Tag: Port Vale

Port Vale… Not Again?

Yes, again. Last month, I started what I hoped was an epilogue to Port Vale’s takeover saga. Then Plymouth Argyle’s concluding fortunes took priority and Vale took their place lower down the article queue. But not before I wrote the following: So, farewell, then, internal strife at Port Vale. For now, anyway. As, hopefully, predicted in these pages recently, the Burslem-based League Two promotion contenders don’t have off-field bickering to contend with any more, at least not in an organised sense. Elections and appointments to Vale’s new-look board – only one remaining member from the eight in charge of the club in 2010 – have been completed, with, some might consider, surprising haste. All-but-one of the long-campaigned-for resignations has now physically happened. Two of the three long-campaigning groups have issued “ceasefires.” The first part of renovation work at Vale Park, promised as part of the multi-million pound investment deal which has sparked recent progress, has begun. And the team are in the promotion play-off positions at the time of writing. At this point in most articles about club finances, there’s usually a rhetorical question along the lines of “what could possibly go wrong?” or some smart-alec comment about a bright future, followed by three dots and an ‘er.’ In this article about Vale there is very nearly no need for all that nonsense. After all, what could possibly go...

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Port Vale – Bullet The Blue Sky

After months of turmoil – preceded by years of worry and struggle – Port Vale’s tale could be nearing a happy ending, provided the right protagonists hold their nerve and the decision-makers do something like ‘the right thing.’ When last we were in Burslem, boardroom changes were afoot, with the prospect of two new directors, both popular with supporters campaigning for boardroom personnel changes. A feisty EGM on July 1st had produced some cock-eyed poll results. The ‘old’ board lost a vote of no confidence yet three of them, including humungously-contentious former chairman Bill Bratt, were narrowly re-elected thanks to the vagaries of shareholder ‘democracy.’  However, fans’ favourite candidate, local businessman and long-time Vale sponsor Mark Sims was also elected. But he refused to take his seat until he got a detailed “look” at Vale’s “books” and all the old board – re-elected or not – resigned. Fans’ group North London Valiants (NLV), who had called the EGM, were also invited to nominate a director. And with post-EGM ‘interim’ chairman Mike Lloyd and recently-appointed CEO Perry Deakin making genuine-sounding conciliatory noises, a new era appeared to beckon. Vale being Vale, however, the route has been the dictionary definition of circuitous and mistrust has remained rampant, at least in some quarters.  Neither Sims nor NLV’s nominee, their chairman Malcolm Hirst, became directors. Both chose not to because their similar pre-requisite...

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The Culture Of Mistrust At Port Vale

This weekend, Port Vale’s board are due to publish answers to 141(141!) questions from fans about a proposed multi-million pound investment by American ‘sports construction’ firm ‘Blue Sky International.’ A full Vale article on this site will follow that publication. But there was a Vale vignette this week, demonstrating the mistrust which pervades the club and looks likely to do so for a while yet, whatever the investment. At first glance, it was a strong show of faith. Vale CEO Perry Deakin and acting chairman Mike Lloyd returned from an August trip to America busting to tell everyone what they did on their summer holidays. Vale needed investment. The board claimed they were looking for it. And Lloyd and Deakin believed they’d found it – “strings-attached” direct and indirect investment which could add up to £8m in a certain light. This investment arrived ahead of schedule – due by the thirtieth of September, outlined in a press release dated the thirteenth of September. Deakin was particularly pleased. So, on the twenty-first of September, he announced his candidacy for a seat on Vale’s board and a personal £100,000 investment into the club. And there was a bonus. Reviled former chairman, CEO and current director Bill Bratt had given written pledges to resign from the board completely, something for which Vale fans had long-campaigned, once the Blue Sky (BSI) investment was confirmed. Bratt’s...

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Port Vale: A Light At The End Of The Tunnel?

Next up in our brief series on summer take-overs, Mark Murphy has an update from Port Vale. Port Vale have a functioning, constitutionally sound, a recently-elected board of directors, a six-figure investment deal (seven-figure, if you include various forms of sponsorship) on the table and a recently-appointed manager who masterminded a strong League Two promotion challenge before being lured away to his home-town club midway through last season. What could be better? Plenty, naturally. This is Port Vale. Since our last Valiants update, events have taken numerous twists. And the determination to ignore the results of the June 1st EGM’s board elections remained strong for much of the time. Indeed, if there was an equivalent determination to forget politics for a bit and focus on the team, Vale would have promotion clinched by Easter. The biggest twist is that the remnants of the Vale board which survived the EGM, plus recently-appointed Chief Executive Perry Deakin, have taken a more confident public stance – aided by some ill-advised public comments from director-elect Mark Sims and, for the first time, some misjudgements by supporters group North London Valiants (NLV). Meanwhile, local entrepreneur Mo Chaudry, whose bid for control of Vale via a 51% shareholding has caused all the 2011 in-fighting, managed to shut up for a bit, before thinking out (very) loud about the prospects of overturning the EGM results through...

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Port Vale’s Harsh Lesson In Realpolitik

“Even if the voting is clear on June 1st, Port Vale’s future remains anything but”, was where we left Vale’s ownership soap opera last month. But the voting on June 1st – at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of Vale shareholders – was as clear as a very foggy day in Fogsville. And even FIFA’s Sepp Blatter, machinating furiously at the same time, might have glanced at the goings-on in Burslem and thought: “Blimey, that’s a bit much”. For six months, Vale’s board has been fighting what it views as a hostile takeover bid from local businessman and erstwhile Channel 4 ‘Secret Millionaire’ Mo Chaudry. Few non-board members felt any hostility to Chaudry’s offer to buy a controlling 51% stake with investment as vital at Vale as anywhere in the Football League’s cash-strapped lower divisions. Despite this, as reported previously, the battle got nasty and complex. But thanks to a level-headed approach from supporters group the ‘North London Valiants'(NLV), all issues were set for resolution at the EGM, which would vote out the board and clear a regulatory path for Chaudry’s takeover. Or so we thought. Unfortunately, the GM proved all-too ‘E.’ And the club is now struggling to staff a board to prepare for the new season. The EGM has now been filed in the “seemed like a good idea at the time” column. Many educated observers (and...

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