Port Vale: D-Day for new owners in takeover bid
PAUL Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite are expecting to complete their takeover of Port Vale tomorrow.
The pair are hoping to arrive at the ground for the match against Bristol Rovers with the keys to the club after finalising their £1.25m deal.
• GALLERY: Match Action: Port Vale 2 York City 2
Smurthwaite says he has now been given verbal confirmation of Football League approval and is now just waiting for the all-important 'golden share' to be transferred.
He insists the money has already been lodged with his lawyers and will be paid to the club's administrators tomorrow, once the share has been received.
"We've now had verbal confirmation from the Football League, who have given us the green light as far as they are concerned," he said.
"They said they had done all of their inquiries for the Fit and Proper Persons Test and are happy with everything they've received.
"They told me they'd be in a position to proceed within our time-scale, which is tomorrow, as our exclusivity on the deal runs out the next day."
Smurthwaite, aged 52, said the full purchase funds were now sitting in an account owned by his Leeds-based lawyers waiting to be transferred.
"The lawyers have confirmed the money is there and we'll be travelling up to complete the deal," he added.
"My understanding is the share will be issued to the lawyers and, once that is done, the money will be sent to the administrator's solicitors.
"I'm assuming it could take one or two hours to get everything finalised and we expect to be back in time to watch the match."
Smurthwaite, who'll become chief executive in a more hands-on role in the new set-up than previously thought, said he'd actually been running the club since November 1.
"I've been paying the costs of running the club without actually owning it," he said.
"It's like buying a house. We've exchanged contracts, but haven't yet completed the deal.
"But we committed ourselves to it when we paid our £100,000 deposit to become preferred bidders and never had any intention of backing out.
"It has taken longer than I would have liked, but I'm now confident that we'll be walking down the steps of the car park tomorrow night with the keys to the club.
"It has been frustrating because we could have bought the club two weeks ago.
"The money has been there since we were made preferred bidders.
"The process before you are deemed acceptable to buy it has taken longer that I had thought, and the time constraints will make it difficult for Micky Adams where the loan window is concerned as that closes on Thursday night.
"But to say I'll be delighted when it's all done and dusted is not a strong-enough word.
"This club has got into my blood and I'm now very much up for the exciting challenge of turning it around.
"I'm going to run this club myself and take it back to where it should be.
"I haven't been involved in football before, but I've never failed at anything else and I have a lot of experience in fixing businesses that are broken."
A Football League spokesman said he couldn't confirm a verbal agreement had been made.
"We won't make any formal statement until any deal has been formally completed," he said.
Administrator Bob Young was unavailable for comment.
Smurthwaite was at the ground on Saturday when Vale let slip a two-goal lead for the second time in successive home games.
Goals from Ryan Burge and a Jennison Myrie-Williams penalty gave the home side a half-time advantage, but York hit back to earn a draw through Alex Rodman and Jamie Reed with a late goal.