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Thursday, 5 December, 2002, 14:40 GMT
Vale near administration
Spectators at Vale Park
Vale will need their supporters to rally round
Port Vale have applied to go into voluntary administration.

The Potteries club are the latest in a string of Nationwide League club to have hit financial hard times.

Vale are reported to have debts of 2.4m, and owe a total of 600,000 to Inland Revenue and the Customs & Excise.

I'm hoping we will find a solution that will enable the club to keep trading

Bob Young of Poppleton and Appleby
The Valiants' application for administration is an attempt to protect the club from the prospect of a winding up order from either the tax or VAT offices.

Poppleton and Appleby, the firm representing the club, are confident they can convince the High Court that Vale can carry on trading.

That will involve a reduction in the wage bill, although the accountants say that will be through behind-the-scenes staff, rather than the playing squad.

Bob Young, a senior partner at Poppleton and Appleby, said: "I'm not going to pretend it's easy because the club has got debts totalling 2.4m and there's no obvious way of repaying those in the short term.

"But I am confident that, with the support of various people, we will find a solution that will enable the club to keep trading. "

A supporters' group has made a bid to buy the majority shareholding of chairman Bill Bell.

But the bid from Valiant 2001 is dependent on the purchase of Bell's share being enough to clear the club's debts.

Bell has offered his shares for sale at 10 each in multiples of 5,000.

Vale currently lie 12th in Division Two but a 1-0 second round defeat by Crewe denied the Valiants the prospect of a money-spinning FA Cup run.

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