Peace at last… but can we learn from our mistakes?


It seems peace may finally have broken out in Burslem.
Fans’ groups who have been the bane of those in charge at the Vale have called a ceasefire.
Many of the objectives of the supporters who fought for change have now been realised.
Unpopular board members have gone or are going and many protesters have adopted a ‘wait and see’ policy with regards to the £8 million Blue Sky investment.
Mark Sims – the only man elected on to the board by a majority of shareholders at June’s EGM – has finally shown his hand.
He claims to never have been given enough financial information to have allowed him to make a decision on signing up to director’s guarantees and therefore won’t be joining the board.
Whatever the truth, it’s another loose end tied up and no great surprise given the amount of time that has elapsed since Sims was actually voted in.
Thus the utopian vision of a supporter-run club may be dead but the powers-that-be have offered an olive branch of sorts.
Through the Supporters’ Club, a fan-elected representative will be given a seat on the board – without having to sign up to a director’s financial liabilities.
If this happens, that would be the one positive from this whole messy civil war.
We have a great manager and a decent squad which has every chance of pushing for promotion.
I am sure everyone would agree that seeing an extra 1,000 plus fans on the home gate will be fantastic.
If we can harness the passion of those who worked for the Black and Gold group, North London Valiants and Starve ‘Em out and focus it on taking Vale forward then the supporter-base could be a genuine powerhouse for the club.
I would also like to praise NLV for donating their remaining ‘fighting fund’ cash to the Sproson Statue Fund and the Supporters’ Club. It was a wonderful gesture.
But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that all in the garden is suddenly rosy.
Make no mistake: This uneasy truce hinges on the board and chief executive’s ability to deliver on the promised investment and, crucially, to be open and honest with supporters.
Many questions remain over the details and timescale of the Blue Sky deal.
There are also those who are unhappy with the current make-up of the board and who see a conflict of interest with the club’s chief executive becoming a director.
Vale’s current regime needs to understand that they must take the rough with the smooth.
They must accept that they have made mistakes and stop being so defensive. A little humility would go a long way right now.
Supporters scrutinise what’s going on at the Vale because they care.
I would suggest that the moment they stop caring is the time that the club’s hierarchy should really start to worry.

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