The Port Vale Supporters Club have issued a statement which contradicts press reports of a personal donation to the club’s academy by former chairman Bill Bratt.
The presence of Bratt in photographs of improvements to the club’s Academy caused much anger amongst supporters. The local press reported that “former Vale chairman Bill Bratt paid for a new floor in one of the gyms.”
It was portrayed as a ‘personal donation’ to the Academy project, when in fact it was funds already raised a number of years ago…
The idea that Bratt was still involved in the club in some capacity caused much anger among supporters conscious of Bratt’s role in plunging the club into turmoil which resulted in a recent spell in administration. Many fans are still out of pocket for shares in the club purchased while Bratt was in charge.
The Supporters Club statement says that after a “lengthy phonecall” with Chairman Norman Smurthwaite that “prior to the club being put into administration, some fundraising was done for the Academy, by parents of the scholars there and club staff, to help it to run whilst the club was in financial difficulties. This money was put into an account separately from the club and used for exactly that. There was an amount left in that account which has remained there ever since. There were only two signatories on the account, both of whom had to be present to withdraw or spend the money. One of those signatories was Bill Bratt.”
The statement continues: “The Academy approached Mr Bratt to ask if the money could be used to pay for flooring. Mr Bratt agreed, as that was the initial purpose of the funds. This amounted to almost two thousand pounds, which helped the academy immensely.
“Bill Bratt attended this event, wearing his Port Vale tie and seemed more than happy to step into the limelight. However, it was portrayed as a ‘personal donation’ to the Academy project, when in fact it was funds already raised a number of years ago.
“Obviously, the Club did not intend to cause any bad feeling with the fans and none of the Port Vale staff there realised the depth of feeling with supporters regarding Bill Bratt.
“After speaking with Mr Smurthwaite, I have been assured Mr Bratt IS NOT involved in anything to do with Port Vale. He is not involved in any consortium which may or may not be interested in purchasing it and there are no plans to invite Mr Bratt back into the buildings here.”