Port Vale: Owner Norman Smurthwaite puts League One club back on market

Vale Park
Port Vale went into Saturday's home game against Colchester United lying 10th in League One

Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite has revealed that the proposed sale of the League One club will not be proceeding and that it is now back on the market.

Vale were first put up for sale in December following the 2-0 FA Cup second round defeat at Exeter City.

Since then, Smurthwaite has revealed that there were three serious bidders.

An exclusivity agreement was signed with one of them, which was extended until the end of March, allowing the bidders to examine Vale's finances.

But a statement released by the clubexternal-link on Friday stated: "Chairman Norman Smurthwaite has confirmed that the sale of Port Vale will now not be proceeding and all negotiations are terminated with immediate effect. The club will now go back up for sale.

"Due to a confidentiality clause within the exclusivity agreement, the club is unable to disclose who the potential buyer was."

Smurthwaite has been in charge of Vale since 2012 when he and his then business partner Paul Wildes bought the club from administrators for £1.25m. Since then Smurthwaite estimates he has put in £3m of his own money.

Rob Page's side have so far made light of their off-field distractions, currently standing 10th in the table ahead of Saturday's game against bottom club Colchester United at Vale Park, where they unbeaten in League One matches since mid-September.