In his latest “One Vale View” column, Rob Fielding says that at first glance, the £8m investment deal with US consortium Blue Sky could be very good for Port Vale FC.
But he also urges the board to continue with an honest and open dialogue with supporters.
At first glance, the investment deal announced with the Blue Sky Investment group looks to be a great one for the Valiants.
So, credit where credit is due to CEO Perry Deakin and Chairman Mike Lloyd.
Yes, we only know the bare details right now, but that is only to be expected following an initial press release. You can hardly expect every single detail of the deal to be revealed in the opening blaze of publicity.
Like many fans who have been critical of the current board I have mainly wanted three things – openess, honesty and communication.
It could be that the investment deal with Blue Sky may actually deliver on all three aspects. But before we accept what appears to be an excellent financial deal, there are still questions that need answering.
It is only natural that after eight to nine years of mostly broken promises, many fans are particularly sceptical and need some convincing. The board need to be aware of that, they need to be patient and be prepared to be questioned on the fine print.
Questioning should not be frowned upon. Fans need to be sure, because they are fans and care about the club and because many have had their belief in the club to “do the right thing” shattered by the antics of deposed or soon to be deposed directors. The club must know that some fans will still need convincing.
This is not the time for catty statements – from the club or anyone else – let’s hope the merits of this deal can be discussed in a mature way. And that is where my three concerns – openess, honesty and communication – have to be addressed by the club.
It’s a pity the board have rejected a chance for an open forum, but nevertheless, their apparent willingness to engage with questions posed via the supporters club offers encouragement.
The club has to answer questions from genuine Vale fans with genuine, respectful, open and honest answers – not spin, avoidance and PR. If they do and it turns out there is no hidden agenda, then I am confident they will win over the supporters to their plans – after all, if all supporters’ questions are answered then what else is there for fans to fear?
Today, for the first time in a long time, I took a few minutes to daydream – of a financially secure Vale, a completed Lorne Street, of a thriving club both financially and as a community resource.
It could just happen – but the board still have to win the fanbase over.
Then my dream of a brighter Vale future may just turn out to be reality.
About the author: Rob Fielding has been a Port Vale fan for thirty years. He founded the award-winning onevalefan.co.uk website in 1996. These are his personal views and he welcomes your comments on them.