PORT Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite has revealed Swindon Town striker Marc Richards was poised to sign for the Valiants on transfer deadline day, but the deal fell through due to logistical issues.

Smurthwaite revealed in a statement issued on Friday that Port Vale had agreed terms with the striker, adding that Swindon Town were happy to release the 36-year-old from his contract – which runs out this summer.

Following Neil Aspin’s resignation as the club’s first-team manager last week, Smurthwaite believed Richards’ presence at Vale Park would help relieve the club of mounting pressure from the fans as Vale find themselves just five points clear of relegation.

As late as 8.30pm, terms were agreed for Richards to make a unexpected switch to the Stoke-based club.

However, logistical challenges meant Town’s striker failed to complete the required paper work in the time required – and therefore remains under contract at SN1.

In his statement, Smurthwaite said: “I was contacted by his (Marc Richards) agent to advise that Swindon were happy to release him from his contract.

"Having consulted with Tom Pope and other senior professionals within the club, due to not having a manager, it was felt it would be a valued addition to the playing squad.

"At 8.30pm, terms were agreed up until July 2020. I was advised that all personnel were at Swindon Town to proceed with the required documentation. At 8.50pm I learnt that the player was leaving his home at Northampton to drive to Vale Park to complete the required paperwork.

"The deadline for player submissions was 11pm. The distance the player had to travel, combined with the time and efforts required to prepare and complete the required documentation, posed logistical challenges resulting in the signing of Marc Richards not happening because we would have been unable to meet that deadline.

"It was believed that during the later part of the negotiations the player was at Swindon Town awaiting confirmation that negotiations had been concluded. This was clearly not the case.

"I offered the compromise of requesting he cancelled his contract prior to 11pm which would have made him a free agent with a view of dealing with the required documentation today to secure him as our player. Sadly, this was rejected."