Port Vale: Club's future rests with fans, warns administrator
BOB Young has warned Port Vale fans to back their club next season or face seeing it go to the wall.
The Vale administrator has convinced the Football League the club can survive next season with or without a buyer ... as long as it achieves average gates of 5,000.
However, he said failure to match that figure could have grave consequences.
Young said: "We think Port Vale can be viable if it maintains average crowds of 5,000, but if they drop below that we have taken our lives into our own hands.
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"We need fans' mums, dads, kids and neighbours to come as paying fans through the turnstile, otherwise it won't be possible for the club to survive."
Vale averaged gates of 4,733 last term, but they were hit by a fans' boycott designed to oust the club's previous board of directors.
Over the past decade, Vale's average gate stands at 4,869, but, more encouragingly, it is 5,062 for the club's four-year stint in League Two.
Young added: "Vale averaged 4,700 to 4,800 last season, even taking into account the boycotts, so we don't think 5,000 is an unrealistic figure.
"Micky Adams has put together a squad which would suggest this is going to be the best season on the playing front for some time and we hope the fans will come back."
Young believes other administrators would have wound Vale up after a summer-long struggle to install a new owner.
He said: "It has been a difficult decision to carry on. I'm sure administrators from outside the area would have said, 'Sorry, we're going to have to close the club down'.
"But we are from this community and have our hearts in this club as well as a professional job to do, but we need the supporters' help."
With that in mind, Port Vale Supporters' Club have asked fans to help prepare Vale Park for the new season after a lack of maintenance work forced yesterday's friendly against Coventry to be played behind closed doors.
Volunteers are needed for general duties such as sweeping, cleaning seats and painting toilet walls, as well as helping in the ticket office.
The supporters' club are also hoping tradesmen will offer services for free or donate materials as they try to get the ground ready.
Volunteers are needed tomorrow and on Friday from 8am until 4pm, on Saturday from 9am until 1pm and on Monday and Friday of next week from 8am until 4pm.
They are asked to bring additional brushes and large refuse bags if possible.
Anyone wishing to help should call supporters' club chairman Pete Williams on 07822 679886 or report to the Railway Paddock and receive instructions from Vale grounds man Steve Speed.