In Rob Fielding’s latest “One Vale View” column he asks whether its now the right time for the anti-board groups to unite under one, single banner.
A Scene from Monty Python’s The Life of Brian
BRIAN: Are you the Judean People’s Front?
REG: **** off!
REG: Judean People’s Front. We’re the People’s Front of Judea! Judean People’s Front.
BRIAN: Can I join your group?
REG: No. **** off.
OVF is set to have a re-vamp soon and perhaps the same thing should happen to all the various groups opposing the Port Vale board?
Comparing the various well-meaning groups to the protesters in “Life of Brian” is unfair because the groups have achieved some stunning successes this year. For instance: uniting fans behing a simple black and gold banner, the direct and simple Starve ‘Em Out pledge site, organised mass demonstrations, the ‘coffin’ march, calling an EGM, achieving a vote of no confidence, acquiring Robbie Williams’ proxy vote and ousting two directors.
But I personally feel it’s time for the anti-board movement to step up to the next level. Here are my personal suggestions for all the groups concerned:
1. Unite under a common name. I would suggest Pro-Change using black and gold colours.
2. Amalgamate all the groups under one, small, steering committee.
3. Produce a simple, pithy phrase that outlines the aims clearly. For instance: “We aim to remove the current board through legal and peaceful protests.”
4. Do NOT allow the argument to be swayed by aligning with potential, future investors. This group should purely be about removing the board. A one-issue group.
5. Keep the fans informed. Through the Internet this would be as simple as informing Vale fans sites and setting up a mailing list for fans. But non-PC literate fans need to be informed as well. What about a regular leaflet drop at Port Vale home games or leaflets on the bars of sympathetic Burslem pubs? Or even leaflets under parked car windscreen wipers in the streets around Vale Park? That could inform the fans without computers.
6. This is not about ego. I’m not proposing this because I want to have some starring role in it and indeed neither should it be anyone else’s plan. A lot of people want to get involved but sometimes hard decisions will need to be made. The group simply needs the best qualfied person for the role of press secretary, chairman, spokesman etc. This is no time for personal politics to get in the way of the future of the club.
7. Be prepared for the long-term. Yes, we’d all like a speedy resolution but there also needs to be an element of reality. The B&G campaign was inspired by the Man Utd “Green and Gold” campaign and that is still in existence many years since its formation. This pressure group may go down a similar road.
8. The last one is slightly contradictory, given the public nature of this column. Keep your plans quiet. Don’t leak everything onto the public domain as that only allows your opponents to be forewarned. Naturally, things like marches and press releases need maximum coverage but (just like in maths exams of old) don’t do your working out where others can view it. In short, only publicise what needs to be publicised.
I normally ask for comments on my articles and this one is definitely no exception. I would be very interested to see how these proposals are viewed, I’d be keen to hear any suggestions of things I may have missed out and I’d be especially keen to hear if you, too, think the groups should unite.
These are Rob Fielding’s personal views and he welcomes your comments on them.