A creditable summer’s work, now its down to the players…

A creditable summer’s work, now its down to the players…

Rob Fielding reflects on some “remarkably good off-pitch work”, hopes that the players rise to the task and pays tribute to OVF administrator Pete Tindall.

Rob Fielding writes…

Norman Smurthwaite only took sole charge of the club a mere 75 days ago. In many respects, it is remarkable there have been so few problems…

With the eve of the season upon us, I feel it’s time to reflect on another hectic summer at Vale Park.

Let’s look at the ground improvements… This time last year, the club only got a safety certificate thanks to the efforts of a number of fans who volunteered their services. This year, we have a brand-new purpose-built club shop, a new ticket office,  an up-to-date entry system, we have plans to complete the Lorne St stand and even though they are temporary, the facilities for families is infinitely better than those in recent years.

Yes, there have been teething issues, but surely those are to be expected. After all, Norman Smurthwaite only took sole charge of the club a mere 75 days ago. In many respects, it is remarkable there have been so few problems.

Yes, it would have been nice to have the home kits delivered earlier. Yes, there were problems with the card readers at the friendly matches (but surely it’s right that the friendlies are used to iron out these things and surely the club will learn and improve as a result of them). But there have been far more positives than negatives.

I don’t think we’ll see anything similar once Norman has a full summer to put his plans in place…

Paul Wildes’ departure probably didn’t help Vale’s plans for a smooth summer and I would imagine that the boardroom changes had an impact on the smooth implementation of the club’s summer plans. However, having spoken to Norman Smurthwaite a few times, I am convinced he is the right man to be in sole charge of the club. Norman will get the job done and will certainly learn from these glitches. I don’t think we’ll see anything similar once Norman has a full summer to put his plans in place.

And let’s look at it this way – compared to the clowns who have been in charge of the club prior to November 2012, we have witnessed some remarkably good off-pitch work.

I am a little disappointed that these massive improvements appear to have been played down and/or ignored by some fans in favour of highlighting the “glitches.” I wonder if those fans were in Smurthwaite’s shoes, whether they could have done any better?

I am also greatly encouraged by the quality of signings brought into the club. Robertson, Lines and Dickinson bring experience from higher divisions while Griff, despite what his critics say, is an excellent signing – he may not create much but what he will do is stop the opposition creating much too. It’s interesting that the side have been in prolific form in the summer again and I wonder whether Vale will once again upset the odds with their attacking football.

The only people who can actually put points on the board for the club are the players themselves…

Now, having mentioned all the positives from the summer, it’s fair to say that none of us, not even Norman Smurthwaite, cannot predict with certainty how the season will unfold.

The only people who can actually put points on the board for the club are the players themselves.

I hope that the team does do well. After all, they’ve certainly been given the right foundations after a hugely creditable summer’s work by the club.

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OVF will be much the poorer without Pete’s presence. I will miss him immensely…

On another note, I was deeply saddened by the news of Pete Tindall’s passing on Friday. Some things are so much more important than twenty two players on the pitch and Lisa and her family are in my thoughts right now.

Despite the title, “onevalefan” is certainly no one-man show, but the “backroom” team who work on this site are rarely singled out for praise. Pete was a vital member of that group, universally liked by the OVF team and forum users alike. His passing is still taking time to sink in.

Pete was a huge help to me personally – he was positive, enthusiastic, eager to help and a joy to work with. Pete provided many photos (the one at the top of this article is one of his) and content and I spoke to him only a few weeks ago about him providing a regular contribition to the site. As you would have guessed, he replied enthusiastically and positively. It was typical of Pete’s commitment to Port Vale and to OVF.

I will not forget Pete’s assistance to OVF and I hope to announce a number of things that I hope will pay tribute to Pete’s considerable contribution to OVF in the near future.

OVF will be much the poorer without Pete’s presence. I will miss him immensely.

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