Port Vale: League Two club move closer to agreeing takeover deal with Carol & Kevin Shanahan

Port Vale have been up for sale since 2016
Port Vale have been up for sale since 2016

Port Vale are closer to being sold after entering a 'confidentiality and exclusivity' agreement with potential buyers Carol and Kevin Shanahan.

The struggling League Two club were first put up for sale by current owner Norman Smurthwaite in 2016.

But they now say they have reached a significant point in the sale process.

"There has been a great deal of dialogue between the two parties over the last 10 days," said chief executive/secretary Colin Garlick.

"There is still much work to be done as Carol and Kevin work through the legal process and the English Football League compliance procedure.

"I, along with my staff, will be doing all we can to help them during this time."

The Shanahans, who own Stoke-on-Trent-based IT company Synectics Solutions, have made three attempts to buy the club and its Vale Park ground - which is owned by Smurthwaite through a separate company - since the start of February.

The most recent is believed to be in excess of £4m, and while Smurthwaite acknowledged the offers in a statement on the club's website on 1 March, he said no formal bid had been made for the football club.

Norman Smurthwaite
Norman Smurthwaite first became involved with Port Vale in 2012

And he has warned that if the club is not sold by 5 May, he will put the Valiants into administration.

Smurthwaite and former business partner Paul Wildes took Port Vale out of administration in 2012.

When Wildes left in May 2013, shortly after Vale had won promotion from League Two, Smurthwaite became chairman and sole owner.