It’s a win-win situation for Grewy and The Horse

Jim Gannon was always the proverbial dead man walking.
The truth is many Vale fans never wanted him in the first place.
Some believed the current board shouldn’t have been choosing a new manager because that decision ought to have been left for the heir apparent – Mo Chaudry – after his impending coronation.
Indeed, I doubt if the appointment would have been made so swiftly had Chaudry’s takeover bid not been hanging over the club.
Still more supporters couldn’t understand why a man who advocated a totally different style of football to the exalted Micky Adams had been brought in to shepherd Adams’s squad through the remainder of the promotion campaign.
At first I had some sympathy with the dour bloke in the long, black coat who prowled the touchline, barking orders and scowling like a warden at Alcatraz.
We all knew that someone appointed by a deeply unpopular board and following in the footsteps of a popular and successful manager was going to have his work cut out to win over the players and the fans.
But, on the basis that everyone deserves a chance, I was prepared to give Gannon time.
However, not everyone was as charitable.
After a baptism of fire which resulted in defeats in the Cup and away at local rivals Crewe, the knives were soon out for the new manager.
Gannon then embarked on what can only be described as a verbal wrecking spree in which he seemed to systematically undermine his staff and players while doing his level best alienate the club’s supporters.
It was almost as if he held some sort of irrational grudge against the Vale for Stockport’s defeat in the 1993 Autoglass Trophy Final at Wembley.
His inability to work with the backroom staff he inherited, his total disinterest in building any kind of rapport with fans and his, quite frankly, bizarre team selections were ultimately to prove his downfall.
There is a palpable sense of relief around the club today – as if a great, black cloud has been lifted.
But the truth is that while Gannon’s reign will be viewed by many as an unmitigated disaster, there are a couple of positives – if you care to look hard enough.
Indeed, after the televised game against Bradford there were those who were warming to the passing game Gannon’s teams sometimes offered. Although you may struggle to find such a person today.
In addition, the emergence of youth graduate Sam Morsy in midfield – whether by accident or design – was unlikely to have happened under Micky Adams.
Meanwhile, the arrival of Sneyd Green’s finest – Gannon recruit Tom Pope – has added much-needed steel and sharpness to Vale’s forward line.
Tonight, for the first time since Micky Adams headed north, there will be a genuine feel-good factor at Vale Park as supporters will undoubtedly embrace the makeshift managerial set-up and welcome the likes of Gary Roberts and Louis Dodds back to the fold.
Whatever happens from here on in, Mark Grew and Geoff Horsfield are in a win-win situation – in contrast to the board.
If they take Vale into the play-offs, and perhaps even lead the team to promotion, they will be assured a place in the club’s folklore.
But if Grewy and The Horse fail to rescue the promotion challenge then it is unlikely that supporters will vent their frustrations on a couple of blokes who have been pushed from pillar to post in recent months.
That special treatment will be reserved for the six remaining directors who are clinging steadfastly to their positions in the face of ever-growing animosity.


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