Friends and family pay tribute to much-loved Walsall family man

Tributes to NHS worker Mark Rainer, who passed away early this month from a rare form of cancer, have flooded in.

Mark Rainer with his son, Josh

The 46-year-old family man from Walsall was a devoted public servant when he was diagnosed with Pericardial Sarcoma in 2022. Mark lost the battle with his illness when he passed away peacefully on 2 January with his partner by his side. 

Mark was known as a very supportive colleague, having worked for the NHS for over 20 years, most recently as a Senior Pharmacy Assistant for the Trust at Walsall Manor Hospital.

Outside of his professional commitments, Mark proved to be a devoted partner to Nikki and a caring father to his 15-year-old son, Josh, as well as to his 8-year-old stepson, Wilton. He was widely recognised as a gentleman with a wonderful sense of humour.

Mark was also a devoted fan of Walsall F.C., and both the club and its fans paid tribute to his life with a minute’s applause at the third-round FA Cup tie in Southampton.

Walsall fan goes on 16-hour hike to raise money

One Walsall fan went even further to help raise money for Cancer Research in Mark’s memory. 32-year-old Josh Piddock embarked on a gruelling 48-mile walk that took him to six football stadiums: Coventry City, Birmingham City, Aston Villa, West Bromwich, Wolves, and Walsall.

Starting at Coventry City’s stadium, he walked for 16 hours through the night, visiting the home grounds of Birmingham City, Aston Villa, West Bromwich Albion, Wolverhampton Wanderers, and Walsall.

Fundraiser arrives at The Poundland Stadium to a warm welcome

Smashing his initial target of raising £500, Josh told Pioneer Magazines: ‘I was inspired to raise money for cancer research after seeing all the messages on social media about how kind Mark was and how sorely he will be missed. It was clear that Mark was one of the good guys who had been taken away too soon.’

A separate GoFundMe campaign also raised over £5,000 to establish a trust fund for Mark’s son.

Both campaigns are still open for donations:

Walsall FC Ready To Tackle New Season With Renewed Hope

After a disappointing few years, which saw The Saddlers drop out of League One and make little impression in League Two over the last three seasons, renewed hope has arrived at Bescot Stadium.

walsall fc

Alongside new Head Coach Michael Flynn, who took over the reigns in February 2022, numerous changes have been implemented this year.

In addition to new owners in the form of the Trivela Group, a board re-shuffling and new commercial partners, including stadium sponsor Poundland, it’s been a busy summer for the club with a raft of new signings aiming to reinvigorate the Bescot boys for the new season.

Even the club’s social media has received an overhaul with fans enjoying fresh and creative content that has teased each of this summer’s new signings.

Though there’s still plenty of time for more signings before the 2022/23 season starts on July 30, 13 new players have joined the club.

Walsall’s Summer Signings – 2022

Name Position Age Contract length Previous Club
Owen Evans Goalkeeper 25 2 years Cheltenham
Adam Przybek Goalkeeper 22 1 year Wycombe Wanderers
Peter Clarke Defender 40 1 year Tranmere Rovers
Oisin McEntee Defender 21 2 years Newcastle Utd
Liam Gordon Defender 23 2 years Bolton Wanderers
Liam Bennett Defender 20 Season loan Cambridge Utd
Joe Riley Defender 25 2 years Carlisle Utd
Brandon Comley Midfielder 26 2 years Dagenham
Isaac Hutchinson Midfielder 22 1 year Derby
Flynn Clarke Midfielder 19 Season loan Norwich City
Taylor Allen Midfielder 21 1 year Forest Green
Andy Williams Striker 35 1 year Cheltenham
Douglas James Taylor Striker 20 Season loan Stoke City

While fans wait patiently in the hope of one or two more new strikers, it shows a firm intent by Michael Flynn, the board and the new owners that they’re committed to change and to shift the momentum in a club that has been on a downhill slide for a number of years.

Expectation is growing around the club for the new season and there appears to be plenty of reason for Walsall fans to be excited about the future.

Michael Flynn contracted as Head Coach until 2024

Ultimately, it will be on the pitch where fans will want to see results and The Saddlers will be hoping for a strong start to the new season. With the new fixtures for 2022/23 now released, the team has the perfect opportunity to continue the momentum of the summer with a strong performance at the Poundland Bescot Stadium against Hartlepool United on July 30.

Timeline of Significant Changes at Walsall – 2022

  • 15 February – Michael Flynn appointed Head Coach
  • 22 February – Wayne Hatsell appointed Assistant Head Coach
  • 22 March – Rob Williams appointed as Academy Manager
  • 30 March – New food offerings appear at Bescot in the form of the Punjabi Grill
  • 30 March – Walsall team up with The Fan Experience Company to increase fan engagement
  • 14 April – Jamie Fullerton steps down as Technical Director
  • 27 April – Poundland announced as new principal partner
  • 23 May – New online store launches
  • 25 May – Walsall sign Liam Gordon
  • 27 May – Walsall sign Oisin McEntee
  • 30 May – Walsall team up with new pouring partner, Molson Coors
  • 6 June – New owners announced as Trivela Group
  • 9 June – The Saddlers partner with Phoenix Consortium
  • 10 June – Walsall re-launch season ticket Early Bird campaign following demand
  • 13 June – Walsall sign Joe Riley
  • 15 June – Walsall sign Andy Williams
  • 15 June – Walsall sign Liam Bennett on loan
  • 20 June – Walsall sign Taylor Allen
  • 20 June – Walsall sign Brandon Comley
  • 21 June – Walsall sigh Adam Przbek
  • 21 June – Walsall sign Owen Evans
  • 21 June – Kaleidoscope Plus Group become official charity partner
  • 22 June – Restructing of board of directors confirmed
  • 22 June – Walsall sign Isaac Hutchinson
  • 30 June – Walsall announce  number of season tickets sold is best for 18 years – 3,000
  • 30 June – New Head of Coaching and Goalkeeping announced for the Academy – Lee Rostron and Thomas James
  • 1 July – Walsall sign Douglas James Taylor
  • 6 July – Black Country Lifeline become official charity partner
  • 11 July – Walsall sign Flynn Clarke

Walsall FC Celebrates Key Workers With Free Tickets

Walsall Football Club are giving Covid-19 keyworkers the chance to enjoy pre-match hospitality and watch an upcoming match at Bescot Stadium.

walsall fc

The offer is open to 10 Saddlers fans and you can either nominate yourself or someone who you think deserves the tickets.

The prize is one ticket for you and a guest to the Papa John’s Trophy match against Brighton & Hove Albion U21’s on Tuesday 14 September.

It includes a meal in the Savoy lounge pre-match and a complimentary parking space in the Bescot Stadium car park.

To make a nomination, simply email: before 9 September and ensure you use the subject line: “Key Worker Celebration”.

Keep an eye on the Saddlers website for details of the winners.

Related News

Walsall Football Club Ditches Tickets For QR Codes

Walsall Football Club has ditched the ticket-based book that fans would usually receive when buying a season ticket in favour of a smartphone QR code for the 2021/2022 season.

walsall fc

Unlike previous years, Saddlers fans can only purchase a season ticket online from the e-ticketing website. Once the sign-up process is complete, supporters will receive a QR code which they can scan at the turnstiles on match days.

“The ONLY way to secure your return to the Banks’s Stadium and purchase a season ticket will be online via our e-ticketing site. We believe this will ensure a more efficient, simpler and Covid-safe process for all supporters,” reads a statement on the official site.

Individual tickets for matches will also be sent via mobile.

Though the mobile ticketing system is the preferred method of entering the stadium, the club has confirmed that supporters who don’t own a smartphone can request a card by phoning the club office.

Season ticket sales are now open with a fast-track period running until July 18 allowing fans to buy their season ticket at a reduced rate, from £250 per adult for the HomeServe Lower Stand to £350 for the main stand.

After this date, standard prices will be charged.

Many clubs already offer cashless turnstiles and the initiative is set to increase with lower league clubs adopting the technology for the new season.