Things have changed quite a lot since the first Port Vale Supporters’ Club meeting I attended as a committee member.
It was at Tommy Cheadle’s pub at Vale Park and I think the head count was about 30 – including the committee.
We sat there scratching our heads wondering why more people hadn’t attended. Was it a bad night? Was there Champions League football on telly?
In actual fact I think it was simply because there wasn’t much to talk about at the time – other than the ongoing saga of the Sproson statue (which is why I had got involved).
Of course this was before we had confirmed what many had feared – that the Blue Sky deal was, in fact, pie in the sky and had never been what it was cracked up to be.
I think back then, however, few of us could have guessed just how sour things would turn at our club.
It was bad enough when we found out that Peter Miller was earning a salary of £100,000 a year plus benefits for the previously unpaid figurehead role of chairman.
Then we discovered he and Perry Deakin had used £500,000 worth of ‘nil paid’ shares to vote themselves on to the board and misled shareholders into believing they had actually put money into the club.
Surely it couldn’t get any worse… But it did.
Perry Deakin told us the club couldn’t afford to feed the VIPs at the Sproson statue unveiling – presumably because Mr Miller’s remuneration package had gobbled up the buffet allowance.
The Supporters’ Club was then locked out of Tommy Cheadle’s in a fit of pique before Peter Miller signed the now infamous Gibraltar loan agreement – thereby mortgaging Vale Park and breaching the city council loan agreement.
Even the manager was led up the garden path. The promised January transfer window war chest did not materialise and we couldn’t even hold on to the two loan players we had – forcing Micky Adams to put square pegs in round holes as he has been barely able to field 11 players.
Meanwhile, Vale fans have been painted as troublemakers who intimidate the staff at Vale Park by a board of directors who are out of money, out of ideas and running out of time.
They have spent the last month staying away from the club or relying on a steward or police escort to get them to and from their vehicles.
Messrs Deakin, Miller, Lloyd and Oliver remain in denial of their acute failings and are treating Vale fans, shareholders and employees (such as manager Micky Adams) with utter contempt.
Well the tide has well and truly turned, ladies and gentlemen.
Anyone who attended last night’s packed Supporters’ Club meeting will know that the writing is on the wall for the obstinate Mike Lloyd and his cronies.
There was standing room only and I felt proud to be there among so many passionate advocates of Port Vale who are determined to rescue their club from a self-interested few.
More than 1,000 people are now members of the Supporters’ Club and every poll conducted – either online or via the turnstiles – has put the fanbase almost unanimously against the current board.
96, 97 or 98 per cent (depending on which measure you want to use) want rid of the four men who have brought our club into disrepute.
The city council must now be looking closely at their investment of taxpayers’ money into Port Vale.
MP Joan Walley is very concerned and will be doing her utmost to open up lines of communication with various parties.
Staffordshire Police are to receive a letter from a former copper asking them to look into the shenanigans at Vale Park.
The Supporters’ Club has a crack legal team in place which will hound Messrs Deakin, Miller, Lloyd and Oliver at every turn.
Former club directors Stan Meigh, Dave Smith, Mike Thompstone and Paul Humphreys have signed over their proxies to the Supporters’ Club. Others – such as Peter Jackson – will be asked to show their true colours and help us to oust the not-so-fab four.
Basically Peter, you are either with us or against us. There is no middle ground.
More than 25 people with a raft of business expertise have come forward offering to assist an interim board with their analysis of the club’s accounts.
The sheer breadth of the alliance being put together against the current board is eye-watering and speaks of a community outraged by the behaviour of the club’s directors.
Mr Lloyd and friends: We have a strategy. It is called shock and awe. Whether it’s via an EGM or some other route, your time is up.
Read my Port Vale articles every Friday during the season in The Sentinel