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Port Vale chairman warns of ‘Plan B’ if top six target isn’t achieved

PORT VALE chairman Norman Smurthwaite expects the club to be fighting for a play-off spot in League One next season, saying he hasn’t invested to be “mid-table mediocre”.

The Valiants finished nine points outside the top six last season but Smurthwaite has allowed new boss Bruno Ribeiro to bring in 11 new signings.

Expectations from the chairman are understandably high and he is confident the club have enough quality in the squad to challenge.

“This is not a trial, we’ve signed these players for quite a long time,” he told BBC Radio Stoke.

“If I wasn’t committed and didn’t think Bruno was committed, we wouldn’t have given most of them two-year contracts – so I’m expecting the players return that by demonstrating to me and the fans that they’re here to do that job.

“I would not have put a large amount of money in to be mid-table mediocre.”

Smurthwaite was so angry at the club’s FA Cup second round exit to Exeter City last season that he put the club up for sale.

And he has fired a warning to people around the Valiants saying he has other plans in mind if the club aren’t challenging by the festive period.

“I have Plan B at Christmas if we’re not in the top six,” Smurthwaite added. “I will never allow another Exeter – to be told by a manager ‘that’s just football’ and to accept it.

“That’s not going to happen at Port Vale because if it does, Plan B will be round the corner – I’m hoping I won’t have to exercise that veto.”

This article was brought to you by The Football League Paper. On-sale every Sunday, the newspaper provides extensive coverage for all 72 Football League clubs with news, features and gossip plus comprehensive match reports.
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