More than £1million lost due to pandemic, reveals Port Vale owner

Port Vale owner and chairperson Carol Shanahan OBE has revealed that the club has lost more than £1million due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Like all lower league football outfits, the Staffordshire outfit was hit hard by Covid-19, having now gone almost a year without gate revenue due to the banning of spectators.

Speaking to Sky Sports, Mrs Shanahan revealed the full extent of the damage, but praised the Vale fans for their loyalty, the majority of whom have dug into their pockets to help keep the club going.

“For every single football club, the last 12 months have been hard,” she said.

“For us, it’s been well over a million that we’ve lost. I have to say that the Port Vale fans have been amazing.

“We sold 4,000 season tickets and only a small handful asked for a refund. All the way through they have been behind us and the shops, we’ve had record sales.

“So fans have really tried to help where they can but it’s been really hard because, for the lower leagues, the main revenue is through the gate and the gates have been shut.”

Despite the trials the last 12 months have thrown at Port Vale, the club has provided extraordinary community service, preparing and delivering more than 300,000 meals to those in need across the area.

Mrs Shanahan explained how this drive was ignited in March last year, which ended up with the club producing 1,000 meals a day.

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She continued: “The day after (football was suspended last year) I got the leadership team of Port Vale, Port Vale Foundation, the Hubb Foundation and Synectics (Solutions, Mrs Shanahan’s business) and said: ‘how do you want history to write us?

“‘Because we can shut up shop and nobody would think any the worse of us or we can try and do things and try and make a difference’.

“And without exception or hesitation every single one said: ‘we want to do what we can’.

She continued: “We did a deep clean of the kitchen. We furloughed all of our hospitality staff and all of our foundation staff but they all volunteered to come back in to work for the community.

“We’re still delivering them to this day because people think the problem was last year – the problem is still today.

“So every day we are delivering food, we did over Christmas and we will over Easter.”

Mrs Shanahan made a high-profile decision to vote to curtail the 2019/20 season with the Valiants within a hair’s breadth of a play-off place.

She told of how she thought this was “the right thing to do.”

She added: “I felt it was a time to put football and the community and everything else above Port Vale’s individual interests. I’d do it again if I had that same decision today.

Mrs Shanahan went on to say: “We need fans back as soon as we can. Football needs fans back and the fans need to be back.

“Financially clubs need it, but they (fans) need it too. So as soon as we can get them back it will be a wonderful day.”

Port Vale have managed to win only five of their 17 League Two home games this season.

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