THE CHALLENGE: When Walsall Football Club created exciting plans for the former Saddlers Club, First Class Technologies was pleased to assist in the venue’s transformation.

THE OPPORTUNITY: Walsall Football Club’s new owners, Trivela Group made plans to revamp the existing Saddlers Club. The venue had fallen out of use over the years, and ultimately closed in 2018, taking away a popular pre-game meeting place.

The new owners promised fans a new and improved matchday experience, which included the revamping of the Saddlers Club, under its new name of The Locker.

The owners wanted to create a popular destination for fans before a match, as well as a venue that had the flexibility for additional uses.

THE SOLUTION: The First Class Technologies team visited the building and met with the project management team, to understand the vision and suggest ways to make that a reality in terms of media.

The venue had some restrictions in terms of screen sizes, due to ceiling heights and other building elements. The team calculated that the optimum solution was for First Class to install ten large format screens in the two function rooms.

Due to the scale of the renovation, there was a limited time for the team at First Class to install the required tech, as they had to fit around a major refurbishment project where the main contractors were installing heating, lighting and undertaking other improvement work.

All the screens needed to play multiple video broadcasts, so First Class connected them up to 3 Sky boxes and one PC, allowing the venue flexibility to show various media on the multiple screens, for example, maybe different football matches, other sports and a music or news channel.

A standalone sound system was designed for each space (controlled centrally within the building), allowing individual control of TV sound, background music and radio microphones, plus local audio inputs if required, but for larger events the two rooms can be linked together. The two rooms are covered by a total of fourteen speakers to afford the quality audio experience for the audiences.

IN CONCLUSION: First Class designed and installed the sophisticated audio system to allow input from the broadcast feed, music and an extra feature to enable presenters to use radio microphones on match days and other functions.

Simon Murphy, Head of The Locker at Walsall FC says: “It was fantastic to have First Class on board with the project early, to advise the best way forward in terms of media. The original concept the club had wouldn’t have given us the end-result we desired. We’re grateful to the First Class team for sharing their thoughts about the initial plans, which allowed us to upgrade the specifications to meet the variety and flexibility of use required.

“In event spaces such as these, the requirements of a high quality sound system can change on a daily basis, as one day we might be showing live sport, and the next day might be a wedding or birthday celebration or even a business conference. First Class understood this, and provided us with a system with maximum versatility, but that could still be easy to operate by staff members.

“The opportunities for this venue are massive, and we’re only just scratching the surface with the potential this space offers, so we needed a team that would help us future-proof our vision. First Class has the knowledge and experience we needed to take this project forward. The team members were attentive to our needs and very professional. They were always willing to help with whatever we needed. They were as keen as us to get the best finished result, so were the perfect team for the job.”

Managing Director of First Class Technologies, Richard Hinton, says: “We were delighted to be involved in such a high-profile renovation. It was a tight project turnaround time, but we’ve got years of experience managing projects like this so it all went to plan, and everyone at Walsall FC was very helpful and a pleasure to work with. It’s fantastic to see The Locker in action with guests enjoying an improved matchday experience.”


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