Vale captain Tom Pope concerned by owner Norman Smurthwaite’s administration threat

Striker and club captain Tom Pope says that owner Norman Smurthwaite’s threat to put the club into administration “raises all sorts of concerns” and his “worry is for the club itself.”

Owner Smurthwaite responded to fans’ protests against his running of the club by saying he would put the club into administration if a buyer is not found by May 5th.

The owner’s warning that he could put the club into administration raises all sorts of concerns…

Pope told the Sentinel that: “Let me get this clear to start with, the owner pays our wages and, as captain of the club, I don’t think it would be right for me to go beating his door down or slagging him off.

“But that doesn’t mean I am not worried, because of course I am.

“The owner’s warning that he could put the club into administration raises all sorts of concerns, including what sort of future does the club have?

“So, my worry is for the club itself, the Port Vale that my grandad spent 80 years supporting from the terraces and thousands of other fans have followed for all their lives.

“Chairmen, players and managers come and go but the club itself – The FA Cup semi-final, Wembley appearances, promotions, celebrations and heartache – are represented in over 100 years of history – and that shouldn’t be under threat.

“The situation at the moment – will we be in administration or not at the end of the season? – is a shambles.

“As I see it, the owner has two choices, and I hope he sees it this way as well.

“He either stays, says he is going to try to win the fans back, get behind the manager and help turn the club around or he sells it to someone like Kevin and Carol Shanahan.

“I am not a businessman, but if the figures we have seen are right and the club is losing money and is a failing business, and you have an offer to get most of that money back and cut your losses, then why wouldn’t you sell and let someone else have a go?

“My concern at the moment isn’t that the club will fold but that we could drift into non-league and the next 10-15 or 20 years of our history could be spent trying to get back.

“I just can’t for the life of me see what the owner would get out of putting the club into administration in the summer.”

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