Despite losing Tom Pope, I’d rather be in Vale’s shoes than Bury’s

Despite losing Tom Pope, I’d rather be in Vale’s shoes than Bury’s

OVF editor Rob Fielding says the Vale’s budget is sustainable while Tom Pope purchasers Bury are engaged in a massive financial gamble.

Rob Fielding writes…

The loss of striker Tom Pope was expected and appeared inevitable but his eventual destination, Bury, did come as something of a surprise to Vale fans.

Looking at Vale’s long-term future, one can understand Norman Smurthwaite’s argument for not breaking the bank with Tom Pope. According to the Vale owner, the striker was on an unsustainable contract which had been offered by previous chairman Paul Wildes and the club simply couldn’t afford to match it.

The Shakers clearly believe that the striker has much to offer in League One and should Pope remain fit, they could be right…

All indications are that Vale intend to purchase young and (relatively) cheap talent this summer in the hope of refining raw youngsters into saleable assets. Pope, at nearly 30, didn’t fit into that bracket and while a fit Tom Pope was undoubtedly an asset to the club, injuries had hit in recent months. Pope was understandably keen on securing the best financial deal for him and his family, so a parting of the ways was inevitable.

However, it turned out that Bury felt differently – the Shakers clearly believe that the striker has much to offer in League One and should Pope remain fit, they could be right. However, the means by which they are funding the moves for Pope and other big names will no doubt alarm Vale fans who have witnessed previous regimes plunge the Valiants into debt.

A Guardian report claims that Bury owner Stewart Day is borrowing £1m, secured on the Gigg Lane ground, at an annual interest rate of 138%. It means that after just one year, the amount owed would be £2.38m. It’s a worrying gamble particularly as Bury could lose their ground if it fails.

A Bury supporters spokesman told the Guardian: “We want a successful club but based on sustainable spending. We are worried that the spending appears to be from money borrowed against the ground, at very high cost. There is a lack of transparency and accountability which would give us assurance about this.”

Despite the loss of the club’s top scorer, I would rather be budgeting sensibly than gambling it all on the club’s ground…

A proportion of Vale fans are concerned about the cuts to the playing budget this year and wonder if the club will be able to compete successfully on the pitch.

However, I would argue that after witnessing the turmoil of two administrations with the Valiants, it is crucial that football clubs are run in a sustainable way. Despite the loss of the club’s top scorer, I would rather be budgeting sensibly, like the Valiants, than gambling it all on the club’s ground, as Bury appear to be doing.