Problems on the pitch but the bigger picture is the ownership of Port Vale

OVF editor Rob Fielding says that while this has been a terrible week on the pitch, off-pitch matters such as the sale of the club should still remain the top priority

Rob Fielding writes…

Putting it mildly, it’s not been a great week. No doubt arguments about Michael Brown’s ability to do the job will continue but in some ways it distracts from the bigger picture at the club.

We now have a largely absent owner who seems disinterested in progressing the club…

President Harry Truman used to keep a sign on his desk stating that the “buck stops here” – meaning that as he held ultimate power, ultimately he was responsible for the actions of others beneath him. The same rule could apply at Vale.

We now have a largely absent owner who seems disinterested in progressing the club. The Vale remain apparently up for sale and in the hands of Colin Garlick (who to be fair has exceeded expectations in a position I for one wouldn’t like to occupy). No-one can say that Norman Smurthwaite HAS to invest in the club but there is a compelling case that says – if he won’t then he needs to sell the club to someone who will.  It’s galling that other parties would be willing to put long-term plans in place and are being prevented from doing so due to an unrealistic asking price.

Part of that unrealistic asking price has come about from the expectation that new owners should repay Director’s loans that (at least in part) built up because of disastrous experiments such as bringing in Bruno Ribeiro and a host of players, many of whom were clearly not good enough. Without even going into the Football League rules, which state that Director’s loans cannot be used to supplement a club’s playing wage bill, surely if this was a gamble undertaken solely by the owner then he should be prepared to personally take a loss if it fails to work out?

I am sure many Valiants would agree with Malcolm Hirst’s column when he said that the Vale owner should reduce the asking price and sell to local owners who care about the long-term future of Port Vale FC.

I could not agree more.

So while fan disenchantment with manager Michael Brown, his coaching staff and the players is dominating the forum at the moment it is worth remembering – the most important thing  for Port Vale is that Norman Smurthwaite should lower his asking price to a realistic level and speak to buyers who can devote time to taking Vale forward.