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Club News

Official Statement

28 October 2013

Club statement from the Chairman

Port vale would like to respond to questions that many fans may have regarding the relationship between the Sentinel and Port Vale.


Club Chairman Norman Smurthwaite had this to say, “It pains me that the football club has been brought into disrepute.


“It is a matter of principle on my part that we find ourselves in this position today.


“I befriended a member of the local Sentinel team and during the ten week period that Paul Wildes was contemplating leaving the club I confided in this individual with various specific factual details.


“My understanding was that this was in confidence.


“Over several month he used to seek my council on various initiatives that the club was undertaking


“I confided in him with much more, maybe, than I should have done


“When it became clear to the Sentinel, due to rumours, that Paul may be leaving I was then approached by the sports editor with the information that had been disclosed in confidence.


“This put me and the club in a difficult position.


“I took great exception that the confidential information was being used against me and the club.


“I felt that The Sentinel saw the consequences of their actions as unimportant.


“It was at this point that I realised that my open relationship with The Sentinel had to cease.


“Instructions were given to them to speak to the clubs media team and not to myself personally.


“Sadly this was ignored on numerous occasions and it came to ahead on Friday when the request was made about the third kit shirts.


“Unlike Paul Wildes who is very good at dealing with both the media and responding quickly to questions fired at him, I sometimes respond with emotion which gives a different slant as a reply to the question asked.


“I left two messages with the sentinel editorial staff expressing my frustration that yet again my instruction to only ask my media team had been ignored and as a consequence the reporter for The Sentinel would not be allowed into the Press box.


“The telephone conversation was only to express my frustration that the simple instructions to follow the rules we have in place regarding stories were being ignored.


“I took the decision to ban the reporter from the press box on the Gillingham game in order for them to understand that I would no longer tolerate them ignoring instructions


“My recent entry into Twitter clearly is something that has bought the club into disrepute and although I wish to be approachable to fans it is clear that I cannot be answerable to everyone individually.


“In future I will not be entering into individual debates with fans but will continue to enter football related tweets.


“Port Vale football club not only delivers football for people to watch but also has a wider community responsibility to Burslem and the people within it.


“We undertake a lot of initiatives with different agencies and will continue to do so, equally I feel any media organisation which is connected with the existence of the region has a similar responsibility.


“I love my club and have a responsibility to the people which are around it and it saddens me that due to a matter of principle I find myself here today.


“Once the Sentinel acknowledge their responsibility in this and how they have treated myself and the football club I hope this issue can be put behind us.


“I just want The Sentinel to go through to proper channels to get their news stories.”

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