Vale 'Need A Cuddle'
Those were the words of new CEO Norman Smurthwaite after Alchemy Investment`s takeover over of the club was finally completed yesterday. After arguably the darkest period in the club`s history, long-suffering supporters can now look forward to a brighter future. Following the unveiling of the Sproson Statue on Saturday, the news of the takeover and Vale`s 4-0 win over Bristol Rovers, it has been a special few days for everyone connected with the club. To think back to how close the club came to oblivion, and the damage recent events have done not just to the club but also to the fan base, which has become increasingly disenfranchised and divided. Repairing that will remain the single most important job for messers Wildes and Smurthwaite, but they are at least making an encouraging start to their job. Indeed, Administrator Bob Young now believes that Vale are one of the most financially secure clubs in the lower divisions. Given that the pair have paid for the club with their own money and there remain no outstanding debt or loans that so crippled the concept of V2001`s 'fan-ownership` from the outset.
Speaking to The Sentinel Smurthwaite outlined some of his ideas. "If you don't have any debt, which we won't have, and you don't have any excessive payrolls for people driven by ego, which we won't have, this business can only go one way and that's up. The only ego issue is ensuring I deliver what I believe this business needs. But everything we do here will be for the benefit of the club, and ultimately for the benefit of the team and the supporters.'
"We'll get things right financially here and then the club can only prosper. The infrastructure is already there, it just needs somebody to cuddle it and bring it on. To do something with it, rather than destroy it, as has happened in the past."
With the loan window set to close, Micky Adams will be hoping to bolster his squad before Thursday`s deadline, the most likely additions being a left back and some much needed support up front for Tom Pope. Last night`s hat trick ensured that the striker became the quickest player in the club`s history to 20 goals, breaking the great Wilf Kirkham`s 86 year old record. A new improved contract for Pope will need to be somewhere towards the top of Smurthwaite`s long 'To Do` list.
The new owners look set to hold a fans forum next week, but for now let`s simply be thankful that the good times look set to be on the way back. Up the Vale!
*Back home at last- Roy Sproson*