Port Vale fans carrying collection buckets turned out to help their cash-stricken club last night.
They took donations outside the ground before watching their team win 3-0 against Burton Albion.
On Friday, a judge at the High Court in Birmingham will formally put the club into administration. Vale are believed to have debts of up to £4m, including £1.8m they owe to Stoke City Council.
The council, as the biggest creditor, applied to have administrators Begbies Traynor take over the running of the club and look for potential investors.
The authority has agreed to underwrite the club's running costs, including paying players' wages, until the end of the season.
This is expected to be around £500,000. However, a council spokesman today told Central Tonight that the administrators will be looking at cost-saving measures which could include wage cuts.
Stoke City Council finds itself in a difficult position, caught between the needs of the public purse and saving an integral part of the city's life and heritage.
The authority is currently making budget cuts of £24m. It says "as far as possible" it wants to recoup the money it is owed from any potential investor.
But it has made it clear that, when this "window of opportunity" closes, there remains the possibility that the club could face liquidation.
Back on the field, manager Micky Adams last night praised the performance of his players in the face of the crisis facing the club.
He called on the fans to "keep the faith", even though the team now faces a 10-point deduction in the league.