Port Vale fans have voted to start fundraising to help finish the Lorne Street Stand.
Supporters plan to raise money to help costs of at least £100,000 for a concourse in the unfinished part of the 20-year-old structure.
Vale’s owners will put permanent seats into that half of the stand in preparation for the Robbie Williams charity concert on June 20. But while a concourse isn’t needed for that event, it would be required to regularly open that part of the stand for matches.
Fans voted overwhelmingly at tonight’s supporters’ club meeting to start fundraising for the project.
They plan to hand over money to the club as it is raised rather than wait to see if they reach the £100,000 target. That way, funds can still be used even if they fall short of the £100,000.
The club would like to use that part of the Lorne Street Stand as a family area. The issue was debated at tonight’s meeting, attended by Vale owner Carol Shanahan, vice chairman Kate Beardmore, head of commercial Richie Bates, left back Cristian Montano and the club’s Staffordshire police liaison officer Nicky Burton.
Carol Shanahan made clear the owners weren’t asking supporters for money. She said if they did want to fundraise then it was up to fans to decide which, if any, projects they would like to support.
Fans made clear they want to help Kevin and Carol Shanahan, who bought the club last May.
The best way to do that was debated by supporters at the meeting. One long-serving supporter said that, while he wholeheartedly supported the Shanahans, he would prefer to see money spent on improving facilities in the Railway or Bycars Stands because they are already being used by fans.
However, the majority of supporters were keen to support a Lorne Street Stand project, allowing the owners to spend money in other areas of the club.
One fan said: “That end of our ground has been empty for 20 years and, before I kick my clogs, I would love to see our ground with seats around it!”
Another added: “The first test drillings for that stand were done in March, 1998. That’s twenty two years ago, and it still isn’t bloody finished. It has to be a priority. I am fed up to the back teeth of sitting in the Railway and looking over there and seeing that unfinished stand. I think we must do everything we can to get that stand finished.”