Recently taxpayers have lost money on the Dimensions fiasco, £2million lost in government funding to freeze council tax and now another massive loss to Port Vale.
I can hear the groans of the Vale supporters, that rightly want to keep their club open, and yes, the council helped Stoke City and yes they paid the money back.
Many decisions like this one are driven by emotion rather than good business sense and the council should not be swayed into throwing money at any businessman wanting to buy a football club on the cheap.
The preferred bidder is willing to pay £1.4 million to secure the deal, which coincidentally is the same amount that the Labour led council want to write off.
The council’s freehold rights to the football ground, which was valued at £5 million in 2006, will be passed to the new owner. The taxpayer will also pay off the administration costs, which will virtually leave them with a big loss and no future stake in the land or club.
All of the players wages will be paid and a very large cheque for the administrator.
There are ways to get a far better deal for the poor stretched pockets of the taxpayer.
Stoke council say they are committed to moving away from anything that is not the core business of the authority, which has led to unpopular decisions like closing swimming pools, introducing car parking charges at leisure centres, closing the city farm, the Industrial museum, Ford Green Hall, Wedgwood College and many more facilities that were dear to peoples hearts.
All this is done in the guise of unloading anything that costs money and to safeguard the taxpayer, yet here we have a money pit in the Vale administration that will inevitably cost us dearly with nothing to show for it and is certainly not the core business of the council.
It should also be factored in that the preferred bidder is a property tycoon from outside the area and it will not be possible to add a cast iron clause that stops any future building on the site.
There were local bidders for the club including Mo Chaudry that have a stake in Stoke-on-Trent, and are committed to the area and have a passion for the Vale.
The administrator should have weighted that in their favour, as we are told it is not the highest bidder being looked for but the person with the best intentions for the club.
This will be another costly adventure as the senior Labour councillors lurch into another knee jerk reaction to try and save face.
A City Independent tells me that he will be putting forward reasonable alternatives at next weeks full council meeting to safeguard the Vale and the taxpayers position for the future but I suspect they will not be listened too, as the decision will already be made and the cabinet will only pay lip service and will be unwilling to listen to alternatives.
Good luck to the Vale and let’s hope history doesn’t repeat itself, as the majority have to pick up the bill for the few.