Time to move on from unhelpful remarks?

Rob Fielding finds some refreshing honesty in Norman Smurthwaite’s comments but wonders if the Chairman should now act to prevent more unhelpful remarks.

Rob Fielding writes…

I found Norman Smurthwaite’s recent comments on season ticket sales both honest and telling.

Speaking to BBC Radio Stoke about encouraging season ticket sales the Chairman said: “Considering the turmoil the club has been through and some of the things I have said in the last few months which have not helped, I’m very pleased with it.”

Can the club continue to take the risk of damaging sales with something that is eminently avoidable?

Hmmm, I wonder what the sales would have been like without the unhelpful words from the Chairman? Perhaps the effect would be negligible or none at all but can the club continue to take the risk of damaging sales with something that is eminently avoidable? Football is a vastly competitive market, we have hugely successful near-neighbours with money and a marketing plan to attract the next generation of Potteries football fans. Surely in those circumstances it’s not work risking unhelpful comments is it?

Having said that, it’s clear that Norman recognises his own shortcomings and I think that is refreshing, honest and deserves praise. But with one important caveat – I hope having recognised them, he now works to smooth over those shortcomings.

The video interview on the official site was widely praised, including this column by myself. It came at the right time, it updated and informed the supporters and contained positive news. Many of the tweets by the Chairman do none of those things.

If I was to offer my own advice to the Chairman it would be –

1. Continue with the informative and well-produced videos on the official site. How about a monthly update video?
2. Honesty and apologies are appreciated – but you also need to act on your mistakes and try and cut them out in the future.
3. And finally… stay off Twitter. Leave it to the club’s official account to update fans.

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