ALL that matters is the long-term stability and prosperity of Port Vale


I have to say I was heartened this week by what was said at the press conference held by the administrators with regard to trying to find a buyer.

Clearly, the aim of the game now is to get to a situation where the creditors approve a Company Voluntary Agreement – thereby avoiding a points deduction at the start of next season which would be a disaster.

The fact that the administrators have received half a dozen expressions of interest in the club – at least three of which appear to be serious – is encouraging news.

Everyone always expected (and many people hoped) that Mo Chaudry would throw his hat into the ring and I’m pleased that he has.

He was treated very shabbily by the previous board and I know that many people feel that he is the future of Port Vale.

What I would say at this stage is, having fought so hard to tear the club out of the hands of a self-interested and frankly deluded group of individuals, it is incumbent on us as supporters to tread carefully at this crucial stage.

Like the administrator, we need to weigh up all the bids properly before anyone starts orchestrating a campaign for a particular bidder.

The landscape has certainly changed since Mr Chaudry published his glossy brochure ahead of last June’s EGM.

So, as with all the other bidders, I’d want to know whether his vision for the club – and the amount of money he is prepared to spend to back that vision up – has changed.

All that matters to me is the long-term stability and prosperity of Port Vale. I would hope that would also be paramount for all bidders.

Given what has happened in that last few years, stability simply cannot be achieved unless any potential owner is open and honest with the fans from day one and accepts that he/she or them must take supporters with them.

I’m hoping that all the bidders open a dialogue with the Supporters’ Club and start talking to the local media as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, we fans can still make a difference by continuing to give our 100 per cent backing to the coaching staff and players to help spur them on to kill off any fears of us getting dragged into a relegation scrap.

Talking to the staff, it is as if a great black cloud has been lifted from the club now that Messrs Miller, Oliver, Lloyd and Deakin have gone.

Port Vale may be far from safe but I’m starting to think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel thanks to the city council and our astonishing fans whose loyalty and generosity is genuinely humbling.

Read my Port Vale columns every Friday during the season in The Sentinel

It’s you or us, Mr Lloyd. Go, or Port Vale is finished


Recent results have placed Vale firmly back in the running for a play-off position.

Whether or not our threadbare squad can cope with the pressure of the run-in remains to be seen.

It goes without saying that I would love us still to be in the mix come the end of the season.

For one thing, it would provide a welcome distraction from off-the-field matters.

I also have to be honest and say that in my head every point takes us further away from a relegation scrap – should administration happen followed the subsequent points deduction.

Administration? Why am I even mentioning such an awful thing?

Because like it or not – whatever happens at the AGM/EGM – administration is a very real possibility.

You would have to be either a) plain daft or b) in denial to not realise just how serious our club’s financial situation is thanks to the spectacular failures of the current board of directors.

Think about it: The AGM has been postponed twice; The accounts haven’t been published (presumably because the directors have broken their crayons); Creditors are queuing up or issuing writs; The ground was remortgaged to help pay December’s wages; We can’t afford loan players; Staff have been laid off.

It goes on and on and on…

We may not even make it to March 13, but – if we do – it’s time for a few home truths:

1) Ordinary fans who bought shares in Port Vale need to realise their money is gone. (Unless, of course, you own enough to tempt a director to knock on your door and try to buy them off you).
Hopefully, if that happens you will tell them where to shove their pieces of silver, do what is best for your club and vote against them.

2) If, by some miracle, any of the current directors survive the AGM/EGM and act against the wishes of the vast majority of supporters, then – in my opinion – Port Vale is finished. Gates of 4,000 will dwindle even further as more fans make the ultimate sacrifice and choose to join their mates and stay away. I never thought I’d say it but I, for one, will not renew my season ticket if Mike Lloyd’s regime is still in place at the end of the season. Crucially, I won’t be alone.
Thus, Mr Lloyd, it’s a question of: You or Us. The fans were here before you and, rest assured, they will still be here long after you’ve been chased off down Hamil Road.

3) If the Supporters’ Club is successful in booting out the not-so-fab four and instituting an interim board this gives Port Vale a fighting chance financially – albeit a slim one.
Why? Because a couple of thousand extra people will immediately start attending home games again.
In my opinion, whatever happens on March 13, the current regime is finished – one way or another.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT ON MY PETITION ON THE PREVIOUS BLOG POST. HAVE A READ WHAT OTHER VALE FANS AND SHAREHOLDERS HAVE WRITTEN. IT WILL BRING A TEAR TO YOUR EYES. IT DID MINE. WHETHER OR NOT YOU BELIEVE YOUR WORDS WILL FALL ON DEAF EARS ISN’T IMPORTANT. IT’S ABOUT A CLEAR DEMONSTRATION OF THE REASONS WHY WE, THE FANS, FEEL SO LET DOWN. IT’S ABOUT RAMMING HOME THE POINT THAT THERE IS NO WAY BACK FOR ANYONE ON THIS BOARD.

Read my Port Vale articles every Friday during the season in The Sentinel

Vale fans: Give me your messages and I’ll hand them all to Mike Lloyd on March 13


On February 21 more than 250 people packed out Smallthorne Victory WMC as Port Vale Supporters’ Club presented its interim board candidates to the fans – as it had promised to do.
The gloves are now off as we head towards the long-awaited EGM which will hopefully remove the current discredited Port Vale board.
On March 13 at Vale Park, as a shareholder and journalist, I intend to present Messrs Miller, Oliver, Lloyd and Deakin (well, whoever turns up…) with a petition from the fans who are the lifeblood of our club.
Please leave your comments on this blog post – along with your name, age, details of shareholding or how long you have been a Vale fan.
I will add them to mine (and Wilkesy’s) and let’s shame these people out of our club.
Many thanks,

Martin

Dear Messrs Miller, Oliver, Lloyd and Deakin. After months of lies, misleading statements and missed deadlines I implore you to step down. You are ruining Port Vale football club and alienating its fanbase. After the nil-paid shares fiasco, the Blue Sky shambles, the scandal of the chairman’s remuneration package, the shameful treatment of Roy Sproson’s family and the mortgaging of Vale Park (among other horrific mistakes), I and the vast majority of supporters and shareholders want you to leave.

Martin Tideswell, Aged 39, Vale season ticket holder and shareholder

Martin, I’m with you all the way with Port Vale. All you true Vale fans need to let our voices be heard and get our club back.

Jonny Wilkes

Ask the nay-sayers what they are doing to protect Port Vale


Are you nervous? I’m nervous. The truth is I’m losing a lot of sleep because of Port Vale at the moment.

You see, it doesn’t matter how hard the Supporters’ Club committee works. It doesn’t matter if everything we do is done for the right reasons.

The fact is there are no certainties in any of this. Whichever way we dress it up, the campaign for change is a huge gamble.

As one of my colleagues put it: “You’re playing a very dangerous game.”

He’s right. But what choice do we have? Would he rather we all just give up and melt away – leaving Port Vale to the vultures?

Who knows if we will be successful in our stated aim of booting out Messrs Miller, Oliver, Lloyd and Deakin and instituting an interim board at the forthcoming EGM?

Who knows if we will even need an EGM – given the pressure building up on the obstinate Mike Lloyd?

I sincerely hope we don’t and that he leaves Boslem with his cronies well before the middle of March.

But what if we do get to an EGM?

An interim board may simply recommend a short-term cash injection only to find there’s no-one who wants to put money into the club.

For all we know Vale’s finances may be in such a parlous state that administration is the only viable option for an interim board.

Some people suggest Port Vale may already be trading insolvently. There’s certainly evidence of unpaid bills aplenty.

The fact is the campaign for change is genuinely heading into uncharted territory where the risks are many and varied.

Frustratingly, there will always be those fans who have sat idly by through the whole process – slating the current board and bemoaning the actions of the Supporters’ Club while offering no alternative to the status quo.

There will always be the nay-sayers. People who say ‘not in my name’. People who don’t attend Supporters’ Club meetings but pick holes in the candidates for an interim board and provide no solutions of their own.

The fact is, however, we can either trust to the current incumbents to do what is best for Port Vale or we can take our chances with people who genuinely have the club’s best interests at heart.

I’m for the latter option.

Just as it should, the Supporters’ Club has taken the key role in driving the campaign for change at our club in recent months.

During that time the Supporters’ Club has gone from being a small collection of individuals accused of not being representative of the fanbase to a large organisation with a membership of more than 1,000.

This includes literally hundreds of the club’s shareholders.

People can say what they like about the SC committee, but no-one can say they haven’t tried their damnedest to be open and transparent. No-one can say they have acted out of self-interest.

No-one can say they have backed any particular candidate to take over at Port Vale.

The truth is the Supporters’ Club committee is a collection of Vale fans. Well-meaning and hard-working but certainly not football club experts, financial gurus or legal eagles.

What the Supporters’ Club has tried to do is bring together people with the relevant skills and expertise to take the club forward.

Sure, mistakes have been made. You can’t please all the people all of the time.

However, I can assure Vale fans that whatever happens in the coming months the Supporters’ Club will do them proud because it is run by people who care.

So the next time you hear or read someone having a pop at the Supporters’ Club or the protesters outside the main entrance, you might want to put them straight.

Better still, ask them what they are doing to protect our club from the current regime.

It is a time for courage. We will prevail because we have to. We’re Vale aren’t we?

Read my Port Vale articles every Friday during the season in The Sentinel

Don’t blame Vale fans for club’s financial woes: It’s entirely the board’s fault


Unbelievably, in a new low for Port Vale’s desperate, discredited board, they have now attempted to lay the blame for the club’s financial woes on its long-suffering supporters.

Even for four blokes who have demonstrated contempt for fans time and time again, this assertion plumbs new depths.

A statement issued to the BBC’s Late Kick-off programme, but not Vale’s local media outlets, reads: “Supporters’ campaigns over the past 12 months have seriously damaged the club’s income.”

Of course, the board should be asking themselves what they have done to force fans to take such drastic action.

Let’s examine the latest spin to emerge from the embattled directors, shall we?

This is a board which this week advertised for a media officer to “maximise overall positive PR for the club”, but can’t find tuppence ha’penny for any loan players.

At least we know where their priorities lie, eh?

Displaying breathtaking ignorance, the board’s statement includes the paragraph: “The club has already announced that two directors will step down at the AGM in March and would appeal for patience while plans for new directors are put in place.”

No, gentlemen. I’m afraid that won’t wash. No Vale supporter or shareholder in their right mind wants Messrs Lloyd and Miller to carry on in post.

Simply jettisoning Perry Deakin and Glenn Oliver isn’t enough.

Peter Miller and Mike Lloyd are so far beyond redemption in the eyes of the fanbase that for them to think they can continue as directors is laughable.

Unless, of course, Lloyd believes Miller – whom he sacked as chairman in December – is still doing “a fantastic job”.

The club’s statement goes on to patronise us all further, saying: “The board understands the frustration of supporters, but appeals to all fans to continue to support the team during such a critical time of the season.”

No, gentlemen. You don’t understand at all.

If you did, you wouldn’t be hiding away like cowards and ignoring the will of 98 per cent of your customers.

Let’s be clear, some Vale fans are making the ultimate sacrifice by staying away because they won’t put another penny into the club’s coffers while this bunch of clowns are in charge.

Meanwhile, potential investors won’t touch the club with a barge pole because it is a financial basket case thanks to the current regime.

Mercifully, after a frustrating few weeks I finally feel we are getting somewhere.

On the field we picked up a much-needed three points at Rotherham.

More of the same tomorrow, please lads.

Perhaps more importantly, however, the Supporters’ Club is now ready to press ahead with the crucial EGM which we hope will finally sweep the obstinate Lloyd and his cronies from power.

That’s if the city council, the local MP or Staffordshire Police don’t get to them first.

Read my Port Vale articles every Friday during the season in The Sentinel

Peace at last… but can we learn from our mistakes?


It seems peace may finally have broken out in Burslem.
Fans’ groups who have been the bane of those in charge at the Vale have called a ceasefire.
Many of the objectives of the supporters who fought for change have now been realised.
Unpopular board members have gone or are going and many protesters have adopted a ‘wait and see’ policy with regards to the £8 million Blue Sky investment.
Mark Sims – the only man elected on to the board by a majority of shareholders at June’s EGM – has finally shown his hand.
He claims to never have been given enough financial information to have allowed him to make a decision on signing up to director’s guarantees and therefore won’t be joining the board.
Whatever the truth, it’s another loose end tied up and no great surprise given the amount of time that has elapsed since Sims was actually voted in.
Thus the utopian vision of a supporter-run club may be dead but the powers-that-be have offered an olive branch of sorts.
Through the Supporters’ Club, a fan-elected representative will be given a seat on the board – without having to sign up to a director’s financial liabilities.
If this happens, that would be the one positive from this whole messy civil war.
We have a great manager and a decent squad which has every chance of pushing for promotion.
I am sure everyone would agree that seeing an extra 1,000 plus fans on the home gate will be fantastic.
If we can harness the passion of those who worked for the Black and Gold group, North London Valiants and Starve ‘Em out and focus it on taking Vale forward then the supporter-base could be a genuine powerhouse for the club.
I would also like to praise NLV for donating their remaining ‘fighting fund’ cash to the Sproson Statue Fund and the Supporters’ Club. It was a wonderful gesture.
But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that all in the garden is suddenly rosy.
Make no mistake: This uneasy truce hinges on the board and chief executive’s ability to deliver on the promised investment and, crucially, to be open and honest with supporters.
Many questions remain over the details and timescale of the Blue Sky deal.
There are also those who are unhappy with the current make-up of the board and who see a conflict of interest with the club’s chief executive becoming a director.
Vale’s current regime needs to understand that they must take the rough with the smooth.
They must accept that they have made mistakes and stop being so defensive. A little humility would go a long way right now.
Supporters scrutinise what’s going on at the Vale because they care.
I would suggest that the moment they stop caring is the time that the club’s hierarchy should really start to worry.

Vale board’s hollow offer exposed. No great surprise then…


Well, I’m disappointed but not in any way surprised.
When North London Valiants were offered a seat on the Vale board after the EGM I smelled a rat and said as much on this blog.
I couldn’t quite get my head around how it would work. For starters, I couldn’t see how NLV could have a seat on the board without the backing of a single sponsor with 50,000 shares behind him.
You certainly would have got long odds on the only man who could have sponsored them – Peter Jackson – swallowing his pride and putting the fans first.
It always seemed like a hollow offer to me because I didn’t think the board could or would deliver on it.
I always felt it was a sop to the supporters in the wake of an EGM at which the board lost the moral authority to run our club.
Perhaps the directors thought supporters could be hoodwinked into buying season tickets on the basis that they thought they would have a voice in the board room.
NLV say they were told the shareholders’ board representative would require new investment of £50,000.
Why should this be the case? If the directors were serious about having a fans’ representative on the board then they could have allowed the pooling of existing shares to pave the way.
The NLV statement claims one director stated during discussions that the fans have ‘never had it so good’ as they do now.
I beg to differ. In contrast, I dare say we’ve never been so divided and unhappy.
Where is the vision to unite the supporter-base? Where is the acknowledgment that the vast majority of shareholders don’t want the current directors anymore? Where is the investment required to get us up the leagues?
In the same way that the directors have continued to frustrate Mark Sims’ attempts to join the board, they have given with one hand and taken away with the other with regard to NLV.
They have demonstrated beyond doubt that they have no real interest in engaging with ordinary supporters. You’re OK so long as you toe the line, pay your money and show up.
God forbid you actually criticise the current regime or have any aspiration beyond League Two mediocrity and hopes pinned on a decent cup run.
I will back the lads 100 per cent from August 6 and I won’t be falling out with Vale fans whose opinions differ from mine.
But neither will I stop banging the drum for real change which removes self-service and nepotism Port Vale Football Club.
Black and Gold, NLV and Starve ‘Em Out won’t go away. Neither will I.
We have to believe that democracy will prevail despite the head in the sand attitude of a board which has run out of places to hide.