We should all know by now that, ultimately, all footballers are mercenaries. It is the nature of the beast.
More money and the chance to play at a higher level are often factors which are equally, if not more important, than geography or family circumstances.
This isn’t a criticism. It is just the reality of the modern-day game where careers are short.
With the club in limbo until Keith Ryder’s takeover is approved by the Football League, Micky Adams has been forced to hedge his bets.
He’s offered deals to a large chunk of the squad from last season – knowing that he cannnot have a situation where, after the summer break, he’s only got half a dozen players to work with.
I understand the strategy and think that adding to a squad which was almost good enough to make the playoffs is better than starting entirely from scratch.
I don’t know what was offered to Rico or Griff but I would imagine Micky Adams offered them what he thought they were worth.
I do know that word around the club six weeks ago was that neither player would stay.
I can understand why. Griffith is a solid, reliable player who gives 100 per cent and is the sort of dogged scrapper and ball-winner that most teams in the lower leagues would want.
He has taken the opportunity to play at a higher level and presumably on better terms.
Richards is a proven goalscorer and several clubs were chasing his signature. Loyalty doesn’t come into it. He’s doing what’s best for him and his family at this stage of his career and I say ‘good luck to him’.
Disappointing as this news is, the departure of two of Vale’s better players is not, as some would have you believe, the end of the world.
The end of the world would have been liquidation which the club narrowly avoided not so long ago.
Now we have a chance to rebuild our club from top to bottom.
We will miss Marc Richards and Anthony Griffith but neither are irreplaceable.
Take Rico’s penalties away from his season tally and you realise that he wasn’t, in fact, God’s gift to the penalty area.
Some fans get carried away and believe that Richards is the king of the world because he is our top scorer.
This is only because we’ve forgotten what it’s like to have a decent striker who scores 20 plus goals a season from open play.
In the case of Anthony Griffith, if he could pass he would be playing in the Championship by now. Sadly, he can’t.
Personally, I believe Doug Loft to be a better quality player for one of the two central midfield roles as he can tackle, has – as they say – a good engine and can pick out team mates with a decent pass. Oh and he scores goals too.
What I am trying to say is that the glass is half full and that, logically, we should have expected this summer to be one of major change – given what has happened off the field in recent months.
I don’t buy my season ticket because of one or two players or depending on who we sign over the summer.
I buy it because I’m a Vale fan and because I want to support the team in black and white. I dare say most Vale fans think the same.
Of course I am excited about new players coming in but I’ll be there next season come what may.
Frustrating as it has been in recent weeks, we have to remember that Keith Ryder hasn’t yet taken over from the administrators and Micky Adams’ hands are somewhat tied at present in terms of bringing in new faces.
We know that the playing budget will be larger this year and I’m hoping a decent keeper, a quick centre half and a nippy little striker is on the manager’s shopping list.
Let’s give Micky Adams and Keith Ryder the opportunity to build a squad which we hope can challenge for promotion and not start writing ourselves off before a ball is kicked.
Read my Port Vale articles every Friday during the season in The Sentinel