Influential football blog Two Hundred Percent has written a stinging editorial about recent events at Vale Park.
There are two fundamental truisms of running a football club which can only attract crowds of around five thousand people. The first is that national media attention is likely to be thin on the ground and should be used wisely. The second is that you can’t afford to piss those hardy five thousand souls off too much. These are both lessons that the Port Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite has learned the hard way over the course of the last few days or so. Smurthwaite has been the man in charge at Vale Park since 2012, taking control of the running of the club after it suffered a spell in administration and a chaotic power struggle at boardroom level.
The last couple of years, since the club emerged from under its cloud and won promotion back into League One, have been relatively – and, some might argue, considering previous years, mercifully – quiet. A ninth placed finish followed by an eighteenth placed finish. This week, though, Smurthwaite, who has earned himself a reputation for “shooting from the hip” in his verbal utterances, has behaved in such a way as to turn a large number of the club’s supporters and, as so often seems to be the case when these spats arise, the situation that has come about all seems to have been very easily avoidable.