"A club with no fans, is a club with no heart"

"A club with no fans, is a club with no heart"

In his latest “One Vale View” column, Rob Fielding writes that an OVF poll showing over 95% of fans have no faith in the current board is a “damning assessment of the current board.

Fielding argues that “it looks like another huge wedge has been driven between the board and fans” and that “the board cannot take on the majority of fans and win.”

A poll on OVF shows that following Friday’s revelations, over 95% of users have no faith in the current board. That’s a damning assessment of the current Port Vale FC board.

Regardless of the “bias” or otherwise amongst the OVF membership, that’s still several hundred fans that the board have alienated. And the poll’s only been on the site for a few hours. It’s something the board should be aware of.

Unless there’s an effective explanation for the current state of affairs, unless the club begin to answer supporters’ questions (and a good start would be for the club to answer the questions raised by blogger Martin Tideswell here – http://martintideswell.wordpress.com…e-for-answers/) and unless the club can deliver on investment (and let’s face it, the BSI deal looks dead in the water) then it looks like another huge wedge has been driven between the board and fans.

But until that explanation is delivered then I, for one, have lost faith in the board. And I know I am not alone in those sentiments.

Unfortunately, I also expect it could once again be a long and bitter struggle to make changes (and in the process bring better days to the club). I said prior to the Summer EGM that I feared this could be a long battle and sadly I was proved right, on that point at least.

But this is not the time to lose faith.

The OVF and PVO forums show there are many, many fans out there who care deeply about Port Vale FC. The Supporters Club is doing an absolutely superb job and can unify and highlight supporter discontent. The Sentinel, which already offered words of wisdom from Martin Tideswell, is now seeking out the truth. I also believe the board cannot take on the majority of fans and win. A club simply cannot alienate its key customers and revenue stream.

Let me hand you a few quotes that illustrate my point. Firstly, this one from the Sentinel:

“As half of the four man board Messrs Deakin and Miller are custodians of a proud institution which is an integral part of our local community. This means these men have great responsibilities on their shoulders. If they fail to take those responsibilities seriously they will have to answer to the whole of this city.”

Or take this (please forgive my egotistical bias) taken from my own column in the aftermath of the summer EGM…

“It will be a long road to redemption. But only when the board deliver and change can they regain the faith of the fans who are the lifeblood of this club, only when they change can we unite and take the club forward.”

But perhaps the best illustration of all comes from a quote (which I have updated to relate to the new board) from a brilliant Steve Bradbury article published earlier this year…

“The only moral and financial option left to the present board is to resign and allow a new representative board and new investors to take the club forward. If the board do not pursue this option, then they will be left with a club with no fans, and a club with no fans is a club with no heart. Mr Deakin, Mr Miller, Mr Oliver and Mr Lloyd. Will this be your legacy?”

The board would do well to heed this message of discontent from fans. This club is after all, for us all…

About the author: Rob Fielding has been a Port Vale fan for thirty years. He founded the award-winning onevalefan.co.uk website in 1996. These are his personal views and he welcomes your comments on them.

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