Stoke to buy Vale?

Last updated : 31 January 2003 By Rob Stanway
Port Vale's highest bidder, who has chosen to remain anonymous wishes to sell Vale Park and move the Vale to The Britannia Stadium, which they would then call home - Sharing with Stoke City. This/These bidder(s), are now ALLEGEDLY the Icelandic Owners of Stoke City.

Potters Chairman Gunnar Thor Gislasson hasn't ruled out the possibility of the Icelanders buying the club and it has obviously ran through their heads that it makes sound financial sense. He said: `If someone connected with Stoke City FC is or was involved in a bid to buy Port Vale I am sure they would have insisted the administrator kept all identities confidential until such time as it was clear the bid was successful,' .

`What does not surprise me is that people should be thinking along those lines because of the state of football in England.

`English football is faced with new financial realities and we need some radical thinking to respond to those new realities.

`The financial merits of having only one football ground in Stoke-on-Trent are overwhelming and it makes perfect financial sense for any new owners of Port Vale to sell Vale Park to a property developer and negotiate a ground-share agreement with Stoke City.'

However, a takeover by the same people who own Stoke City would be illegal in the rules of the game and therefore could not happen. Administrator Mr Young said: "Hypothetically, if the Icelandic consortium were the mystery bidder, I have read the regulations of the Football League and wouldn't expect them to comply with their rules."

Steve Ball, one of the bidders of the Vale said: "It is a sorry day for Port Vale and also for Burslem. "The Mother Town may lose its football club which, if this goes ahead, is a hammer blow for the community."

Brian Carter, boss of bidders Summerbank Management, dismissed any Icelandic involvement as a "smoke screen". He said: "The information we have is that the mystery bidder is home-grown and not offshore.

The whole idea has not gone down well with the fans at all with Vale Fans already mourning the death of their club. You have to feel sorry for the Vale when it comes down to this but Stoke fans also won't be happy having to face the possible ground share with the Valiants.

We'll wait and see but its a big gamble for the Icelanders, for whom it is all or nothing.