Rob Fielding says that opening the unused portion of the Lorne Street stand would help address fans’ concerns over Vale Park’s reduced home capacity.
Rob Fielding writes…
I would suggest that this summer’s priority should be the concourse fundraising…
The recent high profile games against Bristol Rovers and Newport County have revealed a much reduced home capacity at Vale Park stadium. The overall capacity is now 15,036 but with 4,500 seats for away supporters, it leaves a maximum of just 10,536 for the home fans.
It’s not exactly clear what the revised capacity is due to, but the reductions have taken place in the stadium’s older stands – the Railway and Bycars with the newer Lorne Street stand unaffected. With that in mind, perhaps it’s now worth a concerted effort to raise the money to enable the Lorne Street stand to be fully opened.
To recap the situation… in the summer of 2020 an additional 1,500 seats were installed in the Hamil End side of the Lorne Street stand, making the whole structure seated. However, as the concourse in that half of the stand remains uncompleted, the stand cannot be opened for matchdays as essential features such as turnstiles, exit gates, toilets and refreshments are not in place.
The news prompted a call by the Supporters Club to raise the £100,000 needed to complete the concourse work and allow the stand to be fully opened. However, due to the Covid pandemic and other initiatives such as the John Rudge statue fundraiser, fundraising for the concourse seemed to have largely stalled.
While the fundraising for a deserved statue of Rudgie is undoubtedly a good idea, I wonder if it’s best for fans to approach these various initiatives in order and not start another fundraiser until the previous one is finished. While the John Rudge statue will be warmly celebrated when it is unveiled, I would suggest that this summer’s priority should be the concourse fundraising.
The work on the concourse isn’t going to happen ahead of the tie with Swindon Town but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t come as a welcome boost if it was completed for next season. After all, if the club do triumph through the play-offs, they would expect higher attendances and more issues such as those for the Rovers and Newport game, unless the number of seats for home fans can be raised. Even if Vale don’t win through the play-offs, having a significant number of new seats available for home fans alongside brand new facilities can hardly be a bad idea.
So, by all means organise and promote other, great fundraising initiatives, but for me, top of the list should be an attempt to complete the Lorne Street concourse ahead of next season. It would increase the home allocation to around 12,000 and possibly put an end to some of the complaints circulating in recent weeks.
For those who want to contribute a link to the fundraising page is here –HAVE YOUR SAY ON THIS FEATURE – CLICK HERE TO POST A COMMENT