Sunday, 2 October 2011

Walsall - The Bescot Stadium

Walsall FC
Bescot Stadium
Bescot Crescent
West Midlands

01922 651416
Official Website

Matchday Number: 30
Saturday 2nd May 1998
Walsall 0-1 Wycombe Wanderers
Nationwide League Division 2

I have been to the Bescot Stadium on several occasions and also drive past it regularly, as it is clearly visible from the M6 motorway.

My first visit was on the 2nd May 1998. Wycombe were just finishing the 1997/98 season, and this was their last game. The Blues had assured safety from relegation a couple of weeks back and had recently announced Neil Smillie as permanent manager, following the departure of John Gregory to Aston Villa. The team were unbeaten in 5 games, despite not scoring many, things had been tightened up at the back.

Paul Read made it 6 games unbeaten, his goal ensuring that Wycombe won 1-0 to seal all 3 points. I do remember a couple of things from that day - firstly that Walsall were the first ever club to do Balti Pies (of which I had a few) and secondly. the Wycombe fans doing the conga around the away end, to the bemusement of the home fans and the stewards.

I visited Walsall on 3 further occasions with Wycombe, losing on each occasion. The most notable being a 5-1 hammering in the midst of our FA Cup run in 2001 as our league form took a battering. I also visited on one further occasion - I was going to Burton v Burscough in the FA Cup 2nd Round in 2005. But that got called off and so I ended up going to Walsall v Yeovil instead, where the visitors triumphed 2-0.

THE BESCOT STADIUM was built around the same time as Wycombe's Adams Park ground. Originally it was a bowl like construction, with all stands the same height - 3 sides seating and 1 side terracing, when I went there in 1997 However, following their promotion to the Championship, the one remaining terraced area was made all seater, a tier added on top and renamed the Floors-2-Go stand. It is clearly visible from the M6, meaning that the club can gain more than most at their level in sponsorship money. Overall I quite like the Bescot, it's not the most inspiring stadium, nor has it got a load of pubs and food places nearby, but they used to have a good programme shop and their fans have always been friendly and welcoming.

For more Walsall related stuff, take look here - Jack and the 92


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