchased through the Sun Newspaper football ticket promotion back in August, The tickets worked out to be a reasonable price per ticket for this level of football, I would not pay the normal price of £18 per ticket that seems to be on the high side but that's just my opinion.

Walsall v Exeter City
League One
Saturday 9th October 2010, 3pm
Steve Ellis (Exeter City fan)

1. Why were you looking forward to going to the ground (or not)?
 
For me, this was a ground I had never been to so I was looking forward to not just seeing a new stadium but also hoping to see my team finally get a win away from home.
 
2. How easy was your journey and finding the ground?
 
The journey was very easy, catching a train from Exeter at 7.40am to Birmingham where we stopped for lunch at around 10.30am before getting a train to Bescot station, on arrival it was the short walk under the M6 to the ground, arriving at around 12.30pm
 
3. What did you do before the game and were the home fans friendly?
 
On arrival at the ground my first stop was the club shop to get my programme, inside the staff there very helpful. I then moved to the Saddlers Club, which cost £1 to enter. This club is of a good size with Sky Sports TV and comfortable. Reasonable priced drinks can also be found. The home fans were friendly and happy to talk about the coming game.
 
4. First thoughts on seeing the ground?
 
When you see the ground from the motorway it doesn't look too bad, but from just outside it looks just like a trading estate B&Q, but once through the gates the trading estate atmosphere goes and a match day atmosphere gets going. The stadium is an original box stadium.
 
5. Comment on the game itself, atmosphere, stewards and facilities?
 
The game was very good, despite Exeter going down 2-1 and down to 10 men, the atmosphere was good from both sets of fans as both teams needed points for different reasons. The stewards were very helpful and kept very low key, intervening when needed,  you would hardly know they were there. The toilets were small but clean but when you have a large following queues can be a problem, same can be said for the refreshment outlet as that is separated by a large barrier, obviously so the outlet can be shared with home fans, but the products are good and reasonably priced.
 
6. Comment on getting away after the game.
 
Getting away after was straight forward as all exit gates  were opened and I just had the short walk back to Bescot station, I had a short wait then once through Birmingham I was home just before 9pm
 
7. Summary of thoughts of day:
 
Overall it was a good day, despite the result. The weather was good and the home fans made us welcome.

Walsall v Wycombe Wanderers
League One
Monday 5th April 2010, 3pm
Joe Myall (Wycombe Wanderers fan)

I was looking forward to my first visit to the Banks's stadium, having never been before it was a chance to tick another ground off my list. However after hearing bad reports about the ground I wasn't sure what to expect.

I took the train from Wycombe to Birmingham which is  always an easy journey on the Chiltern line. From Birmingham New Street there was a train line direct to Walsall stopping at Bescot stadium. From the station it is very easy to find the stadium with the massive floors2go stand visible from the station as it towers over everything else . I didn't do anything before the game, deciding just to go right into the ground.

Due to the small size of our away following (I think that was the reason!) we were put in on half of the West Bromwich Building Society stand. I took my seat in the top row where the view was good but for a few supporting pillars obstructing the view. They aren't too bad as long as you pick your spot so you don't have the goal blocked from your view. The main floor2go stand massively stands out above everything else as all the other stands are the same height. This makes the ground look a bit uneven to say the least.
 
The game itself was a dull one with Walsall getting 2 early goals and then sitting back with Wycombe's attack force failing miserably. The stewards thought were excellent, letting us stand, not causing any trouble and just being overly very pleasant. I didn't try any of the food but I was told that the hot dogs were very good. the atmosphere from both ends was quite flat, but neither team really had much to cheer about. the game finished 2-1 to Walsall after we scored a late consolation goal.
 
Getting away from the ground at full time was a very easy walk back to the train station with a 5 min wait for the next train. However the away fans were as vocal as I had heard them all day, but nothing was meant badly. 

Overall I enjoyed my day out at the Bescot stadium, despite the dull game, and would certainly go back again and would recommend it to any football fan. I would also recommend taking the train to the game as it is just generally easier.

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 19th November 2019

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