The charm offensive continued this week with Vale Chief Executive Perry Deakin’s first live web chat.
If only through its own website, the club seems to be attempting to engage with supporters in a manner and on a scale not seen before.
Of course, not everyone would have been online and available to take part in a web chat at 2pm on a Wednesday afternoon.
I suppose it is a start, however. The first step, one would hope, towards developing a genuine dialogue with ordinary fans who for so long have been treated with contempt by those in charge of the club.
The next step ought to be an open meeting with supporters at the Vale where Perry Deakin and Mike Lloyd make themselves available in the flesh to outline their vision with regards the largest investment in the club’s history.
I’ve been criticised for being too negative in recent weeks towards to the Blue Sky investment and the Vale board.
On the contrary, I think the deal sounds fantastic and if £8 million does indeed come to the club over the next few years as a result of the recent trip to the States then I’ll be as delighted as the next man.
Finishing off the Lorne Street stand, completing the Robbie Williams Suite – this is stuff we’ve been banging on about for years so it’s all good.
But I make no apologies for not yet putting the bunting up.
After all, large carrots have been dangled before – just think Harlequin and Ameriturf – only to never materialise.
Last night it was announced that £400,000 of new shares had been purchased in the club by Blue Sky and Perry Deakin’s contact Peter Miller.
I’m sure we are now all looking forward to the remainder of the investment that has been promised.
However, in spite of the lengthy question and answer session via the club’s website, I think there is still much we don’t know about the proposed Blue Sky deal.
What exactly are these ‘community outreach facilities’ which £2.5 million will be spent on and what is the timescale for this part of the deal?
This isn’t me being negative. This is me asking the kind of questions other Vale fans are and should be asking.
I am sure Chairman Mike Lloyd is only too aware that he we have been down this road before and the proof of the pudding with regard to any investment is in the eating.
At this juncture, it is worth taking stock of just what has been accomplished in the last couple of years through the efforts of ordinary fans and shareholders.
As a result of the work of Black and Gold, Starve ’Em Out and North London Valiants, among others, the old guard has been ousted.
Stan Meigh and Peter Jackson have been removed from the board. Bill Bratt and Glenn Oliver will soon be gone.
The fear among some supporters, however, is that the while some of the faces at the top may have changed, the club’s modus operandi remains the same.
Only time will tell and it’s only fair that those currently running the Vale are given the chance to prove themselves.
If nothing else, we will know within 12 months whether or not the Blue Sky deal they’ve negotiated is all it’s cracked up to be.
Meanwhile, it is looking increasingly like the shareholders’ choice from June’s EGM – Mark Sims – will not be taking up a director’s seat.
If that is the case then, perhaps with the help of the Supporters’ Club, Port Vale could look to accommodating the Robbie Williams’ proxy shareholding in another way.
How about removing the obstacle of a director’s financial liabilities and allowing a supporter-elected director on to the board with full rights and privileges?
I can’t think of a better way of showing that the new regime is serious about consulting with the fanbase, healing the rift between supporters and demonstrating the kind of transparency we would all wish to see.