‘Port Vale are very fortunate’ – chief exec on fears some clubs could go out of business



Port Vale chief executive Colin Garlick says some lower division clubs genuinely fear they will go out of business because professional football has been suspended. 

Garlick says Vale are in a stronger position than most because of the financial support of owners Carol and Kevin Shanahan.  But he is talking to fellow chief executives or owners and says some clubs are in financial trouble while the season is unavoidably on hold because of the coronavirus crisis.

He said: “We were speaking to a cross section of clubs in Leagues One and Two from all over the country, and all clubs with different make ups.

“Quite a few were owners who were already putting money into clubs but they have set themselves targets and budgets to do that. Bear in mind that some have probably got other businesses that may be suffering as well.

“So, you have to take all these things into account. We are luckier than most with the owners we have, they are doing absolutely everything they possibly can to ensure all staff, not just players, are paid their full money for as long as they possibly can.

“With the discussions I am having, I can feel the pain of clubs who are very genuine. You take a supporter-run club that hasn’t got the benefit of a benefactor. 

“These are unprecedented times and when will this season be finished and the next start? People out there are in difficult times as well, so are having to be careful about their money.”

He says some clubs do fear they will go out of business.

He added: “Without doubt. And these professional clubs are providing livings for people, whether that be playing staff, backroom staff and other staff, whether it be a physio, groundsman, chief executive or whoever.

“Everyone wants to be able to pay their players and staff, of course they do. But these are very difficult times and some are quite simply not going to be able to do that because they don’t have the income.”

As for Vale’s situation, he said: “Everyone I am speaking to, whether staff, players or supporters, are grateful we have the owners we do.  

“We also appreciate those people who are contributing, whether buying a season ticket online, or giving us support.

“We really are so lucky (with the owners) but I am not complacent with that. Everything has a time span. I don’t want to alarm people but we are a football club and we need to be playing football.

“We will take all the appropriate measures to be doing that and I think there is a good chance we might be playing behind closed doors before we are able to open them. But certainly not before it is safe to do so.”

The PFA and EFL are in negotiations about deferring 25 per cent of players’ wages at some League One and Two clubs, but the Vale have ruled that out.

An alternative is following the example of other clubs who have placed players and staff on the government’s furlough scheme while continuing to pay part of their wages.  





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