Supporters have contacted OVF to tell us that the football club have cancelled the lifetime season ticket offer. While the club is entitled to do so, it still appears to be a major PR gaffe.
Around 15 fans took up Vale’s offer to buy lifetime tickets in 2005. Depending on their age, they paid between £1,500 and £8,000 to secure a seat at Vale Park for the rest of their days.
Even though the Bill Bratt regime ended when the club plunged into administration in 2012, the deal was still honoured under administrators Begbies Traynor and when Paul Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite took over the club.
However, fans who took up the life season ticket offer were sent an impersonal “Dear Supporter” letter from the football club several weeks ago. The letter stated that as the club was in new ownership that the deal was no longer valid. Fans were informed that they could purchase this season’s season ticket for half-price as a goodwill gesture but after that time, normal prices would apply.
One disgruntled lifetime season ticket holder told OVF: “While I appreciate the club needs all the money that it can get, for the small number of people involved, it would have generated more goodwill if the half price offer had been extended especially as a number of individuals have been left out of pocket by the scheme when all we tried to do was help the club in its hour of need back in 2005.
“I can’t say that I will be as forthcoming next time the club comes up with raising money ideas such as those that I have supported in the past like bricks in the wall, seat sponsorship, limited edition shirts, share ownership and so on.
“All of the lifers that I have spoken since receiving our letters, which even had the discourtesy to address us as ‘Dear Supporter’, seem to share my views.”
While the club is entitled to end the lifetime offer in principle, we believe that common sense and common courtesy should have prevailed instead.
Is the club really that desperate for money that it is prepared to disenfranchise some of its elite supporters for the sake of a few extra thousand pounds each season?
Port Vale FC tells us that we should be proud of our history and these individuals by putting their hands in their pockets at our hour of need should be honoured and celebrated, not treated as financial cash cows. The fact that the club couldn’t even be bothered to address these individuals by name shows a lack of concern and courtesy.
This news also does not cover the former board and chairman Bill Bratt with glory. Bratt made false promises that these tickets would last for life and clearly they have not. Will he and his board members now return that falsely obtained money to the fans?
OVF urges the club to reconsider this move and reinstall the lifetime offer. We owe it to this unique and loyal bunch of fans.