All is quiet on the western front. Isn’t it telling that the chairman has kept a remarkably low profile since the travesty of an EGM?
This is clearly a deliberate tactic. You see, no news is good news for a board which no longer has a mandate to run Port Vale Football Club.
Bill Bratt has been conspicuous by his absence – preferring instead to leave the media statements to the club’s PR guru or the chief executive.
What’s more, the players are in the States which makes for a rather limp build up to the season from a fans’ perspective.
However, it’s seemingly business as usual down at ST6 1AW – despite the fact that we all know that the Starve ‘Em Out (SEO) campaign IS having a hugely-detrimental effect on the club’s finances.
Perhaps the most telling aspect of the close-season has been the acquisitions made by Micky Adams.
I hope every one of the players the gaffer has brought in proves a success but, in all honesty, they are all young players with a point to prove.
The advantages are that they are hungry, hopefully talented and presumably relatively cheap in terms of wages.
However, the blunt truth is that, at present, Port Vale isn’t a club which can look to higher divisions when recruiting players and that is a reflection on where the current board has led us to – rather than any reflection on Micky Adams’s ability or ambition.
We simply don’t have the financial clout to compete with even some other clubs in League Two.
After the hollow victory of the EGM, which didn’t quite deliver the killer blow to the old regime, there was understandably a lot of soul-searching and head-scratching among the various elements of the campaign for change.
The close-but-no-cigar situation left the Black and Gold team, North London Valiants and SEO wondering what their next moves were.
Some wondered whether it had all been for nothing. Worse still, there has been friction between supporters within the pro-change camp as frustrations boil over.
Mo Chaudry has been forced to wait in the wings – little more than an interested spectator at this juncture.
Meanwhile, Mark Sims – the man who many, including myself, feel is key to ultimately removing Messrs Bratt, Oliver and Lloyd – has yet to be given the information he requires for him to feel comfortable signing guarantees as a new director.
Malcolm Hirst, of NLV, is in the same boat and I understand fully their predicament.
However, both men have proven by their actions to genuinely have the best interests of Port Vale at heart and so I am prepared to put my faith in them and wait.
In September of last year I wrote something which I have since come to regret.
I wrote: “Bill Bratt has now stepped down as chief executive, but will remain as chairman. This is a good move. Bill’s steady hand will remain on the tiller, but this move allows the club to appoint a new CEO – fresh blood with new ideas.”
Sadly, I have come to realise that so long as Bill Bratt’s hand remains on the tiller and the good ship Port Vale is crewed by the likes of Glenn Oliver and Mike Lloyd we can never hope for great footballing adventures and are limited to pootling back and forth across Westport Lake.
The time has come for the board to acknowledge what they are doing to a substantial chunk of the supporter base.
Several hundred life-long Port Vale fans are voting with their feet. They simply won’t be at Vale Park which is perhaps the greatest tragedy of this whole sorry saga.
I will be there but I will be wearing a Black and Gold scarf and doing my utmost to affect the change which means the people who have been forced to make the ultimate sacrifice can come home again.
*NB: My Vale columns return to The Sentinel on August 5.