New owners must be open and honest

New owners must be open and honest

Rob Fielding says that whilst potential owner Mo Chaudry has split opinion recently, Mo’s completely right about one thing – that is that any new owners of the club have to be open and honest with the fans.

Rob’s latest blog posting is below:

We need two-way communication between fans and owners

Mo Chaudry has split opinion recently, but he’s completely right about one thing – that is that any new owners of the club have to be open and honest with the fans

I would be disappointed if any of the potential bidders don’t have a plan for Port Vale FC that they can share immediately and in as much detail as possible once they are named as the preferred bidder.

I would also warn any bidders to heed the wise words of Steve Bradbury, Valiants against Racism founder who said of a previous regime that “a club with no fans is a club with no heart”

The new owners should not and cannot take the fans for granted. In any other industry sector, we would be valued – as customers. And as customers, Vale fans have shown that they can force change – even if it takes time and they have to endure setbacks. Yes, Vale fans became empowered and understand the power that they wield so it is essential that the preferred bidders take fans’ views seriously and listen. Otherwise they will rapidly suffer the consequences.

I would hope that room can be found in the boardroom for a fans’ representative – and I can think of no better person than Pete Williams, chairman of the Supporters Club, to fill the role.

The fans can also be useful for the ‘little’ things, which nevertheless still matter.

For instance, we at OVF were embarrassed by recent kit clashes that have seen Vale donning the opposition’s kit. A poll on here showed that over 80% of fans would support a return to a yellow away kit. That’s surely a useful note if the club want to sell large numbers of away strips.

Perhaps one of the key tipping points for the “MOLD” regime was their callous disregard of the Sproson family – a family that is without peer in Vale folklaw. Again, in the grand scheme of MOLD misdeeds it wasn’t that grand – but the moral outrage it provoked was possibly fatal to that regime.

When these issues are compared to next season’s ticket prices, the players’ retained list and the completion of the Lorne St then they may appear to be minor – but in my book the “proof of the pudding” will be how the new owners treat both big and small issues.

Yes, it won’t take much to surpass the PR efforts of the last two regimes – but if we really want fans to unite, for the club to progress, for events to proceed smoothly, it’s essential there’s a two-way process.

In short, my message to the new owners is… outline your plans for the club, but don’t forget to listen to your customers too… no matter how small they may seem.

Rob Fielding is the founder of OVF and has been a Port Vale fan for 31 years. These are his personal views

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