The board cannot win – end of story

The board cannot win – end of story

In his latest column, OVF founder Rob Fielding says that fans should be reassured that the board simply cannot win when pitched against 97% of the fanbase. Rob adds that: “I want to try and emphasise to all supporters that united, we cannot lose…”

The board cannot win – end of story

The board cannot win. That’s a pretty big statement, so allow me to explain it in a little more detail…

We’re all aware of what will happen should the board fall at the EGM or even fall on their swords before it. And there’s much debate about what a partial victory may bring about in terms of the make-up of the board. But what of the worst case situation? What if – by fair means or foul – the board “triumph” at the EGM?

Well, for me, the answer is simple – they still will not win.

How can that be, you may ask? If the board win the EGM and shore up their majority, then surely it’s the end game for the entire pro-change movement?

Not so. Because no club can carry on when it has lost the support of 97% of fans, is now under severe investigation from the local media and has stretched the goodwill of its chief benefactor – the city council – to breaking point.

Yes, I realise that an EGM victory for the board will mean much more hard work and frustration for those trying so valiantly (pun intended) to bring around a bright future for Vale. But although it will be a blow to have to continue the battle anew, I think Vale fans understand the future of the club is at stake here and the pro-change movement will simply not cease until total victory is achieved.

Do you hear that, Messrs Lloyd, Deakin, Miller, Oliver (and for that matter Mr Bratt and anyone else with designs on a further, unwelcome stay in the boardroom)? Pro-change are not leaving. And that’s why you cannot win.

All that a board victory will do is prolong the agony and continue to wreck the club’s finances. But the fight will continue.

So, there is one thing that this board can do which will help this football club. If any shred of decency remains in the boardroom, they could ease the pain for Vale fans and accept that they after losing the trust of their customers for ever, that there is no future for them and they should leave of their own volition.

But will they do it? I doubt it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not writing this piece because I think the EGM is lost. I hope you, the reader, have not read my piece as negative thinking. Afterall, I dearly wish that the EGM does indeed go the way of the Supporters Club and I still believe it will.

No, the aim of this piece is to try and reassure those worried fans that no matter what happens – the board cannot win. I want to try and emphasise to all supporters that united, we cannot lose, even though it may take longer and be more painful than we hoped.

I’ll finish with a quote. If you’re worried about a long drawn-out struggle, then bear this one in mind…

“Progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals…. I believe that unarmed truth will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than wrong triumphant.”
– Martin Luther King Jr *

* Editorial note: quote adapted by writer from two seperate speeches.


Rob Fielding has been a Port Vale fan for thirty one 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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