Columnist Malcolm Hirst thinks that publishing the club accounts would earn owner Norman Smurthwaite more respect from Vale fans.
Malcolm Hirst writes…
Norman Smurthwaite recently broke his own self-imposed social media silence to address rumours concerning the financial goings on at Vale Park. The pubs in Burslem are always full of rumours so it is no surprise that an online forum such as onevalefan has rumours too. Personally, I love a good conspiracy theory, especially during the quiet close season.
What is interesting is that Norman chose to respond to such rumours. Was he full of indignation or did he feel threatened that some murky secret was about to be exposed? Who knows what thoughts lie on the mind of our club owner? I didn’t read anywhere that there was any suggestion of illegal practices so I do find it strange that Norman would respond with such a strong rebuttal that started with…this is not a threat but…
I tweeted Norman and the conversation is below:
So, Norman’s full disclosure email never arrived. Yes, I know, I can hear the chorus of “yeah yeah of course he sent an email”. However, I occasionally, in one of my weaker moments, almost feel sorry for Norman Smurthwaite. He has such dreadful luck with his IT. He has had his Twitter account hacked on at least two occasions. He somehow managed to forward a file containing sensitive commercial information to a group of fans. His latest piece of bad luck was an email that did not reach its destination. I can’t remember the last time I had an email not delivered, and when it did happen, I was informed by an automated email.
Sadly, for Norman, he used the fact of sending the email as a way of justifying not publishing a comprehensive set of accounts for Vale. He was quick enough to respond the original challenge of publishing these accounts by saying he had sent them to Vale stalwart Jean Jackson. However, she did not receive them. Yes, the cynics amongst the Vale fans might wonder if they were ever sent? I preferred to give Norman the opportunity to resend them or better still make them publicly available for all Vale fans to read. Regrettably, there is still no sign of a comprehensive set of accounts.
Should we as Vale fans get sight of the accounts, after all we are no longer a fan owned club? It is a legitimate question to ask. My answer would be yes. Norman has made great play of the money he has put into the club. He has made a few directors’ loans and has stated he is not willing to write these off despite his promise not to leave Vale in a worse situation than when he arrived. Personally, I would like to know how the fans money has been spent that necessitated this additional money.
The problem for Norman is he has lost the trust and respect of most Vale fans. So, come on Norman, publish a full set of accounts, quash the rumours, you never know it might be a good first step in gaining some respect back from disillusioned Vale fans.