It’s early days and there’s absolutely no need to panic. Enjoy the ride…

A frustrated Tom Pope.

A frustrated Tom Pope.

I hope no-one’s panicking just yet. I’m certainly not.

Although we’ve yet to record our first win of this campaign, it’s still very early days.

Granted, we’ve scored only one goal and have only one point out of a possible six in the league.

We’ve also crashed out of a potentially money-spinning cup competition.

However, to play devil’s advocate, I’d say we earned a good point on the first day of season against a decent Brentford side and, although we didn’t play particularly well, were rather unlucky against Walsall when the officials rather let us down.

In contrast, against Colchester we were clearly second best and created very little in the way of chances.

In fact, the only danger was to our own supporters – and Doreen Robbins’s plaster cast is testament to this.

The gaffer simply chose the wrong formation, and perhaps picked a couple of players he shouldn’t have, and has admitted as much.

After all, you can’t really blame the forwards for not scoring if they’re not getting any service from a sluggish midfield.

What we’re experiencing now is perhaps something of a reality check and, frankly, I’d rather we have it now than at Christmas.

We’ve stepped up a league, the opponents are better and they move the ball around more quickly.

It will take time for Micky Adams’s teams to adjust, to get used to their positions, and learn to play off lads who signed over the summer.

Being positive, the back four (and I think it should be a four) and the ‘keeper look solid.

Chris Neal and Adam Yates are playing well, in particular, and Robertson, Dickinson and Lines already look good signings.

I’d like to see Doddsy in the team, personally – playing behind the Pontiff. But perhaps that’s just me.

Let’s not lose perspective here. Ambition and aspiration is fine but it must be tempered with honest expectation.

I’d love us to repeat last season’s promotion heroics but I’m not going to kick the cat, so to speak, if we don’t.

Vale Park is looking terrific and will continue to improve. Meanwhile gates are bigger because the clubs we are up against – some of whom have infinitely bigger playing budgets – have larger followings.

It’s an exciting time to be a Vale fan and I, for one, am enjoying the stability and putting my trust in the new owner and Micky’s squad to continue to do us proud.

Advertisements

Now’s the time for continuity and stability at Vale Park

Paul Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite.

Paul Wildes and Norman Smurthwaite.


Stability. That’s what I want now. I’d give anything for a lengthy period of stability and continuity.

What has been achieved at Port Vale in the last 12 months is nothing short of exceptional.

The new owners, Micky Adams, his playing staff and the club’s long-suffering supporters deserve huge credit.

This remarkable promotion, which will be confirmed tomorrow, has given us all a huge lift and everyone connected with the club is understandably buzzing.

The announcement of season ticket prices has seen queues forming once again at Vale Park as we all look forward to an exciting summer.

We’ll all have opinions on who should stay and who should go, in terms of the playing staff, but first and foremost I’d like to pay tribute to everyone who has played a part in our success this season.

That includes the talented Ryan Burge, who has moved on to pastures new, Clayton McDonald, Gaz Owen and every player whose contribution has helped us secure a League One position.

When the Vale do line up for the first game of the new season at a higher level I’d like to think the squad won’t look vastly different to the one which took us up.

Yes, in my opinion, we need two quick centre halves and a playmaker – among other signings.

However, I would certainly hope the likes of Tom Pope, Jennison Myrie-Williams, Ashley Vincent, Louis Dodds, Chris Neal, Dan Jones, Adam Yates, Lee Hughes, Ben Williamson and Doug Loft will remain at Vale Park – and not leave, be released or snapped up by other clubs.

I think a healthy amount of continuity within the dressing room will be important because it means that same spirit which saw us over the line can be nurtured further by Micky Adams.

When you look at the most successful clubs in the sport, stability and continuity is at the heart of everything.

Continuity of leadership. Stability of ownership. Continuity in terms of the coaching staff. Stability in terms of the spine of the team.

I’ve been hugely impressed with the way the new owners have gone about their business thus far.

They seem to have a winning formula and I hope their unique partnership – which has won over fans on a number of levels – can continue for many years to come.

No-one knows what next season will bring but at least we won’t be worrying about not having a football club to support.

For all the latest Port Vale news, views and pictures pick up a copy of The Sentinel. The Weekend Sentinel on Saturday includes The Green ‘Un sports paper with extensive Vale coverage.

A change is better than a rest for our lads

One of the things I admire most about Micky Adams is his willingness to make changes when things aren’t going our way.
Of course, he threw down a marker by famously putting the entire squad on the transfer list when we were badly beaten by Notts County.
Some people considered that little more than a publicity stunt but the gaffer’s gamble soon paid dividends and results picked up.
The indifferent start we’ve made to this campaign has been largely down to poor defensive form.
A back line which had built up a reputation for being miserly suddenly started giving goals away and lads who were outstanding at times last season started to look distinctly average.
That’s when Micky rang the changes and brought in a couple of old heads to shore up the defence.
Once again he proved there are no sacred cows – dropping the likes of Sir Stanley Matthews Vale Player of the Year Adam Yates and crowd favourite John McCombe.
If nothing else this reinforces the approach that no player and no position is 100 per cent secure and this Vale squad responds to this kind of stick.
It seems like there’s nothing like a little competition for places or a stint in the reserves to make our under-performing players sharpen up their acts.
We are now six points off the top and handily placed for a tilt at promotion.
What’s more, there’s a feeling about the place that we have no-one to fear in this division – mainly because we work damned hard and are scoring a lot more goals these days.
The work ethic of the likes of Tom Pope and the Duracell battery that is Griff is the hallmark of this Micky Adams team.
The fact we have started to score goals from all over the park rather than relying on Marc Richards is starting to give me confidence that we will finish in the top seven this year – even if we don’t gain automatic promotion.
How nice it is too that hostilities have temporarily ceased and a few more fans are now turning up for home games.
This week, members of the committee of the official Supporters’ Club even met with Chief Executive Perry Deakin and potential director Peter Miller to discuss – among other things – the offer of having a supporter-elected director on the board.
This organisation can give us all a voice and I would urge every single Vale fan to join by going to http://www.portvalesupportersclub.org and filling in the online application form – especially as it won’t cost you a penny.