Here’s hoping for a happy ending to a football fairytale

In all honesty I would have taken four points from the last two games.

However, after the euphoria of Friday night’s unforgettable 7 – 1 drubbing of promotion rivals Burton, I got my hopes up for the Aldershot game and saw us taking all six.

As it turned out the atmosphere on Tuesday was tense, the performance forgettable for the most part, and the officials indescribably awful.

I’m just about getting over the feeling of deflation as I left the ground.

It was the classic banana skin and a draw was probably a fair result in terms of chances created – albeit the visitors were gifted their goal by dint of the fact that the linesman and referee failed to spot Darren Purse being shoved to the ground.

They say it’s swings and roundabouts when it comes to decisions going for and against you during the season.

On that basis, after 90 minutes of Tom Pope being climbed all over and the referee giving the visitors everything and tolerating their play-acting, I’d say Vale are due a few.

With hindsight, it was more important that we beat Burton as that game was the proverbial six-pointer.

We’ve been fortunate in recent weeks that results have gone for us and that’s why we have a five-point cushion.

But there can be no complacency. A win tomorrow away to a team that have nowt but pride to play for could seal a remarkable promotion.

Vale’s terrific, noisy away following will probably be similar in number to Rochdale’s home support and that could well set the lads up for a famous result.

We’re unbeaten in five and with the Pontiff, Lee Hughes and Jennison Myrie-Williams in the team I’d like to think there’s enough firepower to see us over the line.

As anyone who follows Vale knows, we seldom do things the easy way and they team historically has a habit of putting supporters through the mill emotionally.

This season has been no exception but we just need to hold our nerve, stick together and finish the job.

If we do and Vale go up automatically to League One it will be genuine Roy of the Rovers stuff.

Think about it: A club that started the season penniless and in administration and was rescued by its supporters is fired to promotion by a life-long Vale fan from Sneyd Green.

We’ll be dancing on the streets of Burslem.

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.

Smurthwaite calls for noisy fans and no let up as Vale close in on promotion

The Bycars End on Friday night.

The Bycars End on Friday night.

Four wins from the last four games is what Port Vale owner Norman Smurthwaite wants from the team as they close in on automatic promotion.

Speaking ahead of the vital home game against Aldershot, Vale’s chief executive said he expected no let up from the team he has dubbed ‘the entertainers’.

He said: “Micky and the lads know exactly what they have to do and the fans will have done the maths.

“I certainly don’t want the chairman or owner of any other club pointing a finger at us and saying we took our foot off the gas at any stage of the run-in.

“I want us to finish on a high with four wins and take that form into next season. I don’t see any reason why we can’t do that.”

Smurthwaite paid tribute to the role supporters have played in the club’s successes so far this season and called for fans to be a twelfth man again tonight.

In the wake of Friday’s 7 – 1 drubbing of promotion rivals Burton Albion, he said: “When I saw our players before the game I could sense they were up for it.

“As they stood in the tunnel the noise was immense and I think it really lifted the lads. There was a sparkle in their eyes and a swagger about them I hadn’t seen before.

“What followed will live long in the memory. It was a terrific advertisement for the club and basically said to people who aren’t among our hard core of fans: ‘If you want to be entertained, come to Port Vale’.”

Vale dropped the price of admission to just £9 for the Burton game and saw the crowd swell to almost 11,000 as a result.

Smurthwaite said: “That attendance has certainly given us some food for thought as we consider season ticket and walk-up prices for next year.

“Listening to the chanting competition between fans in the Railway Stand, Bycars End and Lorne Street was just brilliant.

“It was the kind of atmosphere that our fantastic away following generate. I am so proud of them when we travel.

“They have definitely been the difference in some games this season – like in the last 15 minutes against Chesterfield where we snatched a point.

“The trick for us now is to create that kind of buzz for all our home games.”

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.

This is not a time to be falling out. The fans are united where it counts

There’s understandable anger and resentment among some Port Vale supporters at present – not only towards the sad excuse for a board of directors, but also towards fellow fans.
After the huge success of the ‘red card’ protest at the home game against Aldershot, there’s frustration that we are not now united as one single body of concerned supporters.
I actually think we are and that the vast, vast majority of fans want rid of the jokers currently running our club. In fact, I know we are.
The problem is that you can’t herd cats.
Some supporters can’t understand the apathy. They want to know why everyone isn’t standing in the cold outside the main entrance before and after games to vent their feelings towards Messrs Miller, Deakin, Lloyd and Oliver.
I’ll tell you why: People have places to go and things to do which they feel are more important than joining a protest. Others will never protest – no matter how dire the situation becomes at Vale Park.
That, I’m afraid, is the truth of the matter and thus there’s no point beating ourselves up about it.
I’m certainly not going to sit in judgement of those supporters who don’t protest or who hurry past the demonstrations with their heads down. That’s their choice.
We can gnash our teeth all we want – it won’t change a damn thing – and the last thing we should be doing is falling out over it.
Instead, I think we should be focusing on the positives right now. What positives?, I hear you cry.
Well, almost 3,000 fans held up red cards at the Aldershot game. Gimmicky or not, that was a pretty damning indictment of the whole board of directors (Mike Lloyd please take note).
On Saturday, the Supporters’ Club – through volunteers – held a poll at the turnstiles over the forthcoming EGM and the use of the proxy for the Robbie Williams’ shareholding to remove the four directors from office.
Anyone who caught of glimpse of the votes will know that the result is something of a foregone conclusion – with the overwhelming majority of supporters wanting ride of the entire board.
So while very few fans are prepared to actually demonstrate at this moment, I would argue that we are united where it counts – behind an endeavour which has more chance of succeeding in removing the deluded directors than protesting has on its own.
Let’s also not forget that Perry Deakin has resigned, Peter Miller has been sacked and the enigma that is Glenn Oliver has pledged to stand down at the AGM.
At the same time the unholy alliance has fractured to such an extent that the directors are falling over themselves to blame each other for the Blue Sky debacle/nil paid shares/mortgage (insert as appropriate).
Frustrating as the current situation may be, rest assured things are happening behind the scenes.
If, as seems likely, it is going to take an EGM to remove the likes of Mike Lloyd – then so be it.
In order for that to happen, however, certain ducks need to be in a row.
The Supporters’ Club has to jump through a number of hoops and be seen to be consulting with the entire fanbase (or as many as can be bothered) lest it be accused of being simply a vehicle for troublemakers (not my words).
There are so many ifs, buts and maybes at present that it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees.
The key is for us to find out just how bad a state Vale’s finances are in so that we can determine what measures are necessary to put the club on an even keel.
In addition, potential investors and those who would be prepared to sit on an interim board need to be sounded out to find out under what circumstances they would be prepared to become involved with Port Vale.
If this all sounds a bit too airy-fairy and long-winded for you, then I’m sorry.
But I genuinely believe that this war can only be won by fighting on all fronts – via demonstrations, yes, but also via democratic consultation with as many supporters as possible and through recognised business procedures and legal channels.
If I know one thing it is this: The positions of all four directors are untenable because they have misled fans, shareholders and Port Vale’s employees and they are all shockingly incompetent. We may have to be patient, but if they don’t leave of their own volition, rest assured they will be forced out of our club.