Malcolm Hirst: after saying sorry, Norman should now correct his mistakes and write off his loans

Malcolm Hirst: after saying sorry, Norman should now correct his mistakes and write off his loans

Vale fan Malcolm Hirst welcomes an apology from Norman Smurthwaite but wants him to write off the loans, put a reasonable price on the club and open a dialogue with Synectics.

Malcolm Hirst writes…

Right, we finally have it, an apology from Norman Smurthwaite and an admission that it has been his disastrous decisions that have led to the relegation of our wonderful club. He writes

“I have clearly seriously damaged our Club, resulting in Sunday’s relegation which was never my intention…. I deeply regret the actions and appointments I made during the closed season and would like to apologise sincerely to all supporters”

The right course of action would have been to have stated he was writing off the loans. After all, it is his decisions that have led to the current state of affairs…

I would like to thank Norman for admitting his role in our demise this season. However, the decisions he has taken have consequences, the largest of which is the £3m plus loans he has saddled our club with. The right course of action would have been to have stated he was writing off the loans. After all, it is his decisions that have led to the current state of affairs. His tenure of our great club has been an unmitigated catastrophe. We were well on our way to promotion when he bought us.

Speaking personally, I am very worried about the rest of the statement and where it might leave Vale. He is standing down as Chairman and that is to be welcomed. He is going to be selling the club and again that is to be welcomed. He wants to make sure the right people buy the club, which again is to be welcomed. However, these are only words and Smurthwaite’s actions will be more telling. Unfortunately, his track record is not great. He told us when taking over Vale he would leave us in a better position than he found us in! That is clearly not true. He said he could replace a 30-goal-season striker for half the price, it never happened. He said he was selling the club but put such an unrealistic price on it that it perhaps made people wonder if it was truly up for sale?

He told us when taking over Vale he would leave us in a better position than he found us in! That is clearly not true…

There have been rumours circulating about what the constitution of the new board will look like. I am extremely worried that Tony Fradley is our new Chairman. I feel his appointment will cause more turmoil amongst supporters. Mr Fradley’s unwavering support of the Valiant 2001 board will make it difficult for him to gain the respect of the fanbase and possibly lead to more fans staying away from Vale Park. This newly constituted board has the feel of the old Valiant 2001 board. I fear it could only lead to administration and I am sure that many would blame Mr Smurthwaite for that legacy.

So here is what I hope Norman Smurthwaite will do to right the wrong he has afflicted on Port Vale fans:

  • Write off all Chairman loans
  • Put a reasonable price on the club and sell it along with the ground
  • Make his peace with Synectics Solutions and start realistic negotiations

Mr Smurthwaite you have said you “will endeavour to ensure that the right party purchase the Club.” Perhaps, just perhaps, if you implement the above you might salvage something of your reputation amongst Vale fans and leave knowing you did the right thing at the end of your ownership of Port Vale.

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