Following Director Mike Lloyd’s claim that the board were only partially to blame for the club’s finances and that fans’ protests and historic debt also contributed, CEO Perry Deakin has now claimed that former Chairman Bill Bratt is also to blame.
Deakin is the second member of the board to have expressed sorrow over the club’s fianancial, and unlike Lloyd, Deakin does at least acknowledge the board is also to blame telling the Staffordshire Sentinel: “I have to hold my hands up and say we made some errors as a board, me included.”
Deakin broke his recent silence to tell the Sentinel: “Port Vale would typically start a new financial year, July 1, with about £750,000 in the bank from season tickets.
“That would see them through cash flow requirements throughout the season.
“But there were losses from previous years and, around the time of the EGM, the board had taken decisions such as paying back a brewery loan.
“With the losses, increased security and policing costs, and a fall in attendances, we actually started the financial year with zero in the bank.
“For a club like Port Vale, which needs to start with around £750,000 in the bank, that is a major problem.”
Deakin believes the club would have faced administration by the end of August were it not for commercial deals such as clinching a new catering contract.
Deakin also claimed that Peter Miller was correct to breach the council loan agreement and secure a loan on the Vale Park ground. He added: “There was a loan in the budget and Peter was aware of that, so I don’t think he was acting outside of his remit.
“I think Peter’s motives were right. He wanted to give the club an opportunity to survive because it was looking increasingly difficult when the Blue Sky money didn’t come in. I think Peter saw that short-term loan as a way of keeping the club in operation while other investment was secured.
“He perhaps should have advised us earlier, but I think he thought he was doing the right thing.”
Deakin also predictably blamed the customers claiming that supporters’ protested harmed the club’s finances: “I understand the supporters’ frustration and desire to protest. But ultimately it has damaged their football club because, any protest that starves the club of income when we desperately need it, can only hurt.
“I would agree with Mike’s assessment that it has cost us somewhere between £200,000 and £350,000.
“That’s made a huge difference to where we are.”
Deakin also said was not happy with former chairman Bill Bratt’s assessment in The Sentinel last week that the club isn’t being run properly. Deakin said: “Bill conveniently forgets the reason the club is in this mess is because we started the financial year with no money in the bank. That was on his watch.”
He also says Bratt didn’t make him fully aware of the club’s problems.
He said: “I was given a very rosy picture of the finances, was told there were no more problems and signed a contract. But the first time I attended was one of the last games of last season. I had to fight my way through six-deep protesters so I did think that things were not perhaps as they had been painted.
“Perhaps in hindsight I was a bit naive. I had a look at the club’s website and there didn’t appear to be any issues there. I guess I should have looked at The Sentinel’s site.”