Proud. That’s the word. That’s how I felt on Tuesday evening.
Eight volunteers with a bucket a piece collected £6,440 towards the Supporters’ Club’s hardship fund from fans attending the game against Burton.
They included three Stoke City fans who each threw in £20 and a young lady who emptied £12 worth of coins, sent by her nan, into my bucket.
The generosity of young and old who approached me was humbling: Young lads emptying their pockets of change. An old steward opening the gates to come outside and make a donation.
Many people had doubtless given before (and bought shares) when the vultures were circling the first time back in 2003.
But here they were again demonstrating to Stoke-on-Trent City Council that it had made the right call – a brave decision to give Port Vale another chance at life, thereby preserving 136 years of our heritage.
The last 10 minutes of Tuesday night’s game will stay with me forever.
Supporters around the ground, on their feet and singing in unison: ‘Stand Up If You Love The Vale’.
I’m convinced it spurred the players on to the barn-storming finish which included two late goals.
It was great to see so many faces who had been absent for so long.
Mark Rutter, architect of the Starve ’Em Out (SEO) campaign, went in through the turnstile by me and told me of his idea for ‘reverse SEO’ – the Feed Em ’Up campaign.
He’s right. Now is the time for us to demonstrate to the city council, the administrator and would-be investors, the enormous potential of Port Vale and its fanbase by getting ready to buy season tickets and emptying the club shop of merchandise.
In the coming weeks and months there will be many fund-raising events and initiatives to help get our club back on its feet.
I know Vale fans will do more than their share and I’ll be asking our celebrity supporters to also back us in any way they are able.
Not everyone has to give money. Some times it’s more about what you do and what you say.
Now is the time to bury our differences – irrespective of what you thought of the old board or the stay-away fans.
Now, more than ever, we must rally behind not just Micky and the lads but all of the staff at the club who are currently in limbo.
Port Vale is a family and together we will emerge stronger from the ashes of a period of terrible mismanagement and self-interest.
Here’s to that brave new dawn.