Here we are on the eve of a new season and while supporters of other clubs are eagerly awaiting the big kick-off I’m afraid things aren’t so rosy in the garden at Port Vale.
I suspect we are the only club affected by a demonstration march before the game tomorrow.
No matter what noises come out of the board room or the chief executive’s office, make no mistake: Port Vale is a club at war with itself.
It’s now just over two months since the travesty of an EGM when, despite losing a vote of no confidence, the three board members who weren’t ousted refused to step down.
Since that time, just as I feared, the offer of a seat on the board to fans’ group North London Valiants has been exposed as mere posturing to placate fans desperate for change.
Meanwhile, Mark Sims’ attempts to join the board have been frustrated by the simple lack of co-operation he has received from the club.
It shouldn’t take two months to become a director but I can fully understand Mark’s reticence to sign up to guarantees when he hasn’t been fully appraised of the club’s financial situation.
Last year, according to the club at the time, we sold 4,300 season tickets.
We will be substantially down on that figure which will make for a pretty poor atmosphere at home games – even accounting for fans who pay at the turnstiles.
I know an awful lot of people who have renewed their season tickets and try to stay out of the politics – preferring instead to focus on what happens on the park.
But my thoughts tomorrow will be with several hundred Vale supporters who won’t be attending a home game again while Messrs Lloyd, Bratt and Oliver remain on the board.
They know full well that Mike Lloyd replacing Bill Bratt as chairman equates to a shuffling of deck chairs on the RMS Titanic.
Supporter John Amos is one of the missing. He has created a virtual ‘Wall of Discontent’ – with each brick containing the name of a fan who isn’t renewing his or her season ticket and the amount of years they have been supporting the club.
It makes for heartbreaking reading when you see all those names – some of whom have been supporting the Vale for 30, 40, 50 or even 60 years.
The ‘wall’ equates to almost 11,000 years of support which will be lost from Vale Park this season. It is an eye-watering figure.
So as we wish Micky and the lads all the best for tomorrow against Crawley, spare a thought for absent friends who are making the ultimate sacrifice for the club they love.