Keith Ryder. “Who? Never heard of him.”
That was the reaction from most people when I left the Press Conference at Vale Park this lunchtime.
As one of the unnamed bidders, Mr Ryder has ghosted in and snaffled the preferred bidder status for Port Vale Football Club.
He couldn’t be at the Press Conference as he had ‘business in the south of England’.
This immediately led some to denounce him as not being committed to the club and ‘a joke’.
Or it could just be that the Press Conference date and time was set by the administrators and he, er, had business in the south of England. Make your own mind up.
Apparently Mr Ryder has tried to invest in Port Vale before. Then again, who hasn’t been turned down by the previous regime?
We were told he made his money in financial services and property development.
This prompted me to receive text messages pointing to the fact that Mr Ryder is obviously interested in the land so he can flog it for housing.
Not so. He’s not allowed to do that because the main debenture holder – Stoke-on-Trent City Council – requires the preferred bidder to sign a bit of paper which ensure football continues to be played at Vale Park.
We have also been assured that Mr Ryder, based in Lancashire, has no links to previous directors. Bonus.
He’ll be meeting the fans at an open forum on April 18 and, hopefully, before then the Supporters’ Club will hook up with him to offer help and support.
It’s a brave new world and no-one should underestimate the task ahead of us.
Vale is on its knees. The fanbase has dwindled to a real hard core and some divisions among supporters remain.
We have to get the CVA approved which means we can avoid a further points deduction and we have to get to a position where Micky Adams can start making plans for the new season.
However, there is hope. In recent months that hard core of loyal fans has worked miracles and shown boundless generosity.
That’s why Peter Miller, Perry Deakin, Glenn Oliver and Mike Lloyd are history. That’s why we have an opportunity for a fresh start.
Now is the time for us to set aside any personal agendas or favouritism. Those in the pro-Mo Chaudry camp must set aside any disappointment too.
On April 18 we can meet the preferred bidder, ask the questions we want to ask and see what his vision for the future of Port Vale is.
He will be subject to the same scrutiny as all those who have gone before and, by the same token, should be able to call on the support of everyone who wants the best for Port Vale.
Mr Ryder deserves a chance. So before we vilify him, jump to conclusions or automatically assume the worst, let’s show a little patience and good grace.
We’re Vale aren’t we?