In his latest “One Vale View” column, Rob Fielding says that it’s only natural for fans to have questions and concerns about the club’s proposed deal with Blue Sky International.
He suggests that fans are patient and wait for the board’s answers to their questions before rushing to make judgement, but he also implores the board to be open and honest with their answers to the supporters.
By now we will all have read the headlines about Vale’s proposed deal with Blue Sky International.
The news has sparked a multitude of threads and speculation is rife. That’s hardly surprising if your football club is set to seal a £8m deal with a company that probably none of us knew anything about until Tuesday.
I don’t accept the criticism of the original press release as “vague”. We all knew the board had already committed to a Q&A with fans following the announcement and it’s then that the detail will come out.
To criticise what is clearly a press release (in other words a public relations piece), not a full business plan, for not containing enough detail is to me, like criticising the Sun newspaper for not using enough long words.
If the club are to be criticised, I feel that will come if (or when) they cannot answer the fans’ questions satisfactorily.
And let me make it clear, there must be answers to fans’ concerns, not excuses like “confidentiality” and the like.
They will get questions aplenty. Here’s just some that I hope the board will be addressing.
• Who will be Chairman?
• Who will be joining the board as a result of this?
• Have they passed the “fit and proper persons” test?
• How many shares will the investors hold and how will this square with the club’s own 24.9% shares limit?
• How much money will be paid to Bill Bratt for his estimated £60,000 shareholding?
• Is the £8m in terms of cash, loans, shares or in kind?
• What is the breakdown? What will it be spent on?
• Will Micky Adams be given money to strengthen the team?
• Can the club guarantee that Vale Park will not be used as security in any loan agreements?
• Are there any management fee costs for this deal?
• Will the construction work on finishing the stand be open to competitive tender? When will it be complete?
• Is there a business plan? If not, why not?
• Why, if this deal is so manifestly good, why did the board turn down an open meeting to discuss it?
• Why, if this deal is so manifestly good, why won’t the board allow all shareholders to vote on it?
Answer those to my satisfaction and I may be onboard with the principle of Blue Sky thinking myself. Otherwise, I’ll probably be agreeing with those who think it’s all pie in the sky…
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.