OVF forum user Iron Curtain has an nine point long-term plan that he urges owner Norman Smurthwaite to adopt.
Iron Curtain writes…
I appreciate Norman Smurthwaite giving his view on the OVF forum. It’s good to get his point of view. I’m not a football chairman, and I don’t suggest that I’d be a good one, but I still have a few ideas about how the owner can take the club forward.
We need a long-term plan that includes stability and a minimal change in headcount…
Here are my suggestions for Norman and Port Vale FC:
1. We need a long-term plan that includes stability and a minimal change in headcount. I believe Sir Alex Ferguson used to have a diagram on his wall at Old Trafford which showed his first team for the next five seasons. Just a few names were changed each season. He was making incremental improvement rather than ‘starting again’
2. However, it could be that next season we have no choice and our squad will have another massive turnover, especially if we are in League Two. I hope we’re not but either way we are going to have to invest ahead of the curve. Norman, if you are not the man to do this (and I think it would be perfectly reasonable for you to say “I’m not investing any more”)… then you have to sell the club. We deserve someone who will back us. This crowd can be one of the most passionate in the division. Saying that the budget has been reduced because we haven’t bough enough season tickets is like the chicken and egg argument.
3. The club must implement some marketing. Email blasts, Twitter blasts, Offers… Something
4. The owner needs to show humility, We are passionate and we love our club. If Mr Smurthwaite had played this differently and embraced his mistakes and asked the fans for help, we would have helped. Instead, this has become a “fans versus owner” argument. However, bear in mind that the club is the Port Vale fans and the owner is a custodian. If we fans need to start a new club we will.
5. Vale need to invest in a manager. A good one. That might be Michael Brown, it might not. In my view, we should have someone with the grizzly experience to get us out of this league. Brown is fighting a tough battle as we speak and he may prove to us that he can do this. But if it’s not Brown… the club are potentially going to have to spend a considerable amount of money on a good one.
6. Vale need to concentrate on quality over quantity. When Norman said this in the summer I thoroughly agreed with him as it’s surely the best way to utilise the minimal resources we have. That’s why the fans were so upset when the absolute complete opposite happened.
7. The Valiants need to stop gambling on trying to find a young player to turn into the next Dele Alli or Ademola Lookman. They are rare, really rare. But if you are going to look for one, bringing in one or two on a higher wages is better than bringing in fifteen on low wages.
Things do get heated when you support the Valiants. It’s because a lot of people love the club and it’s something the owner needs to come to terms with…
8. The chairman needs to stop alienating people who don’t see eye to eye with him. Different people have different opinions. Mr Smurthwaite’s plans turned out to be far from a masterstroke this season, so maybe those dissenting voices had a point. Listening to alternative views could be beneficial in the future.
9. Things do get heated when you support the Valiants. It’s because a lot of people love the club and it’s something the owner needs to come to terms with. If he doesn’t want to invest more in the club, or he cant take the heat that comes with this job, then I implore him to sell to someone who does. Open the club up to potential bidders. Let’s see if it will get Norman some money back and give the fans the club that we deserve.