Whitney looking forward to meeting Walsall's fans
Boss Jon Whitney says he is looking forward to meeting with fans tonight as Walsall look to re-connect with disgruntled supporters.
Whitney, together with board members Stefan Gamble, Dan Mole and Leigh Pomlett, will hold a question and answer session with fans at the Banks's Stadium.
The meeting, which will begin at 6.30pm, is likely to be a difficult evening for the four men with Saddlers supporters growing increasingly frustrated with events on and off the field.
A number of fans are unhappy with how Whitney is managing the team with Walsall currently sitting just three points above the relegation zone in League One.
But major concerns have also been expressed about a perceived lack of ambition from owner Jeff Bonser – with a protest about the overall direction of the club due to take place during Saturday's match with Oxford.
Whitney though sees tonight's meeting as an opportunity for the club and fans to talk honestly, in the hope they can then move forward together.
"I’m sure a lot of my message will come out tonight because we’ve got this meeting," he said.
"I understand and am aware of everything that’s going on.
"All I can say is everything that we do here comes from a good place. We all hurt when we don’t play well and we all hurt when we lose.
"The one thing that is guaranteed is that we will graft, get our heads down and we will try to do whatever we can to try get some performances on the board and try to climb the league.
"That’s all I can do but that’s just words – we need to show it on Saturday (against Oxford) that we are willing to stand up and put some energy and passion into the shirt, and if we do that then hopefully the fans will be with us.
"Everybody is entitled to opinions and I totally understand that. I am quite looking forward to tonight to speak to some of the fans and maybe give my side of the story on a couple of things that I think have been a little bit one-sided on a few issues.
"In terms of me as a character, the arrogance and stuff like that, that has been suggested – which everybody who knows me knows that just isn’t me.
"It will be nice for me to actually touch base with a few of our fans because I need them. The players need the fans.
"We have to do it as a collective and if this can help us to get a balance and just to put a few issues to bed, then this is what it’s for and we welcome it as a club."
Whitney accepts the atmosphere tonight could get heated with Walsall's passionate fans wanting answers to a host of issues.
"I don’t think it will be party hats and streamers," he continued.
"There’s going to be some emotion, of course there is.
"But when you’ve got emotion, you’ve still got a chance because it means we haven’t given up.
"So I’m expecting some emotion, I’m expecting some honesty from everyone.
"When I say that, I don’t mean we haven’t been honest in the past. What I’m saying is, let’s just come there and just put our cards on the table tonight.
"I will answer everything as best as I can. And it’s nothing that I probably haven’t said in the last six months.
"Hopefully we get a good turnout tonight and hopefully I can put the odd smile on a few faces and they can see the positivity and enthusiasm I have for this club.
"I know they have the same. It doesn’t hurt anybody more than it hurts me."
Whitney revealed his family have recently stopped attending games due to the abuse he has received.
"I want my missus and my kids to come back and watch games," he added.
"We need to get back to some positivity moving forward.
"I have got two little kids and they don’t need to listen to the things that are being said and the abuse I have been getting.
"They can stay at home and watch Peppa Pig.
"That’s the way football is. It’s my kid’s decision not to come and I am not going to force them to come and watch.
"We will see what happens in the future."