In his latest “One Vale View” column, Rob Fielding says the board’s cut-price ticket offer and offers to talk to fans shows that SEO is working and the board are desperate for the campaign to stop.
I am not surprised by Perry Deakin’s decision to offer cut-price tickets to the Crawley game. The CEO has apparently told the Sentinel that if the anti-board protests are postponed then there will be a cut-price ticket offer and the board will talk to the fans.
But there is no point in talking, as I said in a previous column, Vale fans want actions not words. Another meeting will be seen as a stalling tactic designed to stop the board getting bad publicity on a day when the national media will be focussing their attention on Crawley’s first league game.
Desperate times obviously call for desperate measures and Deakin’s move shows the Starve ‘Em Out campaign is working and is definitely hurting the board.
Deakin himself may have pulled off some high-profile sponsorship deals recently and deserves credit for the calibre of sponsorship brought in. However, the key to the effectiveness of those deals is the revenue brought in and the club have remained defiantly silent about how much revenue the club has earnt from the stand sponsorships et al.
We have already received confirmation from North London Valiants that the board is desperately worried by SEO, while even the board’s ahem, optimistic, season ticket sales report shows a significant drop in number.
This latest cut-price offer shows the real depth of their financial concerns.
However, it may surprise the board to know that the depth of feeling against them will not be stopped just by a short-term price decrease and the offer of a chat.
This is not about the short-term, most, if not all, protesters are concerned about the long-term future of Port Vale FC and a cut-price ticket gimmick plus the chance to have a cup of tea with Mr Lloyd will not halt these protests.
These cheap and empty gestures will not simply erase the board’s shortcomings – years of financial mis-management, poor judgement when appointing managers, lack of progress on and off the pitch, mounting debts, appalling PR, a diminishing relationship with their fanbase, repeated stonewalling of genuine investment and failing to live up to promises.
No, in fact, there is a much simpler way for the board to stop the protests – that is to accept the vote of no confidence at the EGM, to accept the result of polls by NLV and the Supporters Club, to stop putting personal interests and ego ahead of the long-term future of Port Vale FC and offer their resignations.
Do that and Saturday will change from a day of mass protests to a day of mass celebration.
About the author: Rob Fielding has been a Port Vale fan for thirty years. He founded the award-winning onevalefan.co.uk website in 1996. These are his personal views and he welcomes your comments on them.