Port Vale’s new owners Paul Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite received a standing ovation after a fans forum in which they announced a string of new initiatives.
We want to place the club back in the heart of the area – that’s what the business strategy is all about…
The new owners met around 400 Port Vale fans on Wednesday evening to outline their plans for the club.
Chairman Wildes said that the new owners were extremely keen to make Port Vale into a community club saying: “We’ll be launching a Young Supporters’ club, we’ll re-engage local schools, we’re bringing in an academy and we’re very keen to inspire a generation of people to want to come and support Port Vale.
“We’re not going to be a business that stays within Vale Park and never goes out into the community.
“We’ll offer incentives and we’re talking to the council, trying to find somewhere to house a proper training centre.
“We’re keen to make Port Vale a proper family club, create a family experience down here and we want to place the club back in the heart of the area – that’s what the business strategy is all about.”
Wildes also dismissed suggestions that the club may have to sell players adding: “We don’t have to accept offers for any of our players.
“All of the decisions on players are down to Micky Adams, and we won’t be telling him he’s got to sell, because we don’t have to.
“We’re not in the position where some clubs have to meet the payroll at the end of the month and sell a player for £200,000.
“Historically, that’s what Vale have had to do, but we don’t.”
Instead, Wildes said that manager Micky Adams would be able to bring in new players telling the fans: “Micky won’t want to bring in 10 to 15 players, but he’ll come to us if he wants to with players he’s interested in signing in January and if he does that, we will try to sign them.”
The new owners have already mentioned neighbours Crewe as having a youth production system that Vale could emulate and Wildes told the audience: “We have to be a club synonymous with developing our own footballers and we will do that.
“You can take that as a commitment from us and it’s something we’re keen to have.
“When you talk about Crewe, you think of its development of youth players and we will have that too in maybe five years.
“While we may never pay £5m for a footballer, we should be a club that can produce those players.”
What was said:
A summary of the new owners’ comments
- Planning to complete the Lorne St Stand
- Looking to move club shop into different area
- No hotel to be built on the ground
- Reduced beer prices in Tommy Cheadle’s before every home game
- £165 half season tickets on sale from Saturday
- Will offer season tickets in ways that fans can afford
- £10 reduced admission for the home game against Wimbledon
- New chief scout George Foster appointed
- Re-launching Junior Supporters Club
- Club has recruited a Commercial Director
- Want to provide top-class facilities for first and youth teams
- Committed to youth and developing young talent
- Will work closely with local schools and junior clubs
- Want to put Vale back at the heart of the community
- Don’t need to accept offers for any players
- There will be proper kit launches in the future
- New kit supplier talks underway for 13/14 season
- Future kits will reflect Potteries history
- No plans to bring back the market yet
- Will ensure quality food and beverages in the concourses
- Collection at the Bradford game for the Burslem Regeneration fund to help buy Xmas Lights for Burslem
- Chris Birchall training with the club during the MLS break