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THE SENTINEL Wednesday March 7, 2012

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Davis apologises for Alex display Pages 48 & 49

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City Council leader Pervez says it’s time to get behind Port Vale Kemp hopes Torres fails to find his goal touch

RALLYING CALL FANS turned out to support their stricken club last night after Stoke-on-Trent City Council applied to the High Court to put Port Vale into administration. Just a few hours after the hearing in Birmingham, 5,197 supporters watched the Valiants beat local rivals Burton Albion 3-0 at Vale Park. Among the spectators was the leader of the Labour-run city council, Mohammed Pervez, pictured below, who warned that the future of the club was still far from certain. He said: “The stark choice we faced was liquidation or administration. Liquidation would have meant the immediate end to Port Vale FC and 130 years of history. “Throughout this process we have always kept our focus on protecting the public purse while trying to safeguard the future of Port Vale. “We need to make it clear we’ve opened a window of opportunity, but we will still need to find an investor who is able offer a viable and sustainable future for the club. “Without this, liquidation could well be on the table again. “The administrator will talk to potential investors and they will make a recommendation. “The council does have a veto and depending on what options are brought forward will determine whether we use that power. “The club is in a time of need and I would ask fans, local communities and businesses in the city to rally round.” Vale are believed to have debts of up to £4m, including the £1.8m balance of a £2.25m city council loan and an unpaid tax bill of up to £140,000 for which they face a winding-up petition from HM Revenue and Customs. ISSN 1746-7063

PORT VALE by Alex Campbell

The High Court heard a city council application to appoint Bob Young, Steve Currie and Gerald Krasner of Begbies Traynor as joint administrators from Friday. The authority has agreed to pay £500,000 to cover the club’s running costs, including players’ wages, for the next three months. It will also pay for the cost of administration, understood to be around £100,000. But administration will give the city council, Vale’s biggest creditor, a much better chance of being repaid its £1.8m. Young, who was also joint administrator when Vale were in a similar situation in 2002, said: “Our first priority is to look at every aspect of the operation in order to stabilise the business and allow the club to remain trading until at least the end of the season. “This can only be done by reducing all outgoings until they are covered by the income generated by the club. “Once stabilising the business has been completed, we will be looking to initiate conversations with potential buyers, and hope this process will deliver an offer that can be considered by the creditors of the company. “During the course of our duties, we will establish the underlying reasons for the failure of the business, and will investigate any matters that are brought to our attention.” The application means all income generated, including gate receipts from last night’s game, will go toward the club’s survival. However, once administration is confirmed the club will suffer a 10-point Football League penalty, effectively ending their promotion hopes.

LIGHT RELIEF: Louis Dodds, right, is congratulated by Tom Pope after scoring the second goal in Port Vale’s 3-0 win over Burton last night. Match report: Pages 50 & 51. Picture: Shaun Smith Vale’s remaining board members – Mike Lloyd, Perry Deakin and Glenn Oliver – will also relinquish control of the club. The city council, which is in the midst of making cuts of £24m in its 2012/13 budget, is pressing for a clause in any deal to sell the club which would require the new owners

to pay back the bailout funds immediately and in full. It is also considering legal guarantees to ensure Vale Park is not sold off or used for anything other than football by any new owners. It is understood it will explore the possibility of a lease which would transfer the ground to council ownership should

attempts be made to use it for anything other than football. Supporters’ Club chairman Pete Williams said last night: “We thank the city council for their help. We will support the administrators by requesting our members get through the gates and do as much fundraising as possible to get through this difficult time.”

Pole-vaulter Lewis on the up as challenges beckon – Page 44

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STOKE City assistant manager Dave Kemp has tempted fate ahead of the Potters’ trip to Chelsea on Saturday by confessing he feels sorry for £50m flop Fernando Torres. The Spanish striker will go into the game without a goal in his last 16 Premier League outings for the Blues. And Kemp, who joined boss Tony Pulis to watch Torres and Co in last night’s FA Cup fifth-round replay at Birmingham City, said: “Of course you feel sorry for someone like that, but not so sorry that I want him to do well against us. I hope he has a stinker. HIT AND MISS: Chelsea striker Fernando Torres has been having a lean time in front of goal since joining from Liverpool.

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“People go on about his bad form with Chelsea, but you have to remember he wasn’t having a good time at Liverpool for a long time before that. “I think everybody was surprised he moved for that amount of money when he joined Chelsea for £50m last year, but he is a talented player... so his form could change in a heartbeat.” Kemp, a striker himself during his playing days, added: “Thankfully, I never went quite that long without a goal. But when I wasn’t scoring, I just kept putting myself in a position where I wasn’t frightened to miss. “And if I did miss a chance, I just took the attitude that another would come along in a minute. “But Torres is obviously in the full glare at a big club, so who knows what he’s really going through?” Stoke go to Stamford Bridge boosted by back-to-back home wins and clean sheets against Swansea and Norwich. ■ Moult’s return: Page 47

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