Wildes: 'I'll Prove Myself'
Those were the words of Paul Wildes who was this afternoon officially named by Begbies-Traynor as their new preferred bidder. Following the collapse of Lancashire based businessman Keith Ryder`s takeover, supporters remain somewhere between sceptical and cautiously optimistic at the latest developments. After previously re-assuring supporters that he has no connection with any former directors, or Ryder himself, Wildes briefly outlined some of his plans for the club after agreeing heads of terms with the administrators and paying a non-refundable deposit of £100,000.
Wildes stated it was the land surrounding the ground and the opportunities to improve the club`s commercial arm that initially attracted him to the club. The 36 year old had attempted to take control at Darlington earlier in the year and has been actively seeking to purchase a football club. There is little doubt that over recent years scant regard has been paid to opportunities to develop this aspect of the club and Wildes recognises that there are opportunities to implement these long-term 'normal business practices` at the club. Crucially, he was aware that supporters 'had been here before`, and pledged that his actions would speak louder than words, and whether or not fans agreed with his decisions, they would always been made in the best interests of the club. Given that he is purchasing a club that is effectively debt free and with no short term cash flow problems, this allows him and his team to implement these ideas over a period of time, hinting that there will be no huge, sweeping changes.
In an earlier interview with The Sentinel, Wildes stated: "We'll make initial investments, both in the business itself and the team, and try to drive up the value of the company, and that's a recipe for success in itself.
"We will own the stadium and we'll be debt-free, but we won't be pouring money into a black hole. We'll invest wisely, make sound commercial decisions and take long-term views.
"Over time, we hope supporters will see the benefits."
Crucially for players, Wildes who will be assisted by his business partner Norman Smurthwaite, has pledged to honour the initial contracts signed by the players back in August. While the deal is yet to be ratified by the Football League, and supporters will be keen for Vale`s new owner to make good on his words, the end of a truly miserable period in the club`s off field history appears to be coming to an end.