Reversing dwindling attendances is Keith Ryder’s main priority

Sighs of relief all round then after a full meeting of the city council voted to write-off a large chunk of the Vale debt and accept Keith Ryder’s bid and the CVA was secured.

Grateful as I am, in the end I would like to think the decision was something of a no-brainer for officers and councillors alike.

I can’t imagine anyone was seriously advocating liquidating the business which is the heart-beat of Burslem.

By the same token, going back to the bids process because two men and a dog were picking holes in Keith Ryder’s offer (which had previously been agreed by the council’s cabinet) was presumably not tempting neither.

All in all, I think the local authority is worthy of praise as it has managed to walk that fine line between balancing what is best for the public purse and the long-term future of Port Vale.

Having met Mr Ryder privately for the first time this week I have to say I was impressed with both his candour and his willingness to listen.

There is more to this unassuming businessman than meets the eye and I am starting to feel quietly optimistic that he has the will, the expertise and the financial clout to turn things around at Vale Park.

What is clear is that Keith Ryder understands what has gone on in recent years and his priority is, quite rightly, to get more bums on seats in our 20,000-seater stadium by restoring some pride in the club.

We have to face facts: Port Vale has lost a significant number of fans in recent years due to a) the quality of the product and b) the conduct of previous boards of directors which has led to supporter unrest.

It is this loss of customers which is the single most important issue facing our club at present.
Forget which players stay and go this summer. Leave that to the manager.

We should be discussing the fact that we have a club which, despite being in deep financial crisis, is only managing to attract crowds of 4,000 for home fixtures – even after the despised previous board has left the building.

That tells me we have a hardcore of around 3,800 fans who will be at Vale Park come hell or high water and that is a figure which we must look to increase dramatically in the near future to make the club sustainable.

It is high time that we all united behind the preferred bidder and started pulling in the same direction.

That includes Mo Chaudry whose comments of late have been unhelpful and, I would suggest, more about saving face than saving the Vale.

If you want to invest, Mo, then I am sure Mr Ryder will be keen to listen to your proposals.

But now really is the time to put up or shut up.

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3 thoughts on “Reversing dwindling attendances is Keith Ryder’s main priority

  1. melvyn williams says:

    Good one, Martin. But we cant just leave it to Keith Ryder we all must do our best to get more supporters to VALE PARK. So I think you should call a supporters meeting with this topic top of the list.

  2. Many clubs have the problem of short-term fickleness regarding attendances. For Vale in 2011-12, this tranche of fans were most likely ‘anti-protest’ after a win and anti-board after a defeat. To stop going though because the ten point deduction saw off any play-off challenge is blinkered: how could we have competed in League One with the previous club structure in any case?

    Saying that, those like myself who chose not to get a season ticket this year have been hammered by the match day admission price. I’d like to see the fiver reduction for the last home game go a little further. The resulting attendance could then be used as a barometer for Vale’s current fan base, regardless of past political affiliations. That may be a bitter pill to swallow though – I just hope the figure makes happy reading for us all.

    Goo-arn the Vale.

  3. mark burton says:

    You are right there, Melv, mate. It’s down to us as well. I have a idea that might bring a few in on some games: Why not have a family game day once a month where one, full-paying adult on the gate can bring a child for a fiver or one paying adult and one other pays half the price gate fee?

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