Port Vale legend Robbie Earle says that Norman Smurthwaite is to blame for the club being second from bottom of the Football League.
Locally born Earle played over 350 games in the Vale midfield during the glory days of John Rudge and went on to play in the top-flight for Wimbledon and in the World Cup for Jamaica.
Earle told the Sentinel newspaper: “I would be pinning the blame for Vale’s decline on Michael Brown. I think what happens on a football pitch is often a reflection on the state of the club as a whole. In that respect, Vale’s problems go far deeper than the manager. I am looking at the ownership of the club and some of the decisions made there.
“Just look at the turmoil the club has had just within the last 18 months or so. We had Norman Smurthwaite’s project to radically change the squad just over a year ago including the appointment of Bruno Ribeiro.
“I know Norman Smurthwaite took the decision to resign as chairman and take a step back from the running of the club at the end of last season, but I just don’t see that as a long-term solution.
“We can talk about tactics and formations but I would suggest Vale’s results are really a symptom of what’s happened off the field. You can try to put a sticking plaster over it but those issues over the last couple of years are catching up with the club.
“I just fear we are not going to see Vale make significant progress on the field until problems off it are resolved.”