Walsall F.C. finally break free from tenancy



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Walsall FC acquires Poundland Bescot Stadium Image: Walsall FC

The EFL League Two team Walsall Football Club (WFC) announced on December 16th, 2022 that it has executed its option to acquire its home ground – the Poundland Bescot Stadium in Walsall, England (UK) – thus ending decades of tenancy.

‘Walsall FC’ stated that the club is now the owner of the above stadium, ‘The Saddlers’ Club and the adjoining land, and rental payments which have been paid by the club for over 30 years will discontinue immediately.

The Walsall Football Club is a professional association football club based in the town of Walsall, West Midlands, England (UK). The team competes in EFL League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system.

The 11,300-capacity Bescot Stadium, also known as the Poundland Bescot Stadium for sponsorship purposes, is a football stadium in Walsall, England (UK), and the current home ground of the Walsall Football Club. It was built in 1989-1990 by GMI Construction, with a reported build cost of £4.5m.

‘Walsall FC’ further stated that the acquisition of the stadium was a key component of the transaction on May 31st, 2022, in which the Trivela Group acquired majority stake in the football club from Leigh Pomlett (majority shareholder and Chairman of the Walsall Football Club). At that time, it was agreed that Trivela would provide additional debt and equity financing to facilitate the purchase of the stadium on or before May 31st, 2024.

Birmingham, Alabama (US)-based the Trivela Group creates enduring value through the acquisition and management of association football clubs.

Observed Benjamin Boycott, the club’s Co-Chairman, “Today (December 16th) is a landmark day in the life of the football club. As of today, the club owns its own stadium after decades of tenancy. The club’s home for the future in the town is secure. The club owes a tremendous debt of gratitude today to Pomlett, who has now delivered on his promise from 2019 to facilitate a situation where the club would be reunited with the freehold. More than anything, the club owes a debt of gratitude today to its supporters, who have ultimately made this moment possible. They have stood behind this club throughout high points and low points on the pitch, multiple ownership changes, a global pandemic and, of course, uncertainty around the stadium. Today, they can finally say that their club has a permanent home.”

This transaction was executed pursuant to an option agreement negotiated between Pomlett and the previous owner of Walsall F.C. Jeff Bonser at the time of Pomlett’s acquisition of the club in 2019. It was executed with a conservative mix of debt and equity financing, with the financing provided by the First Southern National Bank in the United States. Additional shares have been issued to the Trivela Group in exchange for a substantial injection of equity, necessary for the purchase. Simultaneous to this transaction, Trivela has also acquired additional shares from Pomlett, and now holds approximately 90 percent of the total share capital of the football club.

Exulted Pomlett, “I am very excited to see this come to fruition. The relationship that the club and the community have built with Ben and Trivela has been extremely positive, and today (December 16th) is a momentous occasion in our history. As a lifelong supporter of the club, I can honestly say that today is one of the most important occasions in recent memory.”

Enthused Boycott, “I’d encourage every Walsall supporter to join us at our upcoming matches to celebrate this occasion. I am very proud of the progress that Michael (Head Coach of Walsall F.C.) and the team are making on the pitch – they are putting in tremendous effort and have been rewarded with a string of good results. Today is a new chapter in the long and proud history of Walsall F.C. and an exciting day for all of us, and as I have said before, I firmly believe that our best days as a football club and as a town lie ahead of us.”

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