Jeff Bonser: Walsall chairman ends 31-year association with club as Leigh Pomlett takes over

Jeff Bonser
Under Jeff Bonser's leadership Walsall reached Wembley for the first time in 2015 and spent five seasons in the second tier of English football

Walsall director Leigh Pomlett has taken over the League Two club from long-standing chairman Jeff Bonser.

New chairman Pomlett, who has been on the board since 2010, has acquired Bonser's 76% majority stake.

Bonser, who has been the main shareholder for over 28 years, and his brother Robert have both stepped down as directors.

Pomlett has also agreed an option for the club to purchase the freehold of the Bescot Stadium from Bonser.

"There is a platform here to move this club forward," Walsall-born lifelong supporter Pomlett told the club website.

"My takeover of the club has been ongoing for a number of months, which has allowed me to work alongside my fellow directors in making a number of strategic changes and appointments that have come to fruition.

"I firmly believe that, on the football side of the club we have made some excellent appointments and that (manager) Darrell (Clarke) and his team are the right men to take this club forward.

"Having sat on the interview panel for both Darrell and (academy manager) Miguel Llera, I am confident that the club is in good hands.

"It is vital that we build strong relationships with our supporters if we are to grow and prosper. I'm looking forward to a bright future for everyone connected to Walsall Football Club."

'An honour and a privilege' for Bonser

Darrell Clarke
Walsall are hoping new manager Darrell Clarke will lead them back to League One at the first attempt in the forthcoming season

Bonser's association with Walsall goes back to December 1988, when he became a director before becoming the major shareholder in June 1991 and then chairman three months later.

The club moved from Fellows Park to the Bescot in 1990, with the Bonser brothers buying the lease to the stadium in 1991 and four years later purchasing the freehold, both through their pension fund, and subsequently charging the club rent to use it.

"To have been a custodian/director for over 30 years has been an honour and a privilege," said Bonser, who saw the club twice gain promotion to the old First Division, now the Championship, in 1999 and 2001.

"I will continue to be a supporter. I am looking forward to spending more time with my wife Karen, who has played a major role in the success we have experienced during our time together at the club.

"I would like to thank all of the players and managers I have worked with for some amazing memories that will live with me always, I would like to thank the supporters for everything they have done and continue to do for the club; the staff for their hard work and loyalty over many, many years."

Walsall were relegated last term and will begin the new League Two season with an away game at Northampton Town on Saturday.

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