Norman Smurthwaite issues challenge to disgruntled Port Vale supporters

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Under-fire Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite has challenged angry Port Vale fans to raise more than £800,000 if they want him to leave the club before the end of the season.

The controversial owner was appearing at a packed fans forum meeting, where Smurthwaite outlined this figure as the investment needed to keep the club afloat during the summer months.

The controversial owner, who first bought The Valiants in 2013, has been the victim of a high number of critics during this time at Vale Park.

Although he did oversee a promotion to League One in his first season at the helm, Vale have continued to fall since. They now sit just six points above the Football League relegation zone with eight games to play.

Fans gather for last night’s meeting at Vale Park. Credit to Sentinel journalist, Mike Baggaley, for the photograph.

Unrest on Social Media and in the stands has been apparent in recent weeks, but after a winless 2018, Smurthwaite has given those calling for his head a challenge.

“This club is losing between £140,000 and £160,000 a month. That’s not a pie in the sky figure, it’s just a fact.

“It’s basically a charity, a Burslem based one, if it was a business I’m not sure where we would be.

“We need £820,000 to survive in the off-season, between May and July. We don’t touch the season ticket money until the season starts, to enable the manager to have the biggest playing budget we can give him.

“Look, we have 3,000 hardcore supporters – you are 10 per cent of them. If you really don’t want me here, you can demonstrate your feelings in other ways.

“If you believe I should go, it would be more constructive if you all put in £270 each and covered the shortfall. That way I wouldn’t need to be involved at all. It’s the best way of demonstrating to me that you don’t want me.”

Vale, sitting in 20th place, travel to Wycombe tomorrow as they look to pick up an important three points in their battle against relegation.

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