Jealousy is a terrible thing. It makes people do and say the daftest things – especially where celebrities are concerned.
I guess that’s why stars like the Potteries’ own Robbie Williams will always be a soft target and why he will never be able to do right in some people’s eyes.
On February 27, 2006, The Sentinel announced our Rob had effectively saved cash-strapped Port Vale by buying £265,000 worth of shares in the club.
At the time Vale Chairman Bill Bratt said: “It clearly shows he cares about Port Vale and its future. It’s now up to the board and all at Port Vale FC to ensure his investment is used wisely in helping to secure the future of our club.”
Fast-forward six years and Rob is now one of more than 1,000 creditors – including more than 900 ordinary Vale fans – who have lost their investment.
The club is back in administration and doesn’t have two ha’pennies to rub together.
Supporters are rattling collection buckets again and Vale’s future is far from certain.
Cue a procession of people asking why Robbie doesn’t buy the club, pay the costs of the administration process or stage a concert at Vale Park. After all, he’s minted, isn’t he?
Surely he wouldn’t miss a few million quid. It’s the equivalent of the rest of us chucking a hundred quid in the pot.
My answer to these questions would be: It’s his time and his money and it’s up to him what he does with them.
Back in 2006 it was made abundantly clear to the then Vale board of directors that Rob’s investment was a one-off – a goodwill gesture to the club he had supported all his life.
Of course, back then few people realised lightning could strike twice and that Vale would so soon be up the creek again without a paddle.
If Rob fancies doing something more to help the Vale then great. If he wants a Save The Vale tee-shirt for kick-abouts in California then I’ll send one to him via his dad.
But, to my mind, he’s done his bit – far more so than others I could mention.
For example, without Robbie’s shareholding – entrusted to the Supporters’ Club – ordinary fans wouldn’t have had a voice during the past tumultuous 12 months.
What I reckon we should be asking ourselves is why on earth he would want to do an Elton John and become more involved in a struggling League Two football club.
He’s indicated previously that he doesn’t have the time to devote such an undertaking and I’m not sure the basket case that is Port Vale would do the RW brand any favours right now.
Let’s say he did buy the club. It isn’t just a question of putting a few new seats in the Lorne Street stand and finishing off the infamous Robbie Williams suite.
As soon as things started to go pear-shaped on the field some fans would demand the club’s moneybags benefactor dip into his bank account for that star striker or desperate loan signing. And so it would go on.
No. What Port Vale needs is to be run by a businessman or woman who knows how to turn a profit while keeping his or her customers happy.
Let’s leave Rob to enjoy married life, carry on making music and continue contributing to the charities he supports – including many here in North Staffordshire.
You see, contrary to what Bill Shankly may have said, there are far more important things in life than football.
A few days ago Rob announced via the internet that he and his wife Ayda were announcing their first child.
The ‘tweet’ was an honest and emotional one from a man who, despite his worldwide fame and substantial fortune, has clearly realised that he’s about to have his world rocked by something entirely natural and human.
He’s soon to become a dad and, as any parent will tell you, it’s the best feeling in the world.
It doesn’t matter if he lives in a mansion in Los Angeles. It doesn’t matter if he’s Britain’s biggest music star. It doesn’t matter how much money he has.
Right now he’s Robert Peter Williams and he and his missus are about to have a baby.
I think he can be forgiven if he’s got more important things on his mind than Port Vale. He’s loving angels instead.
So let’s just be happy for a Potteries lad done-good and wish him and his family all the best.