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The Non-League Football Paper

Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite enquires about purchasing Nuneaton Town’s Liberty Way stadium

Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite is interested in purchasing Nuneaton Town’s Liberty Way stadium.

The ground has been up for sale since the end of the season when chairman Lee Thorn announced his intentions to step down from the club.

The purchase of the stadium by Smurthwaite, subject to EFL approval, would allow Nuneaton to meet the current liabilities required to remain in the National League North.

Once that has been completed, an interim person will be appointed by Thorn to run the club while the Nuneaton Town Supporters Co-Operative (NTSC) organises to take over as a community asset.

A statement by the NTSC read: “Earlier this afternoon, we had the pleasure of talking to Mr. Norman Smurthwaite, and he has asked us to inform all Borough Supporters as to the current situation and the rumours regarding the sale of the club and ground.

“Mr. Smurthwaite is currently the owner of Port Vale F.C., but is seeking to acquire, pending EFL approval, the stadium at Liberty Way. Should he be successful, Mr. Smurthwaite would act as landlord to Nuneaton Borough F.C..

“During our chat, Mr. Smurthwaite enthused to us his belief that the football club should be a community owned asset. The sale of the stadium will at this point, allow for the club to meet the current liabilities required for it to retain it’s status within the division. Once this has been done, an interim person has been identified by Mr. Thorn to run the Borough, to enable the fans to get organised to take over in due course as a community asset.

“This represents a real chance for us to get what so many of you have been looking for, for so long. A football club that belongs to YOU.

“Without the fans backing this, this simply cannot happen, and the club could once again be in jeopardy. Whilst he is keen to help the club in anyway he can, Mr. Smurthwaite cannot become financially involved due to his ownership at Port Vale, and therefore this can only be an interim scenario and we have to act to ensure the long term viability of this club.

“Members of our board will be meeting with Mr. Smurthwaite once the deal has gone through for the stadium and the club, and it’s position in the National League has been confirmed. During this meeting we will look to finalise a price for the sale of the club, so we can begin the process of fundraising. With these figures agreed upon, a full business plan and prospectus will be released to support the fundraising.

“What’s also key for us at this time, is to continue to recruit people who can help us in this aim. We know the limitations we have on this current board, and we know there are people out there who have far more relevant experience. We will be contacting some of them ourselves, but if you’re reading this, and you believe you can help push this club forward, please, please do get in touch. Now more than ever, the Borough needs you.

“We hope that this news gives Boro’ fans and the wider community, a little bit more clarity on what is happening and becomes a galvanising moment for us all to come together, to support the club moving forward and turning it into a community asset for the benefit of everyone in the Borough.”

 

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