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FRUSTRATED Chris Birchall accepted Port Vale's offer of a new contract, but then questioned the club's loyalty to him.

The 31-year-old midfielder revealed he has been offered significantly better deals elsewhere this summer.

However, Birchall, from Yarnfield, wants to play for the Valiants, having graduated through the club's youth system to make his first-team debut in 2001.

He was reluctant to move away from his family and young son, and is also studying in his spare time at Staffordshire University.

Vale are cutting their player-wage bill from £2.45m last season to £1.7m. And Birchall claims the fact he is a local player means the club have been able to offer him less than if he were a new signing from out of the area.

He said: "I have accepted the offer and always said I wanted to stay. I have had a lot better offers elsewhere, but I don't want to move away.

"This is my club, but I don't feel I have been looked after or treated in the best way.

"I feel like I have shown the club loyalty over the years. I have been associated with the club from a young age. From that aspect I don't think it's right that I have been offered the contract I have."

After coming through the Vale youth system, Birchall made his first-team debut under Brian Horton and became a regular before moving to Coventry City for £325,000 in 2006.

He later signed for Brighton before moving to the United States to play for LA Galaxy and Columbus Crew before signing again for Vale in January 2013.

Birchall replied to Vale's contract offer this week with a letter of acceptance. Sam Johnson, Ryan Lloyd, Ryan Boot and Nathan Smith have also signed their contracts, but Tom Pope has turned down a pay cut to instead sign for Bury.

Birchall says team spirit will remain strong under manager Rob Page, but adds that losing Pope is a blow.

He explained: "There is always going to be that fighting spirit with the nucleus of the players there, but the lads will be disappointed to lose Tom.

"We always knew there would be interest in him because of his record. It is no surprise that he was in demand and I wish the club had done more to keep him."

Vale have been made third favourites for relegation, but Birchall says that won't bother the players when they report back for training next month with Page and his new assistant Paul Bodin.

He added: "Being among the favourites to go down has never bothered us. We were rated the same a couple of years ago and finished ninth.

"We are more interested in who will be coming in. We are glad Rob Page got the job, and hopefully Paul Bodin can put his own twist on things as well to improve us.

"Hopefully we will keep big players like Michael O'Connor, Mark Marshall and Ben Williamson."

O'Connor, Marshall and Williamson have been offered new deals along with Michael Brown, Louis Dodds, Freddie Veseli and Adam Yates. The club asked players to respond to their offers by Wednesday.