OVF founder Rob Fielding agrees with an approach of “cautious optimism” for preferred bidder Paul Wildes and comments that even though the Supporters Club and Martin Tideswell have used the same phrase “nevertheless, I still think it’s worth reiterating.”
Rob Fielding writes…
I never quite got to the stage of hanging out the bunting and worshipping at the feet of Keith Ryder * – and although I‘m not that egotistical to think I’m right on everything (I did back Bill Bratt’s board in the early years, after all), I do feel my original “more cautious than others” approach was correct at the time. And sadly, my caution over Ryder was born out by future events.
* Don’t believe that line? Well, at the time I commented “OK, so potential owner Keith Ryder went down well at the fans forum and talked a good talk. So far, so good, but I’d like to install a note of caution right now. It’s still relatively empty rhetoric.…”
And it’s for similar reasons, that I feel that “cautious optimism” should again be the byword for fans’ reaction to the announcement that Paul Wildes is the club’s preferred bidder. This won’t be news to many of you who have read similar sentiments both from the Supporters Club and Martin Tideswell, but nevertheless, I still think it’s worth reiterating.
That said, the flipside sometimes appears to be that nothing and no-one will do for some fans. If Robbie Williams took over the club, pledged £50m in transfer fees and personally scrubbed out the Railway toilets, he’d still be criticised for living in the USA, not being a proper fan or for his music becoming increasingly vapid **
** They may actually be right with that final point, though
Why is there such an air of scepticism from some fans? Well, I think the last few turbulent years have a lot to do with it. We now have, amongst other groups, Mo Chaudry supporters/detractors, Supporters club supporters/detractors and even some fans who still back the Bratt pack. So, there are massive divisions within the fanbase. Even though I think they will eventually calm down if the new owner comes in and lives up to his word, such is the extent of the disintegration of supporter unity I fear there will still be divides even after a new man takes over the club.
I think that disgruntlement and scepticism has almost become a default setting for some fans. And to be fair, that’s undoubtedly been fuelled by the numerous broken promises to the supporters.
Why? Because I think that disgruntlement and scepticism has almost become a default setting for some fans. And to be fair, that’s undoubtedly been fuelled by the numerous broken promises to the supporters. Valiant 2001 promised a fan-owned club, “MOLD” promised massive US investment and new era of openness, Mo Chaudry promised a PR-friendly, articulate, local alternative to the board while Ryder promised a new start with a single, rich owner. None of these came to fruition and fans have been let down time and time again. In many ways, is it any wonder it’s proving difficult to get some supporters to be even “cautiously optimistic” about a new dawn?
Does that mean, Wildes’ regime is doomed to failure? Not at all, just that I don’t expect people to suddenly stop being negative once he does take charge. Nor is it realistic to think that he will ever get 100% approval. Like Mr Ryder, Mr Wildes needs to prove himself to fans with deeds, not words.
But I do think if Mr Wildes is a man of his word then over weeks and months and maybe even years, he will win the majority of fans over. Then I finally can hang that bunting up.