Dear Keith Ryder…

Dear Mr Ryder, welcome to Vale Park.

If you’re wondering what that stone plinth is for at the bottom of the steps outside the main entrance, well, there’s a story there.

That’s where the statue of our greatest player – Roy Sproson – is going stand one day soon. Hopefully.

It was all paid for by the fans and should have been unveiled, well, ages ago – but there were, er… complications.

To be honest, it has been a dreadful few years for everyone connected with Port Vale.
I’m not sure where to begin, really.

There was this dream, you see, of a ‘fan-run club’ but that turned into a nightmare when some ‘fans’ decided they were more equal than others.

Vale’s shareholders (the bulk of whom were ordinary fans) lost their investment because the previous board of directors lost the plot – along with the goodwill of a majority of supporters.

The fans were lied to and treated with contempt. They were promised a multi-million pound investment which never materialised.

They watched in horror as Vale Park was remortgaged, bills went unpaid and a promotion campaign was torpedoed by a points deduction.

It was touch and go whether or not the club would survive at all, to be honest, such was the mismanagement of the previous regime.

But we’ve got the chance of a fresh start now and that’s where you come in.

It goes without saying, Mr Ryder, that you are inheriting a football club with a long and proud history.

The simple truth is that, in order to make a success of Port Vale, you need certain ingredients.

You need a plan and you need to have the cash to realise that vision – on and off the park.

But, crucially, right now you need to embrace the fanbase.

If I can give you any advice it would be: Prepare to have everything you say and do scrutinised to the nth degree.

I just hope you have a thick skin because you’re going to need one.

To be fair, most supporters are sick and tired of the in-fighting and the bickering and just want to get back to supporting the team.

But, in order for them to do that wholeheartedly, you must be honest with them and not mislead them or fill them with delusions of grandeur.

We’ve had enough false dawns at Vale to last a lifetime.

Let’s face it, Micky Adams – if he remains as manager – will be putting together an almost entirely new squad over the summer.

Next season, therefore, is likely to be one of consolidation and, fingers crossed, healing – rather than a nailed-on promotion push.

But I’ll settle for that after what’s gone on recently and I’m sure I won’t be alone.

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2 thoughts on “Dear Keith Ryder…

  1. melvyn williams says:

    Well put, Martin. Yes, Mr Ryder, you must be honest with us. We can cope with that but if you… well, we won’t go down that road. Just treat our club with respect and we will respect you. GOOD LUCK

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