Supporters' Club Summary
Posted on 01/03/2019
Last night’s Supporters’ Club meeting saw a very healthy turn out of fans, despite the necessity of a late change of venue. There were thousands of years of Vale support in the room and that was reflected in the passion and commitment to the well-being of the club which was on show.
Supporters’ Club Chairman, Mark Porter, informed the fans that he had received a telephone call from Mr Smurthwaite in which the owner was considerably less than diplomatic. He had informed Mark that as chairman of the Supporters’ Club which had organised the protest at the Morecambe game he would be responsible should Vale be relegated and he should resign his position. The owner also told Mark that a £500,000 ground sponsorship had been lost because of the protest (even though it hadn’t happened at that point) and a £100,000 deposit on a new pitch had also been lost. Some of the words used by Mr Smurthwaite towards Mark can easily be construed as threats and were certainly inappropriate.
The response to this disclosure from the fans was to give an unequivocal vote of confidence in Mark Porter with no one in the room suggesting he should resign.
The attendance of club CEO Colin Garlick was akin to a bloke volunteering for the firing squad. He had been a regular attender at SC meetings but the anger of the fans on this occasion meant that he was likely to be in for a difficult night when facing questions. Whilst for obvious reasons he was unable to answer everything thrown at him on the night, he did inform those present of a few key points:
* He said in response to Mark’s report that he would not have used the language to Mark which the Chairman had used.
* The Chairman puts money into the club and takes it out. He confirmed that the soon-to-be-published Accounts for year ending June 2018 would show a reduction in the size of the Director’s Loan to the club. If the Chairman wants his money back before selling, any reduction in the DLA is to be welcomed as it will reduce the price a buyer needs to pay.
* The money spent at the kiosks inside the ground on matchdays does not go to the club. He was not asked whether or not the club was responsible for stocking the kiosks.
* He said he had no knowledge of the £500,000 ground sponsorship – some in the room suspected that this was because it didn’t exist!
* When asked about the rumoured interest from Hong Kong, Mr Garlick said he had been informed that the owner was ill and was unlikely to be flying to the Far East this weekend. When this was met with some hilarity he simply said “this is what I’ve been told”, in other words, don’t shoot the messenger!
* He confirmed that the owner has signed players without consultation with the managerial/coaching staff through the use of agents. This was how the players were signed on deadline day.
* He confirmed that it was us, not Mark Richards, who pulled the plug on the deadline day deal.
* He said the fans were absolutely entitled to protest against the owner but requested that they bear in mind the need to avoid antagonising clubs on away trips.
* When asked if he would encourage the owner to sell should a suitable buyer appear on the scene he gave an unequivocal yes.
We are sure that some fans were hoping that Mr Garlick would go further in disclosing damaging information about the owner. In the circumstances, however, we feel that what he didn’t say was just as important as what he did