League Two side Port Vale have been placed in administration this morning at a High Court hearing in Birmingham. The Valiants were in court today to hear an application made by Stoke-on-Trent City Council, who are one of the club's major creditors. Port Vale are believed to have backed the Council's petition given that they were under pressure from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC aka the Taxman) over an unpaid tax bill.
The Valiants were unable to place themselves in administration due to the resignation of former Chairman Peter Miller from their board, which left them with just three directors, leaving the remaining board unable by law to make such a decision. They preferred the City Council to make the decision given that Council leader Mohammed Pervez had made it clear that he would push for a CVA and new buyer for the club, rather than seeing the club wiped out entirely. Speaking earlier in the week he said:
"We have given a clear steer to officers to explore putting Port Vale into administration. This is as opposed to liquidation, which would see the end of the club."
Port Vale's position has gradually disintegrated since last summer, when they announced an ill-fated deal with Blue Sky International, combined with the proposal for Miller and Perry Deakin to be brought onto the board as Directors. All three parties were supposed to invest money into the club in the form of shares, whilst BSI were meant to provide them with ground improvements and a new artificial pitch. In the end, the position of all three was on a house of cards, and once BSI withdrew their support, Miller and Deakin were left exposed as they had been relying upon the money from the American company to pay for them. Speaking to the Stoke Sentinel, Deakin has been on the defensive about that deal:
"Blue Sky agreed to buy 500,000 of shares of which £100,000 would be given to me. I never asked for those shares and was never going to own them. They were always belonging to Blue Sky, and if I ever left the club I was contractually obliged to hand them back. I needed shares in the club to become a director. But then the minute they (Blue Sky) defaulted on their payments, we were in a terrible mess. Then we were exposed as having nil-paid shares and it was awful. The irony of it all is, around the shares, we believed we were giving the supporters what they wanted. In hindsight it just caused more damage."
Deakin has also admitted that Vale's claims that Blue Sky would invest £8 million in the club turned out to be a gross exaggeration but claimed that the figure had come from BSI - something that the American company have previously denied, even though it appeared on both company websites:
"As a board we have to hold our hands up and say we made some mistakes. Certainly the way Blue Sky was presented was a mistake. We got carried away. We believed it was a great deal for the club. The £8m figure was Blue Sky's. It was their figure for everything they were doing. We went along with it and in hindsight we shouldn't have done. As a board we will look back on the Blue Sky announcement and everything that involved it, and there will be some regret that we allowed ourselves to be carried along on a wave of optimism because we felt it was a great deal. I am desperately sorry that we are where we are."
Port Vale are currently under a transfer embargo by the Football League, and have only paid their staff and players 25 percent of their wages for the month of February. The Football League have yet to confirm their expected 10 point deduction, which would take them from the edge of the League Two play-offs down to 15th.
There's been no mention of Yeovil Town's deal with BSI, announced in October 2011, with the club yet to identify a location for their planned artificial pitch.
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