Colin Garlick, CEO of Port Vale, has said that the sales of season tickets for next season’s campaign are going ‘amazingly well.’
Colin spoke about how season ticket sales have been very positive, despite the current coronavirus pandemic leading to the indefinite suspension of football in England.
The club sold over 4,000 season tickets for this season’s current campaign, and have sold over 900 for next season with the Early Bird season ticket scheme not ending until the 30th June.
However, as the club receives more information through the government and the EFL, then the club will look to reassess the Early Bird situation.
“With two full months to go until the Early Bird ends, if it is possible then it would be brilliant if fans could commit to a season ticket,” said the Chief Executive.
“But we understand the current situation, and that final date of 30th June for the Early Bird scheme may be subject to change when we get more information.”
However, Colin was delighted with how sales were currently going on the season ticket front.
“To be at nearly 25% of season ticket sales compared to last year at this stage is fantastic.”
“I have to say a huge thank you to those people who have already committed to next season without even knowing when this season is going to finish, it’s phenomenal.”
“I know Kevin, Carol and everybody at the club would like to thank the fans for their support, especially at the moment.”
The club typically launches an instalment plan in January or February in regards to the purchasing of a season ticket, so that people can pay for the ticket in instalments over the coming months.
“We had an increase on the current season over the previous season, but this year has seen a bigger increase.”
“Kevin and Carol have been in charge for just under 12 months and it’s the first time we’ve launched the instalment plan under their ownership, so we saw a significant increase in January and February in terms of people buying season tickets in instalments.”
“We’ve also seen people ready and willing to take up and buy the season tickets for next season in full, even though the Early Bird discount runs until June.”
Season ticket purchases and enquiries are available through the club website, email and the ticket office.
Moving on to the current season, and Colin says that the football authorities were correct in suspending the football season, but was disappointed that it came at a time when the team was in such good form.
“It was absolutely the right thing to do (to suspend the season) and the absolute correct thing to do is to thoroughly assess the situation before football returns.”
“We were having a fantastic season, with a new positive atmosphere following Kevin and Carol’s takeover.”
“We had nine games left, five of which were at home and we were really hopeful that we were going to kick on and secure a place in the play-offs.”
Ideally, Colin would like to see football return with fans in the stadiums, but is aware that may not be possible.
“We’re in a live entertainment business, so in an ideal world, we’d love to have fans back in the stadiums, but that might not be possible.”
“We had a game against Crewe approaching, the Bank Holiday game against Grimsby and the last home game of the season against Newport, where we could have hit some big crowds.”
“In that atmosphere, the players talk about the twelfth man and that really helps them.”
“I think there’s a very strong argument to say that football needs it’s fans, but we’d like to settle the season on the pitch and it's looking unlikely that fans will be allowed into the stadiums.”
As well as the lack of atmosphere, Colin says that the issue of players running out of contract at the end of June will give the end of the season a completely different outlook.
“It’ll be a different competition when players go out of contract.
“Some players who have played with us for 80% of the season, might not be able to play past that 30th June deadline.
“Obviously, we’d like everything to return to normal, but you cannot compromise the health and safety of players, staff and supporters, and we’ve all got to be mindful of that.”
Despite the suspension of football, it has not stopped the improvements made to Vale Park, and Colin is very impressed with the new-look of the stadium.
“The improvements have been ongoing because we’ve done a lot of work around the Robbie Williams concert, which has now obviously been postponed.
“The new seats in the Lorne Street stand are gleaming in the sunshine, it looks absolutely fantastic!
“We’ve been talking to supporters’ groups about ways we can make improvements with the money that they raise, so we’ll see what we can do from there.”
Colin also revealed that the club has taken advantage of the government’s furlough scheme, like many of the clubs in League Two.
“The players, backroom staff, academy staff and scholars have been furloughed, mainly because we’re obviously not operating in the way we do normally.
“We’ve had some staff on-site to support the community activities, along with some staff, supporters and local residents who have volunteered to help us with the work we’re doing.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know how long we’re going to be on furlough for, but I imagine within the next week or two, there will be some decisions hopefully regarding playing and training.
“If not, I imagine there will be discussions about where we’re going to take this season and future seasons.”
Colin’s final message was to wish the fans all the best in regards to their health, safety and wellbeing.
“We wish everybody well and we want you to stay safe.
“We’re desperate to see you back at Vale Park as soon as possible.
“We can only thank you for your wonderful support at this difficult time.”