Port Vale turned down QPR manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 2013 because of fears about racism from club's fans

Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite turned down Hasselbaink in 2013. Credit: PA

League One club Port Vale turned down the chance of appointing Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink as manager in 2013 because of fears their own supporters might racially abuse him.

That's the extraordinary revelation from the club's owner Norman Smurthwaite today.

Back in 2013, Port Vale were under investigation from the Football Association for racist chanting by their fans during a match against Bradford, and Smurthwaite felt it would be unfair to hand Hasselbaink the reigns.

Instead, the former Chelsea striker became Burton Albion manager and guided them to the League Two title before leaving the team top of League One – 12 points ahead of Port Vale – when he took over at QPR this month.

Speaking to the Mirror today, Smurthwaite said:

"I didn't take him because of the racial issue the club had got. I didn't think it was fair on him.

"Can you imagine the poor bloke getting abuse, along with the normal abuse if results were going against him?

"He would have been right for the club without doubt but I don't think the club would have been right for him.

"Ninety-nine per cent of our fans are excellent but a small minority leave us with policing and other issues."

Ally Simcock, who is a spokesperson for Port Vale fans, told the Mirror:

"I'm shocked with what he has said.I think the club has had issues with racism, but I don't believe they were any worse than at any other football club.

"There have been a minority of fans intent on causing problems and race, as well as other discrimination, has been brought into it, but I don't think having a black manager at the club would have been wrong."