Why former Port Vale owner says a deal for him to buy Chesterfield FC is "highly unlikely"

Former Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite has shown interest in buying Chesterfield FC – but says a deal is “highly unlikely” at this stage.

Smurthwaite, 59, told us that he has “always liked the club” but a deal is “highly unlikely” in the next three years due to a financial tie he still has with his former club despite selling it in May.

Chesterfield FC owner Dave Allen wants to sell the club.

Chesterfield FC owner Dave Allen wants to sell the club.

While this is still in place Smurthwaite is not allowed by the FA to get involved in the running of another football club, he said.

He said that he has recently bought Van Dyk Hotel in Clowne so buying the Spireites “would work for me to buy and run and invest”.

The Coventry-born businessman helped Vale out of administration in 2012 and became chairman and sole owner of the club in 2013.

Three years later Smurthwaite put Vale up for sale while they were in League One.

In March he threatened to put the club in administration if a buyer was not found by May 5, saying he would only fund The Valiants until that date because of supporters’ protests against him.

On May 7 the club was sold to local IT firm owners and lifelong Vale supporters Carol and Kevin Shanahan for a reported fee of £4million.

Chesterfield FC owner Dave Allen, who has been involved in the club since 2009, confirmed in February 2017 he was looking to sell it.

As well as Smurthwaite, a local consortium is in the running to buy the club and last week said a deal is “virtually as good as agreed”.