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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 February 2005, 17:23 GMT
Vale cash in on Spitfire legend
A Spitfire fighter plane
The Spitfire could provide a financial windfall for Vale
Port Vale could be set to profit by changing their name in honour of Stoke-born Spitfire plane designer Reginald Mitchell.

Vale chairman Bill Bratt is in talks with American billionaire Sidney Frank, who is a great admirer of Mitchell.

In return for a financial injection, the Stoke club would be renamed the Port Vale Spitfires and their ground called the Reginald Mitchell Stadium.

"Discussions have just begun, but we're hoping to strike a deal," Bratt said.

What better way to commemorate one of Stoke's most famous sons than naming the stadium after him?
Vale chairman Bill Bratt
One of the world's wealthiest men, 85-year-old Frank believes Mitchell should be honoured for designing the Spitfire.

Bratt learned of Frank's admiration for Mitchell via a recent newspaper article, in which he said he was prepared to pay for a statue of the Stoke-born inventor in London.

He contacted Frank with the proposal but stresses discussions with Frank are still in the early stages - and no figures have yet been mentioned.

Bratt said: "He was saying how he would like to do pay for a statue in London to mark his memory.

"But any such statue should be in his home town here in Stoke, so I got in touch with Mr Frank through his agent.

"What better way to commemorate one of Stoke's most famous sons than naming the stadium after him?

"He was born within a couple of miles of Vale Park - and having a statue here to commemorate him would serve as a fitting tribute to his memory.

"I would also like a museum in tribute to the Spitfire and Reginald Mitchell, and that could be visited throughout the week and not just on match-days."

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