Port Vale fans who forked out thousands for “lifer” season tickets have been told by the club that the deal will no longer be honoured.
Around 14 fans took up the club's offer to buy a season ticket for life, back in 2005. Depending on their age fans paid between £1,500 to £8,000 for life entry to Vale Park.
However, the club went into administration in 2012 and Vale’s new owners are not legally obliged to honour the deal. While the owners did keep it running for two seasons they have now pulled the plug on lifers.
The club have offered them half price deals this season but from 2015/16 they’ll be back to paying year-by-year like their fellow fans.
While someone who paid £1,500 back in 2005 might well have made their money back, it seems likely anyone paying £8,000 will be left considerably out of pocket.
Vale fans said the club had alienated many supporters, even if the law of the land does allow them to do this. Dick Dale, editor of The Vale Park Beano, told the FSF it was a “PR disaster”.
“We all know our beloved owner is legally right in calling a halt to 'lifetime season tickets' but morally it's wrong and for the small number of people involved it's a PR disaster.
“The bad publicity this has brought to our club and its owner is embarrassing and penny pinching to an extreme,” says Dick.
“I am usually keen to back rather than bash Port Vale, but on such an emotive and controversial issue, I felt I had to take a stand. Port Vale FC tells us that we should be proud of our history.
“These 14 individuals, who put their hands in their pockets at our hour of need, should be honoured and celebrated, not treated in such a manner.
“Charging these individuals will generate less than 1% of Vale's overall season ticket revenue, but by doing so, the club stands a really good chance of upsetting a fair proportion of the other 99 per cent at the same time!”
- Fans can back the campaign on Twitter via #backthelifers or vote in the poll on the onevalefan.co.uk forum.
A club is for life, not just for Christmas
Go to almost any game and there’ll be fans who’ve been going for 40, 50, 60 years, or more, and many supporters would jump at the chance of a lifetime season ticket.
While the FSF isn’t going to tell fans how to spend their hard-earned cash, Vale’s case shows supporters should go into these deals with their eyes open.
Yes, there’s a chance a lifetime season ticket could save a fan money and give their club a short-term cash boost. But if your club goes into administration - or worse, is liquidated - it seems very likely you’d be left out of pocket.
Thanks to Action Images for the image used in this story.