Walsall v Darlington

Saturday 9th November 2019, 3pm
Emirates FA Cup 1st Round

Walsall FC:
Banks's Bescot Stadium, Bescot Crescent, Walsall, WS1 4SA
Tel: 0870 442 0442

History: Formed in 1888 out of the merger of two other Walsall sides, and as Walsall Town Swifts became founder members of Division Two in 1892 but dropped out a few seasons later for 20 years, moving grounds twice. Founder members of Third Division North (with Darlington). The club achieved a famous win over Div 1 champions Arsenal in January 1933. It had a few Cup scalps in the 1970s, with the club between Division Three and Four and some financial problems. The club moved from its old Fellows Park home - now Morrisons supermarket - to the all-seater Bescot in 1990. Walsall were League Two champions in 2007 and finalists in the FL Trophy in 2015, under current Villa boss Dean Smith - but their first Wembley appearance ended in a 2-0 defeat to Bristol City. We last played them here 11 years ago in the League Cup. The Saddlers were relegated from League One in May 2019, while long serving owner Jeff Bonser sold up.
Record Attendance: 11,049 v Rotherham United Div 1, May 2004; 25,453 v Newcastle, Div 2 Aug 1961 (old ground)
Capacity: 11,300
Last season:
Honours: Div 4 champions 1959-60, Div 2 play-off winners (2001). Div 4 runners-up 1979/1980, 1994/1995; Div 3 runners up 1960/1961, 1998/1999.
Record victory: 10-0 v Darwen, Div 2, March 1899
Defeat: 0-12 v Small Heath, Div 2, Dec 1892
Nicknames: The Saddlers
Colours: Red/white
Manager: Darrell Clarke
Chairman: Leigh Pomlett

Random trivia:
Famous fans/players/connections: Alan Buckley, Paul Merson (player and manager), John Barnwell, Ray Graydon (managers), Allan Clarke, Mick Kearns (players), Pete Waterman (Pop Idol judge, fan).

Click for Streetmap of ground

2018/19: Away fans normally get the University of Wolverhampton stand - seated - behind the goal. Prices will be £12 adults, £6 concessions. Family ticket - one adult and one Under 18 is 15. Cash on turnstiles.

From the North (171.5 miles from Darlington): After leaving the M1 and joining the M42, take the M6 until you exit at junction 9 (signposted Wednesbury) At roundabout take the A461 onto Bescot Road - (signposted Walsall). Continue forward onto Bescot Road A461. Entering Walsall. At traffic signals turn right onto Wallows Lane - A4148 (signposted Ring Road, Birmingham A34) At traffic signals turn right onto Bescot Crescent, signposted Bescot Stadium.

Parking: There is a car park at the ground (4 per car, 6 per minibus and 12 for coaches). The Green Zone car park is locked two hours after the final whistle and any vehicles left on the car park after this time will be locked in. Parking also available at the nearby Bescot Stadium railway station for 2 and behind the away stand or some street parking off Wallows Lane and Fullbrook Lane.

Darlington FC Supporters' Club
Coach. Contact: Darlington FC Supporters Group, call 01325 250531 or 07951 434731 to book a seat. Details of the supporters' group travel can be found here.

Taxis: AAA Cars 01922 451111; Walsall Radio Cars 01922 644577 ; A1 Express Taxis 01922 622222; Z Cars 01922 633433

There are services from Birmingham New Street to Bescot Stadium , which has its own station behind the away end - only a couple of minutes walk - it's oppose the ground and under the M6 fly-over, with the away entrance clearly sign-posted. Don't take trains to Walsall!

The journey time is around 20-25 minutes.

The King George V, Wallowes Lane
Opposite Morrison's supermarket, it gets busy on matchdays and is the only pub within walking distance of the stadium. While The Saddlers Club at the ground may let in a few away fans but gets packed early on.

Real ale/Walsall town

It's recommended if you've time to try Walsall town centre - it is about five minutes further on by train from Bescot. Here is a printable town centre map to help.

The Black Country Arms, High Street, Walsall
Well worth the trip, this Grade II listed town centre real ale pub promises 20 beers and ciders. It's part of the Black Country Ales chain, which also has pubs in Birmingham. It is on two floors and the choice of ales was excellent on our visit, while there are also cobs and snacks. The pub features its own beers, as well as other changing ales. Open from 12pm. DAFTS recommended.

Inside the Black Country Arms.

Victoria, 23 Lower Rushall Street, Walsall WS1 2AA
Good choice of real ale in small rooms. Not far from Walsall railway station but needs a taxi or train to the stadium.

White Lion, 150 Sandwell Street, Walsall, WS3 3EQ.
Back street, sloping boozer on the road towards the ground. Real ales include a local mild. Click for streetmap

The Fountain Inn, 49 Lower Forster Street, Walsall WS1 1XB is another local CAMRA award winner in the past. It's a really excellent community local, with the Backyard Ales brewery and other changing beers featured. Very reasonably priced beers too. This is a backstreet pub up the hill - but still only five to 10 minutes walk from the station. DAFTS recommended.

The Lyndon House Hotel Upper Rushall Street, Walsall, WS1 2HA
Decent real ale choice is CAMRA-recommended, it also does food and accommodation. There are about 15 rooms - it was a comfortable and very reasonably priced stay, with excellent breakfasts. DAFTS recommended.

Those staying around Birmingham, there are some good suggestions on the Birmingham CAMRA site. Can we strongly recommend, The Wellington on Bennett's Hill, off New Street for sheer choice, while a short walk away is The Post Office Vaults, 84 New Street is in a side-street off New Street really, a recently-opened basement bar which has a good choice of handpumps but a vast range of bottled beers - and is proving a hit with real ale drinkers locally.

If you're staying over, I'd recommend the Jewellery Quarter for some great pubs, including the Lord Clifden, Red Lion and Brown Lion.

To eat: The ground has decent catering - a large range of pies plus pasties and hot drinks, although due to numbers of our fans, they only had hot dogs left after a while. Otherwise, there is a Macdonalds on the retail park outside.



The town, famous for its saddles and leathers traditionally, has a leather museum, an art gallery and a large Victorian park - the Walsall Aboretum, which has 10,000 trees over 80 acres - although its annual illuminations were scrapped a few years ago.