The statement by Broxap director Robert Lee, in which he attempts to deflect some criticism away from himself for the way in which he undermined the campaign for change at the Port Vale EGM, raises some interesting questions.
Critics have made great play of the fact that the man heading up the consortium to buy the club, Mo Chaudry, only offered to buy the Broxap shareholding for £40,000 – rather than the £50,000 full-price figure.
This enabled the board to do a deal with Broxap the day before the EGM which saved three of the five directors from being ousted when the vast majority of shareholders voted to get rid of them.
On the day of the EGM, Mr Lee told The Sentinel: “We have stated that we have no preferences or issues between the board or Mr Chaudry…”
He went on to say: “We have also stated that whoever owns the club at the start of next season was not our concern…”
However, Mr Lee’s statement yesterday seems to wholly contradict that neutral stance and gives the impression of a man with an agenda.
He has accused Mr Chaudry of: having no interest in the success of Port Vale on the field; plotting to hive-off the property into a separate entity, pension scheme or company which would have long-term negative financial consequences for the independence of the club; and running a campaign which has centred around ‘vexatious propaganda’ instead of engaging in private and confidential discussions with shareholders.
Yet, despite all these misgivings, the fact remains that Mr Lee was quite prepared to sell the Broxap shareholding to Mr Chaudry for £40k.
Furthermore, in an email which I have seen, which Mr Lee sent to Mr Chaudry on May 16, he writes: “We have no reason to doubt your intentions to acquire Port Vale are honourable and if successful I personally think you will become a great charismatic chairman.”
Mr Lee would have to have been on planet Zog not to have known that by agreeing to sell his shares to the board he was, effectively, switching sides and that his shares could prove crucial in such a tightly-contested poll.
Given all this, I personally am taking much of what Mr Lee says with a pinch of salt.
I am not surprised that Mr Chaudry offered £40k because, at the time, it probably seemed like a fair deal.
And anyway, isn’t this the kind of hard-ball business approach that many Vale fans want to see at the club? Because, make no mistake, that’s what they are going to get if Mr Chaudry takes over.
They can’t, on the one hand, demand more professionalism and a cutting edge to the business and then belly-ache about it.
Let’s move forward with our eyes open and accept that anyone wishing to run our club should be open to scrutiny and scepticism until they prove their worth.
I would hope that the current board, Mr Lee and Mr Chaudry would all agree with that sentiment. After all, surely the club must come first.
Frankly, all I care about is that we have a club to support in 12 months, five years and 20 years’ time.
Preferably a successful one where the cancer of nepotism and self-service has been removed.