Port Vale bidder asks city council for loan
THE businessman poised to buy Port Vale has asked Stoke-on-Trent City Council for another loan, it has emerged.
Entrepreneur Keith Ryder's £1.4 million purchase of the club includes an £800,000 payment to the council for its rights to the Vale Park freehold.
But The Sentinel has learned the deal would involve the city council receiving only £250,000 now, effectively loaning Mr Ryder, above, the rest of the cash – potentially over 11 years.
Ruling Labour members will meet in private tonight to decide whether the council should support Mr Ryder's bid. Creditors will vote on the takeover on Thursday.
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Sources have confirmed the council has been in negotiations to secure better terms ahead of a final decision.
Mr Ryder is understood to be attempting to raise as much up-front cash as possible to try to reduce the £550,000 shortfall figure ahead of schedule.
Administrator Begbies Traynor have also asked the Professional Footballers' Association to cover the cost of players' wages for the next month to ease the burden on taxpayers.
The council placed Vale in administration as the club's biggest creditor over a £1.85 million debt dating back to a 2006 loan. It is also funding administration and club running costs.
Council leader Mohammed Pervez said the council could lose up to £1.4 million in total.
But administrators insist the figure will be lower and the city council will get back the £200,000 paid so far for running costs and administration.
Administrator Bob Young, below, said: "It is the best possible deal. It will see the return of the £200,000 the council has put in for running costs and it will ensure a decent return on capital – either immediately or in the fullness of time.
"We have already orchestrated a meeting between the club and Keith Ryder to talk about greater community use of Vale Park.
"It is the best return for taxpayers and in saving the club."
The city council stepped in to save Vale and protect the money it is owed after the club faced a winding up petition from HM Revenue and Customs, over an unpaid bill of almost £190,000.
Mr Ryder's bid is described by administrators as the "biggest and best" of five received and fans gave their endorsement last week.
But any decision by the city council to authorise another loan could prove politically contentious against a backdrop of huge losses resulting from the original deal.
Labour, who hold 34 of 44 council seats, will have their decision confirmed at a full council meeting including Conservative and independent councillors on Wednesday.
Mr Pervez said: "I'm not in a position to comment on the structure of the preferred bid as the discussions are still continuing.
"A special meeting of the full council will take place to talk through the details. It is important elected members make an informed decision."