Wildes has gone, but we’re still in good hands

OVF founder Rob Fielding says that while the departure of Paul Wildes is “not ideal news” he thinks that fans should “not get completely downhearted yet” as Norman Smurthwaite claims to have a long-term commitment to the club.

Rob Fielding writes

It’s perhaps an indication of the long term commitment of the duo that one has left after six months while the other tells fans that the Vale ‘is like family.’…

It’s sad that what was regarded by many as a partnership that could last for many years has ended so swiftly but let’s not get completely downhearted yet.

Yes, it probably would have been good if the co-owners had stuck together, managed to work out their differences and continued, but that hasn’t happened, so in light of the news, I would conclude that:

  • We still have an owner who has enough financial resources to take the club forward. I would be wary of him taking on too much work personally, so I hope he recruits wisely to bring in a strong business team who can support him.
  • It’s perhaps an indication of the long term commitment of the duo that one has left after six months while the other tells fans that the Vale ‘is like family.’
  • At least this has been a clean break, it happened swiftly and it happened after the club sealed promotion. If relationships have broken down, it is better that the parties act swiftly rather than the partnership lingering and damaging the club.
  • 50/50 partnership are problematic if both sides disagree, so decisions should at least be swifter and more decisive now.
  • If reports elsewhere are to be believed, Norman Smurthwaite has already proved he has the financial funds to improve the club and therefore we look to be in good hands.
  • While Paul Wildes has proved adroit at marketing and public relations, it is far easier to find a similar expert then it is to find someone with Norman Smurthwaite’s financial resources. Not only that, Norman is able to commit solely on the club unlike Paul Wildes who had many other businesses to run.
  • Yes, we are now at the “whim” of one man – but then again, until recently we were at the whim of two.
  • Fans have to realise that while it’s good to have owners who listen and communicate, ultimately it is their club and their business, only they know what went on and fans have no right to demand to know everthing that goes on in the boardroom. In this world of Twitter and forums, instant reaction and in some cases instant judgement is commonplace but fans should not expect instant, knee-jerk responses from the owners. Norman Smurthwaite has committed to the fans forum on Monday, fans will have to wait till then to find out what he has to say.

So, while it’s not ideal news, we need to recognise that it’s happened, we can ask questions on Monday and then presuming those answers are accepted, we need to move on and focus on Vale’s future not its past.

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