Address: Bescot Crescent,
Capacity: 11,300 (All-Seater)
Chances are, if you’ve been on an away day and headed either up or down the M6, you will have passed the Bescot Stadium. This ground however should not be viewed as just a landmark on your way to somewhere else.
Built between 1989 and 1990, it has been the home of Walsall Football Club ever since its opening.
Plans for the ground began following Terry Ramsden’s takeover of Walsall in 1986, which involved the club moving from their outdated Fellows Park Stadium to a newer site.
Land at Bescot Crescent was identified in 1988 and work began the following year.
The ground gets its name from the area of Walsall it is based in, although it is known currently as the Poundland Bescot Stadium for sponsorship reasons.
Location and Getting There
The stadium is based around two miles south of Walsall Town Centre. The M6 Motorway is not far out beyond its southern side, and there is a retail park to the northwest. Heading northeast from the Bescot Stadium brings you to the University of Wolverhampton, Walsall Campus.
To get to the Bescot Stadium by car, most will exit the M6 from Junction 9 which is around one mile west of the ground.
Walsall do have some parking spaces available, but I would suggest heading north and more into Walsall if you want to find free street parking.
The spaces in the nearby retail park are not available for use.
Walsall Station is near to the Town Centre and a very long way from the ground.
The closest station is actually Bescot Stadium, served by West Midlands Trains and less than five minutes walk south of the stadium itself.
Outside the Stadium
Coming from the Bescot Stadium station first brings you to the South Stand, which for sponsorship reasons is known as the University of Wolverhampton Stand.
Its exterior has a brickwork base with grey and red corrugated iron in the upper parts.
Turnstiles are over towards the southeast and southwest corners, and one of the stadium’s car parks is out beyond the stand.
There is also a large perpendicular advertising board outside which is designed so that those driving by on the M6 can see it.
Continuing round in a clockwise direction brings you to the Main Stand.
The exterior is very similar to the design of the South Stand, with brickwork at the base and grey and red corrugated iron in the upper parts. There is additionally a large building protruding out of the stand which houses all the club’s major facilities, such as the Players’ Entrance, Club Shop, Club Offices and Ticket Office. The Main Reception is in the middle of the stand, with the Club Shop to the left and the Ticket Office to the right. The Reception for the Bonser Suite, named after former Walsall owner Jeff Bonser, is next to the Club Shop.
Some of the turnstiles can be found by the stadium’s southwest corner, and the others are in a gap underneath the building between the Club Shop and Bonser Suite reception.
The North Stand is known for sponsorship reasons as the HomeServe Stand, easily the largest of the four.
It has a brickwork base with mostly grey corrugated iron above, and that upper part hangs over the path underneath.
Fans walk along this route below and you can find most of the turnstiles here, as well as the entrance to the Stadium Suite. Turnstiles for the middle and upper tiers are on the northeast and northwest corners.
There is a large 3G pitch right out the back of the HomeServe Stand, so this path underneath the stand’s exterior is a very useful route to get from the western side of the stadium to the eastern side of the stadium.
The East Stand is known as the St. Francis Group Community Stand.
It continues the design of the rest of the Bescot Stadium, brickwork at the base with grey and red corrugated iron in its upper parts.
The First Aid Room and Junior Fan Zone Entrances are in the middle of the stand, and turnstiles are close by to here on either side.
There is a row of car parking spaces outside of the stand, but more spaces are available out the back of the nearby Park Inn hotel.
Inside the Stadium
The University of Wolverhampton Stand is made up of a single tier of red seating.
There are a couple of executive boxes right at the very back, but most of the area behind the seats is taken up by a white wall.
Supporting pillars come down regularly along the front of the stand and as a result there is a high chance that your view of the pitch will be restricted somewhat.
Both the southeast and southwest corners have no seating in them and are instead open spaces which house food stalls and toilets. You can find an electronic screen up above the ground in the southeast corner of the stadium.
I remember coming here once as an away fan and an unfortunate plumbing accident had left the southwest corner flooded down by the toilets entrance!
The Main Stand is also single-tiered and the same height as the adjacent University of Wolverhampton Stand.
There are a lot more executive boxes behind the very back row here and you can find Walsall’s changing rooms, dugouts and tunnel in the centre of the stand.
Supporting pillars come down from the front and will likely restrict your view somewhat, although the central blocks of the stand do not have any pillars in front and so provide a much clearer view.
The HomeServe Stand towers over the rest of the stadium and it is the part of the ground that people see when driving past it along the M6 Motorway.
The stand is made up of three tiers, with the Stadium Suite separating the bottom tier from the two above. Almost all of the seats in the HomeServe Stand are red, except for the letters WFC which are spelt out in white along the central blocks of the top tier.
There are no supporting pillars coming down from the roof above and so your view of the pitch is very good, although you may find the slanted roof is partly in the way if you are sat at the very back of the HomeServe Stand.
Large windshields cover both sides of the middle and top tier, ensuring that every seat in the stand is protected from the elements.
The St. Francis Group Community Stand follows the same design as the Main Stand and University of Wolverhampton Stand.
It is a single tier of red seating, although there are no executive boxes along the very back.
Supporting pillars run regularly down the front from the roof and so there is a very strong chance that the view from your seat will be restricted somewhat.
Away fans are housed behind the goal in the University of Wolverhampton Stand.
Depending on the size of the travelling crowd, the blocks near to the southwest corner are used, whilst larger crowds take up more or all the University of Wolverhampton Stand blocks.
The presence of supporting pillars in this away section can lead to a restricted view, but these shouldn't be an issue if you are based down in the front row.
Pubs available to supporters on a matchday include:
-The Saddlers Club at the stadium itself (Home Supporters Only)
-The Black Country Arms (High Street, WS1 1QW) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in Central Walsall near Walsall Station)
-The King George V (Wallows Lane, WS2 9BZ) (Typically Home and Away Supporters)
-The Park Inn (Bescot Crescent, WS1 4SE) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located very close to the Bescot Stadium itself)
-The Fullbrook (246 West Bromwich Road, WS1 3HL) (Home Supporters Only)
-The Wheatsheaf (4 Birmingham Road, WS1 2NA) (Typically Home and Away Supporters) (Located in more central Walsall)
The Bescot Stadium is a decent football ground, and one that most football fans will have seen even if they haven’t visited there for a game.
It’s well placed close to one of England’s major motorways and equally easy to reach via train.
Views from your seat are partially restricted in three of the four stands, but the northern side of the ground is very impressive and offers a great view from anywhere inside. No wonder it’s so popular with Walsall supporters.
A unique but welcome part of the West Midlands football family and definitely worth watching a game at.