Port Vale: Paul Wildes vows to bring Championship football back to Burslem
PAUL Wildes has vowed to deliver on his promises to build a bright future for Port Vale.
On the day his £1.25m bid to buy the club was endorsed by Vale's administrators, the 36-year-old businessman revealed plans to build a sustainable community club with ambitions to bring Championship football back to Burslem.
But while his first public pronouncements on his vision for the club will encourage fans frustrated by years of unfilled promises, his ambitions were sufficiently realistic to help curb expectations.
So for every promise to invest in Micky Adams's League Two promotion-chasers, Wildes made it clear there would have to be a return on the pitch.
Similarly, while he is ready to inject cash and expertise into the commercial side of the club, he will be expecting a dividend.
Addressing the media at Vale Park yesterday, he said: "I've been very impressed with what's been happening on the field, and even more impressed by the potential of the stadium, the land and buildings surrounding it and the commercial activities that could be brought to Vale Park.
"They are the reasons why I'm so excited by this project. The whole club has massive untapped potential and our job will be to help it grow."
The administrators said Wildes had only revealed his interest in the club two weeks ago, but since then had done everything asked of him, including the payment of a £100,000 non-returnable deposit to ensure exclusivity while he awaits ratification of his deal by the Football League.
He added: "We're coming to a club which will have no debts and which will own its ground, which is relatively unique up and down the footballing world," he added.
"We're coming to it with ideas on how we can develop the off-field activities around the club to make the commercial venture a success over a number of years.
"We'll make decisions for the long-term benefit of the club, even though that might mean the payback is years, rather than months, away.
"But it's exciting to be here and I can't wait to get started."
Initially he intends to be a hands-on chairman based at the club full time, starting from this Monday.
And one of his first aims is to transfer a training company he already owns to Vale Park to help fulfil a pledge on community links given to Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Wildes has big plans for the team too.
"I don't want to put pressure on Micky Adams, but the club has the potential to be in the Championship because that's where its been in the past.
"I'm not saying Port Vale will be in the Champions League in six years.
"But we'll take the team as far as we can, in fact we'll try our hardest to be the best we can be on and off the field.
"But before then we've got to make the club a sustainable business.
"In five or 10 years' time, hopefully I'll still be around and the club will be in a better place than it is now."
Wildes, who lives in Chester, said he was conscious of fans being wary of him after the failure of previous preferred bidder Keith Ryder to complete his deal.
"Actions speak louder than words, and as soon as we can complete, we will," he added.
"We'll then start the work on bringing the club to where it needs to be.
"Give me time and I'll prove myself. The fans will see that I'll do what I said I'd do."
It was also revealed yesterday that the players who penned two-year contracts in the summer will revert to their original deals when the takeover is complete.
All were asked to sign revised one-year contracts when the club started the season in administration.