£1.5m final bill for Port Vale rescue as new owners pay Stoke-on-Trent City Council £200k
PORT Vale's new owners will pay £200,000 in January to clear the club's debt with the city council.
Council leaders confirmed yesterday they expect total losses of £1.5 million from their involvement in saving the club.
The city council, which was Vale's biggest creditor at the time of the crisis, placed the club into administration in March to help secure its future in the wake of a winding up order for unpaid taxes.
It was owed £1.859 million from a £2.25 million loan deal signed in 2006.
Council leaders say the cost of funding running costs and formal administration was £440,000, which has now been met by new owners Paul Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite.
The authority will receive a total of £360,000 toward its original loan.
One remaining payment of £200,000 is due in January, leaving a total net loss of about £1.5 million. The figures are in line with the authority's previous estimates.
Some residents' groups criticised the council's financial support for the club as its own services faced multi-million pound spending cuts.
But fans say the help proved invaluable and will have wider community benefits.
Council leader Mohammed Pervez said: "We want to see Port Vale succeed. A successful football club brings visitors to the city and Burslem, increasing footfall that supports local businesses and boosts the economy.
"As council leader I took the decision to support Port Vale as much as we could through some of the darkest days in the club's history and at a time when the council was facing unprecedented financial pressures.
"We have been very clear of the financial implications of this decision from the start and the decision was supported by the full council.
"It is important to remember that as well as the £390,000 the council received in payments on its loan to Port Vale in 2006, the club's then-owners also paid £610,000 in interest payments; this is money that has helped to fund the public purse."
Pete Williams, chairman of the Port Vale Supporters' Club, said: "Port Vale supporters will be forever thankful to the city council for what they've done in helping to save the club.
"I feel they've recognised that if the club disappeared we would also be losing people's jobs and an important part of Burslem."
He added: "It would have been a tremendous loss. The importance of the club surviving is not something you can put a price on."