Tag: Port Vale

Video of the Day: Port Vale vs Tottenham Hotspur, January 1988

There was a time when the FA Cup was at the absolute top of the list of priorities for Tottenham Hotspur. The club and its supporters were proud of holding – jointly, for many years, with Aston Villa – the record for having won the competition the most times, even if the competition has been diminished in recent years by changing priorities on the part of the biggest clubs and administrative incompetence on the part of those charged with running it in the first place. For those of us born in the 1970s in north London, Spurs’ twin FA...

Read More

Port Vale: When “Shooting From The Hip” Goes Wrong

There are two fundamental truisms of running a football club which can only attract crowds of around five thousand people. The first is that national media attention is likely to be thin on the ground and should be used wisely. The second is that you can’t afford to piss those hardy five thousand souls off too much. These are both lessons that the Port Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite has learned the hard way over the course of the last few days or so. Smurthwaite has been the man in charge at Vale Park since 2012, taking control of the...

Read More

Port Vale: Norman’s Conquest

After Port Vale’s FA Cup third round replay triumph over Plymouth Argyle, Mark Murphy thought it would be opportune to revisit the two clubs’ financial fortunes since they emerged from administration and ownership crises. And what a tangled web they both have woven. Next up… Plymouth’s hotly-disputed role in the business machinations of James Brent, the high-profile local “entrepreneur” who took the Pilgrims out of administration in October 2011. First, though, the Valiants… Port Vale fans can be forgiven for their transparent battle-fatigue. After the well-documented tribulations under the “Valiants 2001” regime which (mis)managed the club from… er… 2003, (see 200% in passim) they had to endure the falsest of dawns when Lancashire businessman Keith Ryder’s plans to take the Valiants out of administration dissolved in a vat of broken promises at the start of last season. So it is that current owner Norman Smurthwaite can make all sorts of mistakes in his running of Vale AND resemble Ken Bates in a fright wig, without quite being scrutinised and criticised as if one of the rogues gallery of previous Vale directors had done likewise. In October 2012, two months after the Ryder fiasco, Yorkshire-born venture capitalist Paul Wildes emerged as preferred bidder, the straight man of, yet dominant partner in, a double act with Smurthwaite, a 52-year-old retired “finance expert” from Leicestershire (despite the stereotypically northern name). Wildes made...

Read More

Port Vale vs The Stoke Sentinel… And The Club Is In The Wrong

The relationship between football clubs and the local newspapers of the areas that they inhabit has long been assumed to be a mutually beneficial one. On one side of the equation, in an era during which the print media is undergoing a period of trauma that has destabilised the entire industry, one guaranteed source of income is likely to be football supporters who want the level of detail that a local newspaper with a journalist dedicated to covering their club can offer. On the other, meanwhile, the coverage that a local newspaper can offer a football club is difficult to ignore and might well be considered to be something approaching free advertising for what is ultimately a business which, especially below the Premier League, most likely needs all the advertising that it can get. This isn’t, however, to say that the relationship between local newspapers and football clubs can’t be or isn’t often fractious, and in recent years there has been an upward swing in the number of clubs that have, for various reasons, banned their local newspapers from entry into their grounds for reasons that have frequently seemed to be on the whim of whoever is controlling that club at the time. Most notably of all, Newcastle United have come in for considerable criticism for banning their local press from the club, most recently for having the temerity...

Read More