Port Vale: We had to cut wage bill, says chairman Smurthwaite

Tom Pope
Tom Pope was first told in October that he would have to take a pay cut to stay at the club

Port Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite says the League One club's future would have been in doubt if they had not managed to cut their wage bill.

Falling attendances have had an impact on Vale, their average home gate having fallen from 6,249 in the 2013-14 season to 5,044 in the campaign just finished.

"I have a responsibility to do what's right for Vale," he told BBC Sport.

"There was an average of over 1,200 per game who didn't turn up. We were £600,000 down on gate receipts."

Speaking on Sport at Six on BBC Radio Stoke, he added: "We were a further £300,000 down due to a poor cup run. That's £900,000 down and we're still in business.

Tom Pope's Port Vale record
Prior to the 2012-13 season, the 2011 summer signing from Rotherham scored 29 goals in 163 league games for Crewe, Rotherham and Vale.
Pope hit 31 league goals in Vale's 2012-13 promotion-winning campaign to help Micky Adams' men back to League One for the first time since 2008.
Stoke-born boyhood Vale fan netted 16 goals in all competitions season as Vale finished ninth in League One.
He was Vale's top scorer again this season with 12 goals from 31 starts, despite missing four months of the campaign with a knee injury.

"It's up to us to get the product right on the pitch, then people will turn up, but we're in a results-orientated business."

Vale have offset those losses by cutting their wage bill, striker Tom Pope being one of several first team regulars currently mulling over whether to stop on reduced terms.

"I don't want him to go," added Smurthwaite. "He's a great ambassador for the club, but he was awarded a contract that I wasn't privy to.

"He's a good living the last two and a half years and I suspect he's got used to it, but we've made a contract offer that reflects where we are.

"He has a responsibility to his wife and his daughter to do what's right for him. But my responsibility is somewhat greater than Tom's. It's to the future of the club."