Land purchase could secure long-term financial future

Land purchase could secure long-term financial future

Rob Fielding thinks that the news that Vale are seeking to add the former Co-Op site could be the most significant move of the summer.

Rob Fielding writes…

The news that Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite is interested in buying the former Co-Op supermarket site next to Vale Park is very welcome.

I feel that this purchase would be a massive step towards Vale achieving economic stability…

In recent months, several of my blog postings have been about the long-term financial future of the club and I feel that this purchase would be a massive step towards Vale achieving economic stability.

Nowadays, most clubs realise that it’s vital to increase their income on the days when football isn’t played. After all, each club will probably only play around twenty home games a year so that leaves another 300-odd days when the club would be earning nothing unless it has a second string of income. Corporate events such as business meetings, weddings and Christmas will help but nowadays most clubs are much more ambitious than this.

If you go to the Ground Developments page on the influential Football Ground Guide website, you will notice a common trend – almost every Football League club engaged in or planning ground improvements is adding property or hotels or commercial premises to their plans.

Just look at these examples  –

•  Oldham Athletic’s new stand – retail space, a gym and conference facilities
•  Northampton Town’s new stand – Hotel and Conference Centre
•  Scunthorpe Utd’s new stadium – Hotel, a gym and other commercial property
•  Brentford’s new stadium – 910 flats and a Hotel
•  Bristol Rovers’ new stadium – flats, gym and ability to host concerts
•  Plymouth Argyle’s new stand – Hotel, cinema and retail space
•  Southend United’s proposed new stadium – to include a Hotel, conference facilities and residential accommodation
•  AFC Wimbledon’s proposed new stadium – 602 flats, local retail space and fitness centre

It’s clear to me that Vale will be missing out financially if the Valiants cannot also bring in some additional revenue streams…

It’s clear to me that Vale will be missing out financially if the Valiants cannot also bring in some additional revenue streams. If we don’t follow this trend, our rivals, with their extra revenue, will be outstripping us in the transfer market.

I would personally welcome the club considering a new stadium (see my blog post on that here) but if that is not possible then purchasing the former Co-Op site is the next best thing.

It would enable the club to maintain and operate the large car park (which could double as a central Burslem car park/potential outdoor market away from match days) and there is room for retail and residential buildings – all of which would bring in rental income to the club. It’s difficult to see any justification for the city council rejecting any proposal that brings more people and jobs to the deprived Burslem area either.

The worst-case situation for me would be if the club lost that space. The ground is already hemmed in by terraced streets and to lose the main car park would further increase the problems of getting to the ground.

So, for me it’s really a no brainer – for the long-term betterment of Port Vale, the purchase of the Co-Op site is a must-have.

It could be Vale’s most important purchase of the summer.