Date:Friday February 22 2013
Vale Chairman Paul Wildes outlined a series of interesting and impressive plans for the club during a phone in on BBC Radio Stoke last night. Following years of neglect and a general lack of initiative from those in charge, Vale`s new owner spoke of his ambitious plans to transform the club over the coming years.
One of those immediate plans is to relay the Vale Park pitch this summer, much to the relief of Head Groundsman Steve Speed. The current clay based surface, which has caused a myriad of problems over the years, will be replaced with a sand based pitch, at the cost of several hundred thousand pounds.
Wildes also stated his desire to complete the Lorne Street stand development, something which has symbolised the club`s stagnation over recent years. The Family Stand will be moved into this area, which will host a number of family friendly activities.
A further welcome development will see the introduction of an online ticketing service, a godsend to those of us who live out of the area. This will aim at giving supporters a greater choice of matches, with the possibility to book groups of games and receive discounts by doing so. The creation of a Vale Superstore, housed at the Hamil Road end of the ground will hopefully see an improvement on the quality and range of merchandising on offer. Three new kits will be available for sale over the summer. A new home kit will go on sale on the 1st June, the away kit on the 1st July and a third kit, which will be Wedgwood Blue in a nod to the history of the club and surrounding area and will feature the names of those fans that choose to have them woven into the fabric. This kit will go on sale on the 1st August.
The club have secured a long-term deal to train at St George`s Park in Burton. Vale will undertake their pre-season training and winter sessions there. However, the long-term plan will be to create 'Vale Lodge`, where the development squad of young players and facilities such as 3G pitches will be housed.
All of which demonstrate the wide-ranging and ambitious business plans of messes Wildes and Smurthwaite. It appears that if the Vale are to fail, it certainly won`t be for the lack of effort or foresight. The Sheffield-born entrepreneur spoke of his view that Vale are a 'Championship club in League Two` and he wanted that to be the attitude of everyone who worked at the club.
One man Wildes appears to be keen to hang on to is manager Micky Adams, who he confirmed had been the subject of interest from several other clubs, but owing to the pair`s good relationship, he would be seeking to tie down Adams and the club`s key players to long-term contracts.
You can hear the full interview here Paul Wildes Interview
Date:Friday February 22 2013
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