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Walsall FC
Banks's Stadium

Still known to many fans as the Bescot Stadium
Capacity: 11,300 (all seated)
Address: Bescot Crescent, Walsall, WS1 4SA
Main Telephone No: 01922 622 791
Fax No: 01922 613 202
Ticket Office: 01922 651 414/416
Ticket Office Fax: 01922 613 202

Team Nickname: The Saddlers
Year Ground Opened: 1990
Pitch Size: 110 x 73 yards
Shirt Sponsors: HomeServe
Home Kit Colours: White & Red
Away Kit Colours: Black and Grey
Kit Manufacturers: Diadora
Official Web Site: www.saddlers.co.uk
Unofficial Web Sites:
The Saddlers (Sport Network)
Saddlers Talk Forum

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Contents
What's The Banks's Stadium Like?
Future Developments
Looking Towards The Tile Choice Stand (photo)
What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters?
Five Rivers Family And Sign Specialists Stands (photo)
Where To Drink?
Homeserve Main Stand (photo)
How To Get There By Car & Where To Park
Sign Specialists Stand
(photo)
By Train
A Closer Look At The Tile Choice Stand (photo)

Admission Prices
Programme & Fanzine
Ground Layout
Local Rivals
Disabled Facilities
Fixtures 2014-2015
Record & Average Attendance
Fans Ground Reviews
Hotel Accommodation
Banks's Stadium Location Map


 

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What's The Banks's Stadium Like?
The Saddlers moved to then called Bescot Stadium in 1990 from Fellows Park, which had been their home for 104 years. A fairly simple affair, somewhat similar to Glanford Park in Scunthorpe, which was opened two years earlier, the stadium received a boost in 2003 with the opening of a huge stand at one end. This is a large two tiered affair that completely dwarfs the rest of the ground. It is smart looking, with a glassed area running across its middle, which houses the concourse. Unusually, it has a slightly larger upper than lower tier. This end before it was re-developed was previously called the Gilbert Alsop (a former Walsall playing great) Stand, but in a commercial sponsorship deal, was renamed the Floors 2 Go Stand and is now currently the Tile Choice Stand.

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

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

In a corporate sponsorship deal with Marstons Brewery, the stadium has been renamed the Banks's Stadium.

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Future Developments
The Club have announced that they have been granted planning permission to redevelop the Sign Specialists (William Sharp) 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.

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Looking Towards The Tile Choice Stand


Tilechoice Stand, Banks's Stadium

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What Is It Like For Visiting Supporters?
Away supporters are housed in the Sign Specialists Stand at one end of the ground, where around 2,000 away supporters can be accommodated. There are a few supporting pillars at the front which could impede your view. The good news though, is that even a small amount of away fans can really make some noise and make a good atmosphere. A trip to Walsall can be disappointing in terms of trying to get there and the stadium itself, but is more than countered by the relaxed atmosphere around the ground and the friendliness of the Walsall fans themselves.

Neil Harding a visiting Hull City fan provides his thoughts on the stadium; 'In my opinion The Bescot has to be one of the poorest grounds in the country. It has a strange look to it with three covered stands all the same size, but one large stand that towers over the rest of the ground, giving it a somewhat lopsided feel. I found the away end to be rather cramped and the view distorted by one of the four pillars that run across the front. The only good thing is that it the stand is covered, which means a good away following can create a lot of noise. The away end is served by a food kiosk stuck in each corner, and near to the toilets which created a bit of a bottle neck at half time, especially as a large away following was present. The food though, if you are prepared to wait, was excellent, especially the chicken balti pies. The home fans didn't appear to be threatening in anyway and the stewards came across as a friendly bunch of people. The amount of police on duty though did seem a little excessive for what was a bit of a nothing game'.

Inside you will find a range of Pukka Pies available including Chicken Balti (
allegedly Walsall were the first Club in the country to stock Balti pies) and Steak & Kidney Pies (2.90), Cheeseburgers (3.30), Burgers (3.10), Hot Dogs (3.10), Sausage Rolls (2) and Pasties; Cornish (2.30), Minced Beef and Onion (2.30) and Cheese & Onion (2.30).

Neutral supporter going to the game?

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

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Five Rivers Family & Sign Specialists Stands


Five Rivers Family Stand,
                    Walsall

The large electronic advertising hoarding viewable beyond the ground is apparently the largest in Europe!

Where To Drink?

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

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

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Homeserve Main Stand


ABS Burton Main Stand Walsall

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How To Get There By Car & Where To Park

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

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

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

Car Parking:
There is a good sized car park located at the ground (cost 3) and behind the away stand, which lends itself to a quick getaway after the match. Bescot Railway Station also offers car parking for 2. Alternatively there is some street parking to be had off Wallowes Lane.

Map showing the location of the Banks's Stadium (at the bottom of this page).

Post Code for SAT NAV: WS1 4SA

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Sign Specialists (Away Fans) Stand

Sign Specialists (Away
                    Fans) Stand Walsall

By Train
Bescot Stadium has its own Railway Station, situated behind the away end 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.

Remember if travelling by train then you can save on the cost of fares by booking in advance. Visit the the trainline website to see how much you can normally save. Click on the trainline logo below:

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A Closer Look At The Tile Choice Stand


A Closer Look At The Tile
                    Choice Stand

Admission Prices

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

Home Fans*:
Homeserve Main Stand:
Adults 22 (20.50), Concessions 17 (15.50)

Tile Choice Stand (Upper Tier): Adults 22 (B 20.50), Concessions 16 (B 14.50)
Tile Choice Stand (Lower Tier):
Adults 18 (B 16.50), Concessions 14 (B 12.50)
Five Rivers Family Stand: Adults 22 (B 20.50), Concessions 16 (B 14.50)
Five Rivers Stand (Family Tickets):
1 Adult + 1 Junior 24 (B 22.50), Extra Junior on family ticket 11 (B 9.50)

Away Fans*:
Sign Specialists Stand: Adults 22 (B 20.50), Concessions 16 (B 14.50)


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

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

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Programme & Fanzine
Official Programme 3. There is also an excellent programme shop behind the William Sharp Stand.
Ninety Minutes From Europe (NMFE) Fanzine 50p

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Ground Layout


Layout

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

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

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Fixtures 2014-2015
Walsall FC fixture list (takes you to the BBC Sports Website)

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Record & Average Attendance
Record Attendance:
11,049 v Rotherham United
Division One, May 9th 2004

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

Average Attendance:
2013-2014: 4,807 (League One)
2012-2013: 4,234 (League One)
2011-2012: 4,274 (League One)

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Fans Reviews Of Bescot Stadium
Sam Hodgson (Neutral) 5/10/13
Danny Brennan (Sheffield Wednesday) 23/4/11
Teresa Jewell (Sheffield Wednesday) 23/4/11
Paul O'Shea (Doing the 92) 26/2/11
Tino Hernandez (Bournemouth) 12/2/11
Alan McKeown (Doing the 92) 23/10/10
Steve Ellis (Exeter City) 9/10/10
Joe Myall (Wycombe Wanderers) 5/4/10

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Hotel Accommodation
If you require hotel accommodation in the area then first try a hotel booking service provided by Late Rooms. They offer all types of accommodation to suit all tastes and pockets from; Budget Hotels, Traditional Bed & Breakfast establishments to Five Star Hotels and Serviced Apartments. Plus their booking system is straightforward and easy to use. Yes this site will earn a small commission if you book through them, but it will go to help with the running costs of keeping the Guide going. The Hotels listing also includes details of how far away the accommodation is located from the football ground.

Access their Walsall Hotels and Guest Houses page.

Remember that you can use the above link or panel below to book any other hotels that you may need for business or leisure, either in the UK or abroad.



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Map showing the location of the Banks's stadium, railway station and listed pubs

 

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Feedback
If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me duncan@footballgroundguide.com and I'll update the guide.


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Copyright Duncan Adams 2013
All rights reserved
Last Updated: 1 August 2014