The planned Paladini take-over

Back in 2003, Gianni Paladini was linked with a Vale takeover. Here is how we reported it at the time…

Deadline Day Set

Posted on Wed, 10 December 2003

Port Vale FC’s board have set a deadline of the 12th December for potential bidders to make an offer for a controlling stake in the football club.

Port Vale FC’s board have set a deadline of the 12th December for potential bidders to make an offer for a controlling stake in the football club.

In an announcement on the official Port Vale website, the board have also reiterated that only offers that guarantee the club’s long-term security and progress will be accepted.

Meanwhile, there has been an excellent take up of the club’s appeal to buy shares.

In just two days, £40,000 worth of shares have been purchased. If another £100,000 could be raised before Christmas then the club’s finances should be stabilised.

Supporters can purchase shares for just £5 each. Fans can contact the club on 01782 655800 and ask for Chairman Bill Bratt.

Fifth Bidder Enters Frame

Posted on Mon, 15 December 2003

A last-minute bidder has entered the race to become the next owner of the football club reports BBC Radio Stoke. The club now has five parties battling to become the majority shareholder at Vale Park.

A last-minute bidder has entered the race to become the next owner of the football club reports BBC Radio Stoke. The club now has five parties battling to become the majority shareholder at Vale Park.

Vale shareholders are due to meet on Monday night at 7.45pm to discuss the five bids which are believed to be from:

Smith and Bhutia: A joint bid which is believed to have found favour with Vice Chairman Charles Machin

Woodford Group: Have given no comment on any connection to purchasing the club

Vantis Group: A London group formed from four accountancy and specialist groups. The sports wing is believed to specialise in helping ailing sports team to recover

Fan Bid: A bid is believed to have been received from a Port Vale supporter although this is not believed to be a celebrity fan

Mystery Bid: A last-gasp bid from a foreign investor but this is not believed to be anything connected with the controversial Stoke Holdings group

Out of our hands

Posted on Mon, 22 December 2003

Efforts to allow Vale supporters to own a controlling stake in Port Vale have failed – says Chairman Bill Bratt.

A crucial Monday evening board meeting will now determine the future of the club.

Bratt told the waiting media: “The fans have come forward with some cash – but it’s not enough. The situation now is that there’s an offer in the pipeline through Charles Machin that we’ll be considering at the board meeting on Monday night.

“The door is always open for the fans, though. We’ve always said it’s preferable for the fans to own their own club, to keep it away from any one man who can do what he likes when he has over 50 per cent control.”

The Italian Job?

Posted on Tue, 23 December 2003

Unconfirmed reports suggest that Port Vale’s new owners will be confirmed as football agent Gianni Paladini. It is understood that the Italian will take a majority shareholding in the club.

Me Paladini says that he has agreed a deal with the board to purchase a majority of the unsold shares.

Mr Paladini’s son Stephen, who is a Vale fan, will be providing most of the money to purchase the shares.

Paladini has represented Premiership stars such as Juninho and Fabrizio Ravenelli in the past.

Paladini told BBC Radio Stoke: “You need the money to buy the players to steady the team. We want to go up into the First Division if it is possible.”

He says that if the deal is agreed, he will do his best to ensure that the club is successful.

Machin: Vale Face Extinction

Posted on Sat, 27 December 2003

It could be interpreted as a real crisis, scare-mongering, publicity seeking or just an attempt to force through the Paladini deal – but Vice Chairman Charles Machin has told local radio that Vale could cease to exist if a contract is not agreed with the Italian football agent.

Vale Vice-chairman Charles Machin told BBC Radio Stoke that the club could cease to exist if a deal with prospective new owner Gianni Paladini is not concluded by Monday.

The Vale board recently voted unanimously to accept the bid of £530,000 from Paladini to take a majority stake in the club, but according to press reports, the deal has not yet been signed.

Doubts remain over Paladini deal

Posted on Mon, 29 December 2003

While Charles Machin may bombard the media with reports that the club is on its last legs and the Paladini deal is the only option, Chairman Bill Bratt has expressed reservations about the Italian Agent taking a controlling share in the club.

Machin has been deluging the media and in particular the Evening Sentinel, with statements regarding the Paladini offer.

According to Machin, who judging by the crowd reaction on Sunday has alienated a section of the supporters, the club is literally on its last legs and the Paladini offer represents the only valid option for the club to stay in existence. If Paladini did take over the club, it is understood that Machin would remain in his current role as Vice-Chairman.

Machin has been covered particularly extensively in the Evening Sentinel newspaper. Last week, the same newspaper revealed the name of Bill Bratt’s preferred ‘mystery fan’ bidder, effectively scuppering the Chairman’s own preferred option for a controlling stake in the club.

The Staffordshire Sentinel claims that the Paladini deal would see the Italian Football Agent pledging an initial £150,000 with first option on a further controlling stake of £380,000 worth of shares. The deal would take an estimated six weeks to complete.

However, other board members have problems with the terms of the £150,000 cash injection and Chairman Bill Bratt still has strong reservations about the deal.

Bratt told the Sentinel: “I have big worries about handing over this controlling stake. We will be helpless. I just want Port Vale to remain in Burslem and for the fans not to be let down.”

Club Statement

Posted on Mon, 29 December 2003

A club statement has confirmed that an investment from a consortium led by lifelong fan Peter Jackson has been accepted by the board of directors.

(this statement was originally released on the official Port Vale website –

Port Vale’s board of directors today voted to accept an investment from a consortium led by life-long supporter Peter Jackson.

The consortium will today buy 30,000 shares in the club at £5 per share – giving a cash injection of £150,000, which will immediately stabilise the finances in the club.

The consortium has also taken an option to buy the remaining unallocated shares – but is happy to have a minority shareholding. In addition, sufficient funding will be made available to service the club’s medium term needs.

As part of the deal, the consortium will have two seats on the board.

Chairman Bill Bratt said: “This investment by a consortium of die-hard Vale supporters ensures the future of the club.

“Their willingness to accept a minority shareholding is also in keeping with the original ideal of Valiant 2001 that the majority shareholding of the club be owned by Vale supporters. I believe the best decision has been made for the club and its supporters.

“We now have a solid foundation on which to build for the future and achieve our aim in progressing Port Vale both on and off the field. We will be working to get the Football League transfer embargo lifted as soon as possible.”

The board met for six hours to carefully consider the option which also included a takeover bid by Italian soccer agent Gianni Paladini.

Bill added: “We have thanked Mr Paladini for his interest in Port Vale and have parted on the best of terms. He is welcome to visit Vale Park whenever he wishes.”

Peter Jackson said he was delighted that Bill Bratt had agreed to stay on as chairman.

Peter – who has supported Vale for 55 years – said: “Bill has done a tremendous job and I believe our investment will help him finish the work he has started.

“We believe the club has great potential and we are confident we can introduce the right business management to enable the club realise that potential.”

Machin ‘Considering Future’

Posted on Wed, 31 December 2003

Controversial Vice-Chairman Charles Machin has revealed to his favourite newspaper – the Staffordshire Sentinel – that he is considering his position on the Port Vale board.

Machin has supported a takeover bid by Italian football agent Gianni Paladini, but that was rejected in favour of a minority shares undertaking by a fans consortium led by Peter Jackson.

The Sentinel once again appears to be favourable in its support of Machin saying:

In fairness to Machin, the founder of Valiant 2001, he was undoubtedly sincere when he said: “I am happy that Port Vale is secure, as the chairman said. That is what I wanted.”

However, he is considering his future, and it seems he may not still be on the board when Jackson begins his quest to restore the club’s fortunes.

Walker: ‘Smoke and Mirrors’

Posted on Wed, 31 December 2003

Former Port Vale Chief Executive Peter Walker has praised the club for accepting a fans-based consortium’s offer. Walker has been scathing in his dismissal of the Paladini bid, telling local press that it smacked of ‘desperation.’

Walker told the Staffordshire Sentinel that the Jackson deal was ‘the right decision.’

He added that Jackson was: ‘genuine and honest and a Port Vale fan for more than 40 years.’

The Stone-based Vale fan was dismissive of the offer by football agent Gianni Paladini saying: ‘I was very concerned about the other bid. I have heard of these things before and they are all smoke and mirrors.

‘There was no evidence of serious money and, to me, it was typical of a Vantis-based deal in their desperation to get into football.’

Vale: Paladini ‘Moved the Goalposts’

Posted on Fri, 02 January 2004

A further statement on the official Port Vale website reveals that Gianni Paladini dramatically reduced his offer after believing he was the only bidder for the club.

The statement reads:

Paladini Moved The Goalposts On Vale Bid
Port Vale have revealed that Italian soccer agent Gianni Paladini and his advisors dramatically moved the goalposts at the eleventh hour during their bid to take control of the club.

The Paladini group changed their bid on Christmas Eve, and then further diluted the offer at the Board meeting on Monday, thinking they were the only bidders for the club.

Only when Paladini and his advisors were made aware of the Peter Jackson consortium bid did they revert to an offer to match it, in some respects.

Chairman Bill Bratt said: “Directors considered the diluted bid to be totally unacceptable, and we believed, on the basis of legal advice, that it could have led the club back into administration, with disastrous consequences.

“Even though the Paladini group then restored their original offer, so as to match Peter Jackson’s immediate share investment, against the background of the day’s events the majority of the directors considered the long-standing Vale supporter’s bid to be the better for the club.

“Like most supporters, when we first heard of Mr Paladini’s claims that he would bring star players to Vale we were excited and immediately set about talks

“However, the cold reality was that the Paladini bid was significantly diluted before Christmas. It was vital that we worked quickly to find an alternative bid

“Peter Jackson came to the club’s rescue on a day when the future of Port Vale was in jeopardy. In my opinion, it was a very good job he did.”

Sentinel: Jackson ‘Saved Vale’

Posted on Sat, 03 January 2004

The Staffordshire Sentinel reports in an exclusive that Vale investor Peter Jackson helped Valiant 2001 in their efforts to purchase the club after according to Jackson: “Charles Machin announced he wouldn’t sign guarantees for the deferred consideration of £250,000.”

Jackson told the Sentinel that: “I was heavily involved in the acquisition with Bill Bratt and Charles Machin. We got to a pretty sensitive point and Charles Machin announced he wouldn’t sign guarantees for the deferred consideration of £250,000.”

Administrator Bob Young also agrees with Jackson’s view of events saying: “Mr Machin was going to stand as guarantor, but decided not to. I think that is when Peter Jackson stood in.”

However, Charles Machin told the Sentinel that: “I had such a bad relationship with Bob Young I though if anything happened the first person he would go for would be me. I also said I thought we were in over the top and we were taking too many big risks.”

It is understood that Peter Jackson also helped to secure majority shareholder Bill Bell’s vote for Valiant 2001 with a deal secured through Bell’s solicitors. Norman Tizley, Bell’s solicitor has confirmed to the Sentinel that an approach came from Jackson.

Jackson told the Sentinel that he had verbally cleared the Bell deal with Mr Machin – but Machin denies this and says he rang Bell’s solicitors to tell them it was unacceptable.

Machin, Wakefield Asked to Resign

Posted on Wed, 14 January 2004

According to reports on BBC Radio Stoke, ten of the club’s largest shareholders have sent letters to Vice Chairman Charles Machin and director Geoff Wakefield asking them to resign their positions on the board.

An alleged board split took place several weeks ago with five directors of the Vale board backing a minority stake in the club by lifelong fan Peter Jackson, and keeping the club in the ‘hands of supporters.’ Machin and Wakefield voted for handing a majority, controlling shareholding to Gianni Paladini.

Vale fans will be well aware of the controversy caused by Machin and Wakefield’s support of the Gianni Paladin bid and in particular Mr Machin’s controversial use of local media and a supporters’ meeting to put forward his case for the Italian football agent’s bid.

According to Radio Stoke, shareholders holding 58% of the shares in the club have agreed to send the letters asking for the duo to resign.

According to Valiant 2001’s constitution, if a sufficently large percentage of shareholders wish to table a proposal then an EGM has to be called for shareholders to vote on the issue.

It is therefore expected that if Machin and Wakefield do not resign voluntarily then an EGM of shareholders will take place in the next 28 days to decide the duo’s fate on the board.

If 51% of shareholders vote the duo off the board, then the motion will be carried.

Jackson and Meigh Voted In

Posted on Wed, 17 March 2004

In an Extraordinary General Meeting held at Vale Park, shareholders overwhelmingly voted for Peter Jackson and Stan Meigh to be elected onto the Port Vale board.

Controversial directors Charles Machin and Geoff Wakefield were also voted off the board.

Shareholders present at the meeting voted both Jackson and Meigh onto the board by a large majority.

Jackson, described by former club administrator Bob Young as “totally committed” had along with Stan Meigh had their investment offer accepted by a majority of the club’s directors on the 29th December 2003.

The planned Paladini take-over
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