EFL explains why they chose Karl Oyston to mentor Port Vale owner

Former Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston
Former Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston
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The EFL has explained why they opted to use controversial former Blackpool chairman Karl Oyston to mentor Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite.

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Smurthwaite, under fire from disgruntled Vale fans over his running of the club, confirmed the bizarre arrangement in 2013 at a fans' meeting last season.

According to the Stoke Sentinel, Port Vale Supporters' Club have now taken up the issue with the EFL.

The group's chairman Mark Porter has written to ask why a chairman so unpopular at Blackpool was seen as the right individual to provide advice to Smurthwaite.

In response, the EFL explained Oyston was assigned to Smurthwaite after he had originally taken over at the club, having bought Port Vale out of administration in 2012/13.

The EFL told the Supporters' Club: "Thanks for your email, we understand your concerns and note the comments you made throughout.

"In relation to your query regarding mentorship, at the time of Norman Smurthwaite's initial involvement at Port Vale, a then Football League mentor policy was in operation.

"This policy aimed to provide new owners with a mentor, to speak and liaise with in circumstances where they did not feel they were required to directly engage with the league.

"Blackpool's approach to player expenditure was of interest to Norman Smurthwaite, and he was assigned Karl Oyston as mentor who, during that time, had been voted as a Championship representative on the Football League board.

"Of course, these events fell prior to the well-documented difficulties that have since faced Blackpool FC.

"The EFL's overriding aim is to ensure the long-term sustainability of our 72 member clubs, and see our competitions, and the league prosper as a whole.

"While clubs have a responsibility to engage and consult with their fanbase, the EFL will look to advise supporters and supporters' groups on any relevant matters or ongoing concerns as appropriate."

The email was revealed by the Port Vale Supporters' Club at their last meeting, where committee members from Blackpool Supporters' Trust were guest speakers.

Oyston was first appointed Blackpool chairman in 1999 after his mother Vicki handed in her resignation following a series of fan protests.

In February 2018, he was forced out of the club by his father Owen following a family feud.