OVF founder Rob Fielding hopes that fans will continue to back the Supporters Club even though the club is going through a purple patch both on and off the pitch.
Rob Fielding writes…
Right now, the entire committee of the Supporters Club, no doubt exhausted, are poised to exit stage right – but who is going to come in to replace them and carry on their work? Not many, it seems…
A great philosopher (OK, it was actually Oprah Winfrey) once said “where there is no struggle there is no strength” and this appears true with regards to the current state of the Supporters Club.
The problem with fans groups is that, on the main, people are most supportive and most proactive when the situation is bad.
Right now, the entire committee of the Supporters Club, no doubt exhausted, are poised to exit stage right – but who is going to come in to replace them and carry on their work? Not many, it seems.
But we need a strong and united supporters group, don’t we? The early approach to removing the Vale board didn’t work because, in my opinion, there were too many groups all with their own subtly different approach. For instance, some fans would not back any protests, some fans would wear Black and Gold, some would take it further and protest with Black and Gold banners, while others would go so far as to attempt to Starve ‘Em Out. But overall, there was no concerted and unified campaign.
All that changed when fans started to rally around the Supporters club. The numbers of members swelled into the thousands and suddenly fans were increasingly united and increasingly powerful. At that point, the board’s fate was sealed. As former VAR chair Steve Bradbury perceptively put it “a club with no fans is a club with no heart” – as without customers, even a unique business such as a football club can’t surive.
It’s my opinion that fans should never forget how hard the current committee worked and we should always owe them a debt of gratitude for their efforts in ensuring we still have a club to support.
Some would argue that as everything is running smoothly, there’s much less need for a powerful and unified Supporters Club – but I would argue exactly the opposite…
But with the new owners and renewed optimism both on and off the pitch it easy to be complacent about the need for the Supporters Club. Some would argue that as everything is running smoothly, there’s much less need for a powerful and unified Supporters Club – but I would argue exactly the opposite.
Through the efforts of the current committee to build bridges with the club, there is a real chance for the Supporters Club to support the club in a positive way and to develop and improve communication between the club and the fans, their customers.
This is a chance for new blood to come into the Supporters Club and work with (not dictate to, it’s their money after all) the new owners to come up with ideas, suggestions and plans that encourage the fans to engage more with Vale and that ultimately will help swell the club’s coffers.
Some of you may be thinking – well, if you’re so confident of the Supporters Club’s importance, why aren’t you, Mr “Bigshot” Port Vale blogger Rob Fielding, making your own bid to join the committee?
Well, in many ways, I am an outsider looking in. I was brought up in Stoke-on-Trent but I’ve been away from the city for over half my life. I have three young children and a long commute to and from work. A round trip to the mother town takes over three hours and when I don’t get back home from work till 7pm, a midweek committee meeting in Stoke is, sadly out of the question.
So, I can’t put in the commitment to be on the Supporters Club committee but I hope some of you, with a will to work for the good of the club and a desire to carry on the good work will do so.
After all, as another famous philosopher put it (OK, it was JK Rowling) “we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.”