Vale takeover nears completion after council agreement

The Sentinel newspaper claims that Keith Ryder’s takeover of Port Vale FC moved another step closer after the potential owner and the city council reached agreement over the so-called “Vale Park covenant”

According to the newspaper, the delay in Ryder’s takeover was due to a dispute over the wording of an agreement regarding what future commercial development could take place at Port Vale’s stadium.

Crucially, the Football League were unwilling to formally ratify Ryder’s bid until this document was sent to them

Rocky road to Ryder

9 March: Vale enter administration
4 April: Keith Ryder is named as the club’s preferred bidder
27 April: The club’s creditors approve Ryder’s bid
30 May: Football League ask for more documents on Ryder’s business plan before the deal can be formalised
21 June: The Football League claim they are still waiting for a response to their 30th May request
22 June: Club administrators and Ryder insist the deal will be completed by the end of June
26 June: Administrator Bob Young says agreement has been reached with the council and documents submitted to the Football League

Administrator Bob Young told the newspaper: Young said: “It was a matter of the wording of the covenant about what can be built at Vale Park.

“Keith had agreed houses won’t be built there, but there was an issue over the future potential for sensible commercial development in relation to the ground.”

Peter Bates, Stoke-on-Trent City Council assistant director of financial services, added: “We have now agreed the principles of a covenant with Mr Ryder.

“It focuses on the need for the primary use of the property to be a football stadium, but also allows the flexibility for ancillary commercial development including retail, leisure and office facilities. This will enable appropriate development to complement and enhance the viability of Vale Park.”

Young also revealed that as a result of the agreement, Ryder had made a new submission to the Football League. He said: “Keith has had to provide proof of the money coming into the club, details of his costings, legal documents, a three-year cashflow plan and profit forecasts. That has all been sent to the League.

“So as far as I know, he has provided everything they have asked for. Now we can hope for a decision within a matter of days.”

According to Young, Ryder’s bid would not have to go before the League board again as Nick Craig, their chief legal officer, had been given delegated powers.

“They have said he can give the go-ahead as soon as everything is in place,” he added, “so it could be any time this week.”

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