Mark Porter, chairman of the Port Vale Supporters Club has called owner Norman Smurthwaite a “disgrace” after his extraordinary decision to put the club into administration if an acceptable buyer is not found.
Smurthwaite says the club will be put into administration if a takeover deal cannot be completed by May 5th.
Smurthwaite told BBC Radio Stoke: “I didn’t call this fight. I wasn’t the person or the group of people that said, you know what, ‘you’ve got to go.’
“They didn’t understand, and don’t understand, the implications of what they have done…and they will learn that as time goes by.
“The principal thing for the football club for this season is the club has to trade through to May 5 and it will. I will pay all the bills up to that point. After May 5, I will not put one cent more into the club.
“These ‘peaceful’ demonstrations that have been going on, sadly, from where I have been sitting, and the abuse I have been getting, and the intimidation at my house and so on, hasn’t been peaceful.
“But Black and Gold and Mark Porter have got a result. I will not be the owner of Port Vale on May 5. Period.
“I have empowered Colin to deal with anybody who is in a position to buy the football club and be in situ by May 5 and pass all the required tests.
“If they meet that deadline, great. If they don’t, the club will go into administration and it will suffer a 12-point deduction.
“Now if the fans, if they were so intent to see the supporters were putting a crowd funding page on to get rid of me…they have got rid of me. I am now gone. You are going to need a very big crowd-funding page to cover what is effectively going to be £600,00 in the close season.
“Anyone who has paid on the regular (season-ticket) payment plan will be refunded. There will be creditors to the football club. There will be nobody owed any money on May 5. I will pay them all and that’s it. The club finishes.”
Port Vale Supporters Club chairman Mark Porter responded to Smurthwaite’s remarks by commenting:
“I don’t see how I am to blame, or the supporters. The supporters from Day One have had one thing in common, to protest about the way the club has been run and the direction it has been going. That has been unanimously passed at various meetings.
“We have had meetings with him in the past.
“To hear he is thinking of putting the club into administration when, only a couple of weeks ago, there was a bid for the club in the public eye, is a bit mystifying.
“The bid was put in the public domain and it seemed to be a good bid. There were rumours of other bidders interested and he has even talked about an Asian consortium.
“To say he is not going to sell to them and then to put it into administration, for me, is a bit of a disgrace.”