Time for Norman Smurthwaite to put a genuine price tag on the club and go

Time for Norman Smurthwaite to put a genuine price tag on the club and go

Long-standing Port Vale fan Malcolm Hirst thinks recent events show that it’s time for Norman Smurthwaite to sell the club at a realistic price.

Malcolm Hirst writes…

The time is surely right for Norman Smurthwaite to hang up his jacket, take his tie off and put his feet up on the English Riviera before his antics well and truly destroy the club we love. Mr Smurthwaite, if you do have the best interest of Port Vale in mind please put a genuine price tag on the club, write off the Chairman loans and sell up. Preferably to someone local who will be accountable to the fans and local community. 

The recent revelations to come out of Vale Park make me concerned about the long-term stability of Port Vale…

Sadly, I don’t think think the current owner will be going anywhere any time soon. The latest statement from the club reminds me more of “fake news” than genuine concern for Port Vale. 

The recent revelations to come out of Vale Park make me concerned about the long-term stability of Port Vale. 

The most serious revelation is the fact that the owner of the company running the club sent salary information to random fans who have no business knowing such information. Mistake or not, it would be hard to argue legally that “reasonable care” had been taken to safeguard the players’ personal information. It would be interesting to know if the players themselves had been notified and if the Data Protection Commissioner has been informed? That surely would be the bare minimum requirement of the club?

I am not sure whether this next part is actually a revelation… Two trust funds have suddenly renewed their interest in purchasing Port Vale. The cynics amongst us might speculate this is a great way for Norman Smurthwaite to distract fans from the appalling mess he has made of running the club.

In a period of seven months we have gone from a club making steady progress and finishing a credible 12th last season, to being in a relegation dog fight. Mr Smurthwaite may like to blame the fans, the players, the manager or friends of an old manager. He may wish to blame local media or so called “keyboard warriors”. However, there is only one person he can blame for the mess Port Vale is in at the moment and that is himself, Norman Smurthwaite. 

I could understand one mistake but we seem to lurch from one crisis to the next disaster. The fans are called racist, thugs or just hurlers of abuse. The local paper is banned from the club. This is before we mention the Exeter coach debacle or the rumour of nearly sacking a manager live on TV. 

I hope that the Chairman will… maintain his promise of leaving the club in the same position as he found it… debt free

The fans (or “not so true fans” as Mr Smurthwaite likes to call some of us), are still waiting for the 20 plus goal-a-season replacement striker on half the money Tom Pope was on.

We also have the embarrassing episode of a Chairman telling fans how he forced Rob Page to leave the club by reducing the playing budget and thus damaging the club. However, this last example sums up the lack of leadership in the club and why we are in our current predicament. If Mr Smurthwaite had no confidence in the manager then he should have sacked him. 

I hope that the Chairman will do what is right for Port Vale and sell the club to local people at the market price and maintain his promise of leaving the club in the same position as he found it… debt free. Perhaps, just perhaps, the final action of our current owner will prove the doubters wrong and show he does really care about Port Vale FC, its fans and the local community. 

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