As Christmas is upon us, I would like to look back and reflect on what ISSA has achieved during the past twelve months of what has been a somewhat surreal year.
With Coronavirus putting an early end to last season and disrupting the current one I’m sure, like myself, every fan can’t wait to get back to the games and be back amongst friends watching the Saddlers.
However, as an organisation we didn’t let the pandemic stop us in our aim to help Walsall FC, local grass roots football and various good causes within the borough.
Below, I’m proud to list just a few of the things we did during the last twelve month period:Sponsored a complete revamp of the Bescot Bar area and wall murals, which I’m sure you will all love when we get the chance to return.
* Sponsored Manager Darrell Clarke for the second year running.
* Sponsored up and coming young player, Sam Perry.
* Donated to the Youth Academy of Walsall FC.
* Donated to the WFC Ladies Team.
* Launched the Chris Nicholl Foundation in conjunction with Ace Academy.
* Launched he Chris Nicholl Little Stars initiative in association with Forest Star FC, which saw them take over a piece of scrubland at our base the Railway Club that has now become a fantastic training and playing area.
* Held a Christmas Party for residents at the Nursing Home Chris Nicholl attended. Chris thoroughly enjoyed the event and was presented with a specialist tracker watch in conjunction with ex-players (Too many to name but they know who they are – thank you lads!).
* Donated to the Outreach Project in Walsall, helping the most vulnerable in our community.
* Donated to Adventure Land Nursery in Aldridge to help children with learning difficulties.
* Sponsored Little Aces.
* Provided a full playing strip for Lane Head Jaguars Under 14s.
* Provided Christmas wine and biscuits hampers to our older fan base.
* Provided Easter Eggs for our junior fans just prior to lock down.
* Monumental effort in the summer to provide £6,000 worth of meals to our hardworking NHS staff at various sites within the borough.
* Finishing the year by providing the senior team who play out of the Railway Club with a complete new strip which we will be presenting to them in the new year.
So all in all, in a surreal year, we have still ploughed in excess of 20k back into the causes outlined above. We had a whole lot more planned but due to the virus our activities were somewhat curtailed.
Next year promises even bigger and better things and we will continue to grow and support our club and community to the very best of our abilities.
This year we also launched our online shop, providing merchandise with our own retro spin on WFC related items. The shop has proved a phenomenal success and we intend to grow our 1888 range of merchandise during the coming year with some fantastic new items.
Of course, we also had some desperately bad news along the way as we lost one of our own, Sharon Bromley. A founder member of ISSA, Sharon, who acted as our Constitutional Officer, lost her brave battle with pancreatic cancer in November. She is greatly missed by her fellow committee members and we will be doing something in her honour as soon as circumstances allow.
On a personal note I’d like to thank my fellow committee members for all their hard work behind the scenes and our commercial sponsors for their ongoing support. Last but by no way least, thanks to our members and all fans of Walsall FC, because without you guys we couldn’t do what we do.
Your continued support and generosity has enabled so much of ISSA has achieved this year to take place, and as long as you guys are happy with what we stand for and what we aim to accomplish, we will carry on.
To an end, I’d ask that if you are happy with what we do, make sure to head over to our membership page and join or renew for 2021 – it only takes a couple of minutes but makes a big difference. We are also looking to add new commercial partners, so if you are interested please get in touch!
We have some big things planned for 2021, and would love you all to be part of it.
Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, and a safe and prosperous new year.
Dave (Olly) Beckett
Chairman, Independent Saddlers Supporters’ Association