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Saturday, 8 February, 2003, 13:02 GMT
Vale supporters in protest march
Port Vale Football Club
Supporters are rallying around Port Vale
Protestors fighting a bid by the Icelandic owners of Stoke City to buy Port Vale Football Club are holding a march ahead of the team's home game on Saturday.

There are fears that if the bid is successful it could result in a ground share or even a merger of the two clubs.

Gavin Handley from the Vale supporters group VAST, says the Burslem club and its followers could find themselves in the same situation as Wimbledon, which has had to move from its London ground.

He told BBC Radio Stoke: "Wimbledon supporters have formed AFC Wimbledon and they are getting bigger crowds at the non-league Wimbledon than at the professional club playing in the first division."

Club debt

He added: "Obviously that could be the nightmare scenario that could happen at Port Vale."

In December, cash-strapped Port Vale had their application to go into administration accepted.

The club was reportedly 2.4m in debt, losing around 500,000 a year and owed the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise 600,000.

The Professional Footballers' Association gave the administrators a loan of 34,000 to help the club on a short-term basis.

A total of four bids, including the one from Stoke City's owners, have been put in for the club.


Click here for more from BBC Stoke & Staffordshire
See also:

22 Jan 03 | England
19 Dec 02 | England
16 Dec 02 | Port Vale
03 Dec 02 | Port Vale
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