U.S. investment in Vale begs so many questions


When Bradford equalised in the first half some wag sitting behind in the Bycars End me shouted: “Eight million quid and we still haven’t got a decent ’keeper.”
As well as being a tad harsh on Chris Martin, this observation didn’t take into the account that the multi-million pound investment by Blue Sky had only been unveiled three hours earlier.
Funny that: Fancy announcing the largest investment deal in the club’s history at 10 to 5 on a match night.
Call me old fashioned, but you would have thought the club would have wanted engineer the press release for a time which would give it maximum impact in the local media.
That way, journalists can ask the kind of questions the supporters around the ground were on Tuesday night.
As it was, the ‘investment which secures the future of the club’ was announced in Vale’s usual ham-fisted fashion and contained so little detail as to render it virtually meaningless.
My first reaction was that this was the Ameriturf/AGS deal with bells on. Which begged the question: Whatever happened to the £1.2m deal trumpeted by the club on May 23?
Are Blue Sky a competitor of Ameriturf and what do they see in debt-ridden Port Vale? Surely it can’t be a coincidence that two major potential U.S. investors in the club are both in the same line of work.
Still, perhaps this bolt from the Blue Sky explains why no-one from Ameriturf has been available to talk to The Sentinel for the last four months.
When you examine the statement it is filled with jargon that I defy any ordinary fans to decipher.
For example, the investment includes £2.5m to develop ‘significant community outreach facilities throughout the Stoke-on-Trent area’. Huh? Has someone swallowed a council agenda? What does that even mean?
To be fair, the key part of the deal appears to be the £5 million being invested into Port Vale over the next 12 months. So what exactly is it being spent on?
We can argue the pros and cons of proposed plastic pitches at Chatterley Whitfield but completing the long-awaited Robbie Williams Suite and putting seats in the unfinished part of the Lorne Street makes absolute sense to me.
However, surely that doesn’t add up to £5m.
I’d like to think that my friend sitting behind me in the Bycars will soon learn that the manager will be given at least part of the investment to strengthen the squad.
It’s early days with this investment but the way in which it was announced, the many questions it begs and the ongoing lack of transparency at the club means the champagne is still on ice for me.
Given the fact that we could also only muster a crowd of 4,769 on Tuesday – despite the reduced admission offer – this tells me there are more than a few sceptics out there who feel exactly the same as I do.