Norman Smurthwaite has said he will not “continue to pump in the money that I am pumping in” after the club published its annual accounts.
The club accounts were published at Companies House and reveal that £2,549,579 is owed by the club to the chairman as a director’s loan.
A note on the account reads: “Within creditors is an amount of £2,549,579 owed to Mr Smurthwaite, on director’s loan account. The company continues to pay its debts as and when they fall due. The company continues to receive the support of its director by way of him not withdrawing monies owed to him and the introduction of funds as and when necessary.”
Smurthwaite told BBC Radio Stoke that he would not continue to plough money into the club. He commented: “This is my third term of putting nearly £1m in each year and we are going nowhere, so clearly something is wrong.
“I will not continue to pump in the money that I am pumping in. It was never my plan to be in this chair in the first place anyway, it is definitely not to have £1m a year going into the football club, as much as I love the place. It is not good for anybody including the club.”
“This is my fourth term now and the gates are going down. They are less now than they were three seasons ago. There is something wrong. It would appear that fighting for promotion in League Two has a greater appetite for people than being mid-table in League One.”
Smurthwaite also said he would not look for a business partner adding: “I am a control freak. If I am going to spend my money I will spend it the way I want to, not somebody else spending it for me. So there will be no other shareholders involved, unless it is family members.”
He also insisted that the club should remain in Burslem despite some fans calling for the club to explore the possibility of a new ground. Smurthwaite explained: “People tell me I should move, go and spend £20m and put us on the fringe of a ring road. It sits within the community and is the glue of the community and I honestly believe if you took it out of Burslem then Burslem would die completely.”