Manager of Walsall Football Club, Dean Smith visited Walsall College’s recently launched £11m Business and Sports Hub this week and presented Supported Learning students with silver medals following their success at a regional football tournament.

The group of 12 Supported Learning students, who have a range of disabilities or impairments, were crowned runners-up in the AoC (Association of Colleges) Sport West Midlands - Football for student with Learning Disabilities Tournament, which took place on Friday 6th November at the Portway Lifestyle Centre, Oldbury.

The team, who were crowned national champions last year, beat off tough competition from four other West Midlands’ colleges in this year’s regional final but narrowly missed out on gold medals.

The squad, who are sponsored by The Midcounties Co-operative, scored an impressive 14 goals and only lost their final game during the tournament.

Curriculum Manager for Supported Learning at Walsall College, Paul Bagnall, said: “Many of the students are big Saddlers fans so they were really excited about being presented with their medals by Dean. It was a great reward for all the hard work and commitment they put in to the tournament and beforehand in training sessions. We are all very proud of their achievement.”

During his visit, Dean was also given a tour of The Hub and its outstanding sports facilities, including the gym, which is fitted with over £100,000 worth of top of the range fitness equipment, the multi-purpose sports hall, which can be hired for a range of team sports, and the sports injury clinic.

Dean said: “The Hub is a fantastic venue which is clearly focused on providing quality services and facilities for the whole community; it’s just what we need in Walsall. The sports facilities are exceptional and have been created to very high industry standards.

“I’m looking forward to strengthening the club’s partnership with the college and exploring more ways in which can work together.”

Walsall College’s Sports Development Co-ordinator, Mark Howard, commented: “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to showcase The Hub and the new sports facilities to Dean. There are a number of additional partnerships we are exploring together which will help to enrich our Sport curriculum and develop students’ industry skills further, and also support Walsall FC in their ambitions.”