Tag: Port Vale

Port Vales Latest Bidder Shows His Hand

The emergence of Altrincham-based businessman Paul Wildes and his Leicestershire business associate Norman Smurthwaite as the latest “preferred” bidder(s) for Port Vale triggered a wave of hope across Burslem. Some of it was live on telly too, as Vale gave Oxford United a 3-0 shoeing on the day Wildes name was made public. After the protracted, painful climax of the Valiant 2001 era and the summer saga involving Lancastrian businessman Keith Ryder, Vale fans would probably have been grateful if their latest putative saviour could tie his own shoelaces. Nevertheless Wildes, the senior but younger partner (36… yikes!), made a very good initial impression, steadfastly avoiding being tripped up in a very intense first week under the scrutiny of fans and the local media. Only Wildes has gone public. “Retired finance expert” Smurthwaite – the most ‘northern’ name since ex-Barrow striker Colin Cowperthwaite – will add his retired finance expertise only when required. “He’ll be there to lend an ear when I need it,” Wildes explained. This might not be often. Wildes has been described – though not by himself (see below) – as a successful “entrepreneur” and “venture capitalist” with “business interests ranging from property development to hairdressing.” And, it would seem, most points in-between (most points are). These include horse-racing, where he is “a profitable owner on the turf,” according to flatstats.co.uk. “Backing all runners to a...

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Port Vale: Reserving The Right To Criticise

The benefits of hindsight are many. And reviewing the fretful close season that Port Vale fans have just endured, I am glad that I “knew the result” of the negotiations on Lancashire businessman Keith Ryder’s putative club takeover. Otherwise I would have feared for them mightily. Vale ended last season in administration with “preferred bidder” Ryder having agreed a deal with creditors to take the club out of administration. They started the new season in administration, with no “preferred bidder” having agreed anything. And yet, Vale are arguably in a safer position now, with genuine hopes that the summer’s mistakes can be rectified. Ryder, Bob Young, a senior partner of administrators Begbies Traynor, and the Football League spent their summer in what appeared to be negotiations over every line of every agreement required to facilitate the takeover. Yet ultimately, Ryder failed to deliver on the key aspect of his takeover… the money to pay for it. And the Vale fan base was left as divided as they had ever been, even during the darkest days of protest against the regime which took them into administration in March. Ryder was swiftly selected as Vale’s “preferred bidder” in April having offered more money for creditors than any other bids received by the administrators. He also provided the administrators with the requisite “proof of funds.” Yet this “proof” was worthless, as when...

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Port Vales Summer Of Optimism Returns To Square One

200% has observed events at Burslem from a distance over the summer, as Port Vale appeared to be slowly edging towards an exit from administration. In recent weeks, Vale have begun to slowly edge nowhere. In the first of a two-part piece, Mark Murphy summarises what has happened, and what hasn’t happened at the club since April. In part two, he will try to detail why. Last April, there were three bidders interested in buying League Two Port Vale out of administration Since then, a preferred bidder was selected, proof of funds produced, a Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) agreed with creditors, including the local authority, ownership documents signed and the preferred bidder declared “100% owner” of the club. At the time of writing, there are three bidders interested in buying League Two Port Vale out of administration. So why has so much happened, yet nothing changed? First signs were good, even to the jaundiced eye required to look at modern-day football club administrations. Co-administrators Bob Young and Gerald Krasner of Begbies Traynor selected their preferred bidder using the straightforward criteria of who offered the most money to creditors. With Rangers’  administrators tying themselves in Glaswegian knots to satisfy all sorts of competing interests, it was refreshing to see Young and Krasner adhere so precisely to their primary objective as officers of the courts. And they were open with fans...

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Port Vale In Administration: The End Of The Beginning

“It will be the perfect administration, if true,” wrote the BBC’s Matt Slater on March 19th, in response to Port Vale joint administrator Gerald Krasner’s prediction of getting a deal with creditors signed off by the end of April. Krasner, to the surprise of no-one with experience of the self-confident Leeds United ex-chairman, was being somewhat bullish. But Vale’s administration, thus far, has been a relatively trouble-free experience, if not perfect for everyone. It has certainly been less fraught than what preceded it, although the failure of long-time fans’ darling Mo Chaudry to even make the short-list for “preferred bidder” status will deny the administrators universal acclaim – as will joint administrator Bob Young’s insistence that the previous regime, “fans consortium” Valiant 2001, hadn’t done that bad a job. The preferred bidder, Lancashire businessman Keith Ryder, is almost inevitably a property developer – amongst other ‘talents.’ It is almost as if there is, among administrators’ duties and objectives, a clause obligating the short-listing of property developers. This could have been so, for all the knowledge of the administration process displayed by Vale people recently. The ‘guilty parties’ included team boss Micky Adams who has complained over a different issue almost every week. “He can be a bit prickly,” Young told last week’s fans’ forum, to knowing laughter from the audience. And they also appeared to include Chaudry, whose curious...

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Port Vale: Out With The Old, In With The…. Who?

On February 26th, local businessman Mo Chaudry said “administrators could be called in within two months” to League Two Port Vale. And this assessment, which appeared in the local Sentinel newspaper on February 26th 2011, found some unlikely – and probably unknowing – supporters as the old Vale Park regime finally disappeared. Former Chief Executive Perry Deakin hinted at a future as a Rory Bremner-lookalike during his short stint on the BBC’s weekly regional football magazine show Late Kick-Off on Monday, which he followed up with a long stint in the Sentinel. Meanwhile, former board colleague Mike Lloyd combined a BBC Radio Stoke interview with an appearance in the Sentinel and a rightly-aborted attempt to tell his tale at a Supporters Club meeting last Sunday. The pair sounded more co-ordinated than usual, if equally insincere. But the slivers of sense they spoke were overwhelmed by a smell of “it was not me, it was the other three.” The line was that administration, formalised on Friday, was ‘a long time coming’ rather than the current board’s fault. And Deakin claimed: “we’ve done reasonably well to get as far as we have in the season.” His thinking was: “when you start a financial year with zero in the bank and you need three-quarters of a million, then you have a problem,” which was nicely understated. This tied in with his attempts...

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