Protests show majority want change – but it may take patience to bear fruit

Rob Fielding hails the thousands appealing for change at the club but says this could be a long-term protest campaign.

Rob Fielding writes…

The massed ranks of red cards at Vale Park on Saturday showed that there are thousands of Vale fans who want change at the club. While I appreciate some fans may have opposing views, I personally applaud those who care enough about the club to take action on Saturday.

There will almost certainly be times when the protests cause controversy – when they are blamed for poor performances or for missed sponsorship opportunities – but fans surely have to take into account the greater good…

The last few years have been marked with failures – millions in director’s loans, errors in appointing managers, errors in public relations (Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink, Rob Page etc) and a succession of awful January transfer windows. It’s clear that with Synectics Solutions making a £3.5m bid for the club, many fans want to see a change of ownership.

The protests are therefore unlikely to go away and there will undoubtedly be more before this season ends.

There will almost certainly be times when the protests cause controversy – when they are blamed for poor performances or for missed sponsorship opportunities – but fans surely have to take into account the greater good. Sometimes you need to take a backwards step in order to take several positive steps forward.

Fans care about this club and if a substantial majority think that it is losing ground under the owner they are entitled to make their views clear in a peaceful manner. While it’s true that as the man who owns the club, it’s ultimately up to Norman Smurthwaite when or indeed if he decides to sell the club, that doesn’t mean the protests are in vain.

There have been multiple examples of similar campaigns eventually bringing change – and like them we could be in this situation for the long-haul. After all, it took Blackpool fans four years to oust the Oystons and it may take the same time or even more to force a change of ownership at Port Vale. The question then is will all the effort be worth it?

If, like many other life-long Vale fans, you can answer “yes” to that question then you need to commit to the campaign potentially for the long-term. It takes patience, resilience and belief in your cause to commit for the long-term but if enough do, I am sure that it it will eventually result in a stronger and better football club for the fans.

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