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Vale's new owner must wait a bit longer

Football News 24/7
According to the latest news in the Potteries, prospective owner Keith Ryder signed the contract to complete his purchase of Port Vale on Friday 29 June – but there is no guarantee the deal will go through next week and the news has yet to hit the official club website.

Football League officials are still sifting through the information they have requested from the Lancashire businessman – and last night they were unable to say when they will be able to ratify the deal.

Ryder had hoped his takeover would be rubber-stamped by the end of the month, but according to 'The Sentinel'  it could be several more days before final approval is forthcoming from the Football League ... perhaps not until the second week of July.

While Ryder is delighted that contracts for the club have been signed ahead of his June 30 target, he is bound to find a further Football League delay extremely frustrating.

He said: "This is set to be an exciting new era for Port Vale and it's a challenge I am already relishing.

"The process of buying the club was never something we could rush, but we always stated we wanted to sign by the end of June, and we have done that.

"We have submitted all of the necessary documentation to the Football League and we'll now wait for the deal to be ratified.

"I am looking forward to starting the journey in earnest and hope all of the club's fans will join me as we try to return Port Vale to better times."

Administrator Bob Young had been hoping for Football League approval of the deal yesterday.

He said: "Everything seems ready to go from our point of view, but the Football League have not held the talks they need to have yet.

"There is absolutely no indication to say there won't be a positive outcome when they do, but we are now looking towards some time next week.

"We have given all the necessary information to Nick Craig, the league's chief legal officer, and he seems happy with it all.

"But while he does have some powers, it's ultimately not his decision.

"He will need to report to the board before the deal can be finally approved."

Young remains hopeful that will take place next week, adding: "The League have said it won't happen just yet as Andy Williamson, their chief operating officer, and the board will have to consider all the paperwork.

"But we are still on track, even though it now looks as if it will take an extra few days.

"It's frustrating and disappointing, but there is little more we can do."

The man most frustrated by the latest hold-up is probably Vale manager Micky Adams, who is unable to push-on with his team-building plans until Ryder's deal is rubber-stamped. His existing players report back for pre-season training on Monday.

A League spokesman confirmed they were examining the information provided by Ryder and the Vale administrators, but warned: "Discussions remain ongoing at this time."

Ryder's initial "Fit and Proper Persons" hearing was held on May 30, but his takeover was put on ice when the Football League board demanded more information about his business plan.

That was submitted once contractual issues over the future use of Vale Park had been ironed out with Stoke-on-Trent City Council.

It is that new information, including proof of earnings, costings, cashflow forecasts and profit projections, that is now being pored over.

Once officials are satisfied, it will be for the Football League board to give the final go-ahead.

It is understood they will avoid convening another meeting by holding conference calls to discuss Vale's case, but there was no sign last night of that being imminent.

In the meantime, Young marked the signing of contracts by congratulating Ryder.

He said: "We wish Keith the very best of luck during his time at Port Vale.

"I have no doubt this is the best way forward for the club, and I thank everyone for their patience during what has been a very testing time for everyone connected with Port Vale."

JB

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