Vale Park entrance

Smurthwaite in talks with buyer who want to buy the club while he owns the ground

Smurthwaite in talks with buyer who want to buy the club while he owns the ground

Owner Norman Smurthwaite has told BBC Radio Stoke that he will enter talks with a potential buyer of the club.

However, the potential new owners want to purchase just the footballing side of the club initially with Smurthwaite maintaining control of the ground.

We have a situation at the moment that we may be going into exclusivity on Friday…

Smurthwaite told BBC Radio Stoke: “We have a situation at the moment that we may be going into exclusivity on Friday… [with buyers] who are looking to buy the football club with the option to buy the stadium in a five-year fixed price arrangement.

Smurthwaite reiterated that the potential deal splitting club and stadium “isn’t the right thing to do” and offered to stay and instead get more involved with the day-to-day running of the club if fans backed him.

He added: “They don’t wish to take on finance, which I understand, to buy the stadium, but are prepared to look at an option – no different to what I have looked at with other people – where they would have an option to buy the stadium at a fixed price and be given a five-year period to buy it, but they would pay a rent in the interim period.

“So, they are in a situation where they would like to buy the football club. The stumbling block for them was that my view is that season-ticket money is not the club’s to spend so it cannot be touched until August 1.

“They feel nervous, exposed and maybe vulnerable financially to fund that £820,000 shortfall from May 7 to July 31.

“If they tick all the boxes and it is felt they can take the club forward better than I can then I think it is wrong that I shouldn’t engage with them.”

He said he can’t disclose the identity of the potential buyers but said they are not Synectics Solutions, who made a bid for the Valiants last year.

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