56 days on, the club makes a Keith Ryder statement

56 days on, the club makes a Keith Ryder statement

Rob Fielding says that while he appreciates the Supporters Club’s call not to “panic” he still feels that eight weeks without an official club statement on the prospect of leaving administration is not acceptable.

Rob Fielding writes…

There’s a new statement from Keith Ryder on the Port Vale website this afternoon. But did you know that the last time a club statement about Keith Ryder was published on the Port Vale website was back on April the 26th?

Rob Fielding has been a Vale fan for 31 years and has been editing OVF since 1996. These are his personal views

No wonder a number of fans are concerned over the lack of information from Port Vale FC.

This brings me to a problem that I have with the latest Supporters Club press release. In my view, it’s much, much easier to say “don’t panic” when you have regular contact with the prospective owner (as the Supporters Club committee does) than when you don’t. As one of many fans who “don’t”, I just don’t think it’s reasonable to expect fans that have been waiting eight weeks for a club statement to remain completely calm and unruffled.

Yes, I know some comments have been over-the-top but Vale support is a broad church and a minority of views can be extreme. That’s pretty much the rule in all large gatherings of human beings, though. Frankly, those extreme views will occur regardless of the club’s situation. My concern is that the “normal” rank and file of Vale fans were also getting worried because the club’s communication skills, for which previous boards were often criticised, have gone missing once again.

Yes, there have been quotes from the club in the media, but (as the Leveson Inquiry has increasingly shown) is it wise for organisations to let the press, alone, manage their communications? The club has a website through which it can communicate with fans without the need for any media “spin” – why don’t the club’s administrators use it?

Let me make one thing clear. This is not a dig at the Supporters Club. The Supporters Club have always taken the time to be open and honest with the fans. They deserve a heck of a lot of credit.

But, while I’m pleased that there is now an official statement, why did it take the Sentinel news story (about a delay to the Ryder deal being completed) and calls from fans for a club statement for it to finally come out?

There has been much speculation, some of it from well-informed journalists such as Martin Tideswell, that the Ryder deal was reportedly set to be completed on 22nd June? So, rather than being reactive, it would have been much more impressive to have seen some proactive work from the club.

Would it really have taken too much to post a statement up to inform the fans earlier this week? After all, surely those “in the loop” would know that there was to be no Friday sign-off by the Football League? And is it not too much to ask for a regular update on what is going on? Surely a couple of paragraphs published on a weekly basis are not asking the earth?

I’m not asking for every minutiae of the deal to be relayed to the club, after all we’re not stupid and we do appreciate some things are confidential and cannot be disclosed. I accept that regular updates will still not silence the more extremist elements of the fanbase. But regular updates will prevent regular “rank and file” fans feeling disenfranchised and not valued.

After all, surely even those complaining about fans “panicking” have to accept that, with the club still in administration, 56 days without a club statement is simply unacceptable?


  1. The best editorial that Rob has written.

  2. Too many armchair critics and experts on here.

    Most are too quick to jump to conclusions too.

    Yes, the admins have been rubbish at communicating. To be fair, the club’s PR and comms has been a joke for a couple of years.

    Fans need to realise there is a fine line between legitimate questions and going off at the deep end.

    Quite a few people on these forums blow with the wind. They change their mind every five minutes just to have something to say and be in with the vocal in crowd.

    Then there are the die-hard, former pro-Mo disciples who think the world owes them something.

    Newsflash: Vale about to become privately owned. The proper way for dialogue will be through the SC which has done a remarkable job – lest we forget.

    You want a voice? Join the SC committee. You want to be listened to? Stop spouting nonsense about what you claim people inside the club told you or putting two and two together to get 7.

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