Tag: Port Vale

On The Brink: A Week In The Life Of Port Vale Football Club

On September 25th 2008 the then Port Vale chairman Bill Bratt declared: “I feel the board and I have taken the club as far as we can.” And now, officially, they have. The end of the “Valiant 2001” era at Vale Park, which began when the self-styled “supporters” organisation bought Vale out of administration in 2003 will be mourned by no-one. However, the way it has ended may have longer-term repercussions which will only gradually come to light over time (he says, getting his excuses in early for drawing conclusions laid waste by events). I can’t have been alone in thinking: “Hooray, Peter Miller’s resigned… oooh, hang on… why now?” when Bratt’s brief-but-not-brief-enough successor chairman left Vale last weekend. The immediate practical impact was to make an already-ineffective board formally ineffective, as it fell short of the constitutional requirement of having four members, as well as the general requirement of knowing their arse from their elbow. Football Club and Supporters Club (SC) solicitors reportedly met after Miller’s announcement. No-one would say why, with the SC blaming “political and commercial sensitivities” at the club for their rare silence. Then chairman Pete Williams said they’d been “working extremely hard behind the scenes to get rid of the current regime.” But Miller didn’t get where he is today without knowing where the edge of the law is. Trading while knowingly insolvent is...

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The Battle Lines Are Drawn At Port Vale

Since 200% last cast a jaundiced eye over Port Vale, plenty has happened but little has changed. Each week seems to have brought a new revelation of ill-behaviour from Vale’s board (my forecast that at least one director will come out as a woman trapped in a man’s body hasn’t happened… yet). And fans have almost unanimously called for them to push off… or be pushed out.  Future ex-chief executive Perry Deakin, former chairman Peter Miller, current acting chairman Mike Lloyd and soon-to-be-ex-director anyway Glenn Oliver resisted all calls to do anything near ‘the right thing,’ including calling an Extraordinary General Meeting of Vale shareholders to defend their continued tenure. Exasperated fans have been led into battle by the recently-radicalised Official Supporters Club, which organised the Vale shareholders among their number to force the club to call an EGM, or do it themselves. The next ‘Battle for Burslem’ will therefore take place on March 13th.  This EGM will take place as some sort of joint affair with the club’s long-awaited and twice-postponed Annual General Meeting, at which the club will present their soon-to-be-published financial report and statement of accounts to 30 June 2011. In the meantime, all signs point to a Glasgow Rangers-style collapse of club finances, while manager Micky Adams has somehow maintained Vale’s play-off challenge amid the chaos – an achievement of manager-of-the-year proportions if he keeps...

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A Good Time To Bury Bad News For Port Vale

It is virtually impossible to forecast the next misdemeanour, potential or otherwise, to emerge from Port Vale’s boardroom, without descending into the realms of bad-taste fantasy (one of the major protagonists revealing themselves to be a woman trapped in a man’s body, for example). Presumably believing Christmas to be “a week to bury bad news,” Vale chairman Peter Miller informed everyone, including all fellow board members apparently, that he’d re-mortgaged the club’s Vale Park ground to facilitate a £277,000 loan covering “short-term” cashflow problems, caused by the collapse of the much-vaunted “investment deal” with American sports turf firm Blue Sky International (BS). Vale fans whose cynicism dwarfed their arithmetical ability immediately assumed the money would pay for the £350,000 worth of Vale shares that Miller and chief executive Perry Deakin claimed to own – and used to vote each other onto the board in the autumn. This theory was only debunked when Deakin revealed that he had never paid for and never owned those shares. This came in a lengthy interview with the local Sentinel newspaper last week, during which Deakin all-but-said “I was only obeying orders” during months of spin, disingenuousness and downright untruths. And in the midst of all this, the board casually announced that Miller’s three-month term as chairman was to end on New Year’s Eve – the three-month term that was previously mentioned by the...

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Port Vale: Blue Skies Or Grey Clouds Ahead?

Clucking bell. Again. Remember that “£8m” investment deal between Port Vale and American synthetic pitch manufacturers Blue Sky International (BS).  You do? Well, apparently that puts you one-up on Hank Julicher – who just happens to be BS’s Chief Executive, so really ought to remember, if the deal ever existed in the first place. This week’s Port Vale scandal threatened to be the revelation that chief executive Perry Deakin and chairman Peter Miller had voted for each other in their respective elections to the Vale board, despite not having paid for the shares which carried those voting rights. But this appears to have become a footnote in this chapter of Vale’s history in world record time. The BS investment deal (and never have those initials been more apt) wholly underpinned Vale’s new era. Julicher’s announcement that the deal is dead, and has been for “some time” has, surely, wholly undermined that era.  Julicher’s story is the latest of numerous revelations from the local Sentinel newspaper, which has impressed with its recent exposures of the new, surely-soon-to-be-ex-Vale board. And it could not be more damning. He used some very un-CEO-like language, suggesting he would have had “to be crazy or on drugs” to agree to the multi-million pound deal trumpeted by Vale in September. And “to make my position clear,” he said “Blue Sky hasn’t put any money into Port Vale Football Club...

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Port Vale – (Yet More) Secrets & Lies

I was going to have a quiet weekend. Write some stuff about Everton. Catch up on the latest fun and frolics at Rangers, with Wilfrid Hyde-White’s distant cousin Craig “I have nothing to” Hyde-White. And watch a Gaelic Football match in North-West London. Then a certain well-informed supporters’ web-site in the Staffordshire area suggested 200% “take a look” at their latest postings… and that was that. Clucking bell. Hardly a fortnight passes in Burslem football circles these days without something grim cropping up. Just over a fortnight ago came news that a £150,000 share purchase from potential Port Vale sponsors Blue Sky International (BS) hadn’t actually happened, for “contractual reasons.” And this week came news that a £350,000 share purchase from Vale chief executive Perry Deakin and brand-newly-elected chairman Peter Miller hadn’t actually happened…at all. Oh…and Miller was on £100,000 per annum…plus perks. Amid all the righteous (and plain right) furore that this news inspired, Miller also admitted what fans and former bidders for the club had claimed throughout the last fraught 12 months of Vale’s history – that Vale were on the brink of administration. It says something about fans’ fury at the unethical – and possibly illegal – boardroom behaviour from Deakin and Miller that such headline news didn’t, initially at least, make the headlines. Suspicions had been gathering that Deakin and Miller hadn’t paid for their...

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