So it’s official. Port Vale have a High Court hearing to go into administration on Friday. I sit here now, not in shock, but relieved. This may seem an odd feeling to have when an event like this happens, but to call this situation odd would be to do a disservice to just how badly Port Vale fans have been treated. While I could spend pages upon pages describing what has happened, the basic facts speak for themselves, and make horrible reading:
– £140,000 unpaid tax bill
– £3,500,000 debt.
– A fan poll showed 97% of fans wanted the board to leave.
– Combined salary of CEO and Chairman topping £200k + perks.
These figures wouldn’t seem so bad were we in the Championship, and we all know of clubs higher up the pecking order who operate with much larger debt, but to a team such as Port Vale, this was crippling. This lack of professionalism came to a head on Tuesday of last week, when the players, assured of payment at the normal time of midnight, were told at 10pm that they weren’t going to be paid. The board didn’t have the decency to tell them this, instead they had to be told by Micky Adams. In fact, only one member of staff was paid throughout the club on Wednesday, that person being the CEO himself, one Perry Deakin.
But now, thankfully, we have the chance of a fresh start. These are turbulent times ahead, and while there will be a glass raised at the departing of the board (Whose surnames form the catchy, and all too fitting, acronym MOLD), the real problems now begin. The cash flow is in such a poor state, the local council are having to give the club a cash injection of around £600k to allow us to continue to trade. It is going to be rough times ahead, no-one can doubt that, but now that the failed experiment that was Valiant 2001 is finally being removed from the club that I love, we have a chance to move forward.
On a personal note, it has been a turbulent few years for fans of Port Vale, and special praise must go to the Port Vale Supporters Club for taking the fight to the board. Without them, I may not have been able to blog about Port Vale, as I may not have had a club to support…..
“The night is always darkest, just before the dawn”
Written by Steve Donaldson, We Are Going Up’s Port Vale Blogger
Steve tweets at @the_vogster