Fans the only losers in Vale blame game…

Fans the only losers in Vale blame game…

Port Vale supporter Tom Bourne, who runs the Vital Vale website, offers his views on the long-running Adams contract saga.

Tom Bourne writes…

Following Vale’s abject defeat to Bristol City last night, the future of Micky Adams was once more thrust into the spotlight. For the second time this season, Adams was involved in a ‘discussion’ with a handful of supporters (and only a handful). Compare this with Porto’s supporters, who stopped the team bus following their 1-0 defeat to Academia earlier in the season following their first league defeat in 53 matches! Quite what they would have made of Vale’s shambolic defending heaven only knows!

Being an emotional sort, Adams reacted badly to the choice advice from the travelling Valiants…

Being an emotional sort, Adams reacted badly to the choice advice from the travelling Valiants. Now, our Micky is not everyone’s cup of tea. He can take perceived criticisms to heart and be abrasive in interviews. Over time, I’ve even found that to be quite endearing. You smile, raise an eyebrow and say, ‘that’s just Micky’. This time it’s different, says Micky, admitting that he has been considering his future for some time. Now, it’s not for me to criticise either those hardy souls who travel to Bristol on a Tuesday night for being unhappy. Nor for Adams to feel aggrieved for receiving what may have been some rather unpleasant personal abuse. Which brings us on to the more important question. Is there even a future to consider? Despite the continual protestations of Chairman Norman Smurthwaite, Adams has yet to be offered a fresh deal.

 Despite the continual protestations of Chairman Norman Smurthwaite, Adams has yet to be offered a fresh deal…

Having written comprehensively on the off-field political drama at the club over the last couple of years, I resolved not to waste that same amount of emotional energy this time round, but simply to go to the games and enjoy the football. Much of it I have enjoyed. Over-reacting to defeats, disagreeing with team selection and substitutions is all part of the package. Fair minded supporters would have bitten their hands off for a season of mid-table consolidation. While some of the performances, and particularly the defending, over recent weeks have left much to be desired, Adams should take great credit for his achievements over the last 18 months. I for one believed we would have struggled far more than we have this season. We have looked what we are. A mid-table side. Our good is good and our bad is hideous. The travails of the club’s ownership and financial state can wait for another time. And there may be much more of that to follow, unfortunately.

Adams has stated that his threat to walk away wasn’t an emotional over-reaction. But what it does highlight is the need for some clarity on his future. The club is in a far healthier state than it has been for a number of seasons. The club has made improvements in areas off the field. Chairman Norman Smurthwaite should take credit where credit is due. Likewise, the chairman’s role in other areas is a worthy debate for another day. The unedifying spat with the Sentinel, the at times appalling lack of communication, policing issues, the grainy matter of Paul Wildes’ departure and comments aimed at supporters are all pertinent matters for discussion.

However, on this issue, the time has come for the chairman to put up or shut up…

However, on this issue, the time has come for the chairman to put up or shut up. It would be fair to say the chairman’s pronouncements on this issue have been consistently inconsistent. Firstly, stating that it would be unfair on Adams to be offered a new deal while his own future was uncertain. Then revealing, in what seemed a breath later, he had no intention to walk away from the club and his future was certain. Revealing he needed an answer from the manager by the beginning of March on a contract yet to be offered, to then hoping to offer one by April, to one being signed within those dreaded ‘2-3 weeks’. All the time Adams publically, at least, declaring he is in the dark.

It can only be hoped that the supporters aren’t being used as pawns in a political game, from either side…

It can only be hoped that the supporters aren’t being used as pawns in a political game, from either side. Which would be an all too convenient excuse. Whether Adams stays or goes, or Smurthwaite stays or goes, it won’t be down to supporters. Nor should peripheral issues muddy the water. Whether you believe the oft told tales from several sources that the pair have an unworkable relationship or take on face value their claims that this is untrue, the issue needs resolving one way or another. It is the chairman’s prerogative to look elsewhere should he feel that Adams does not provide value for money. Likewise, Adams deserves to leave with his dignity and his thanks for his efforts should he depart. Given the likely budget cuts, he would undoubtedly be a hard act to follow.

Should there be a parting of the ways, let us hope that us, the fans, aren’t used as a convenient scapegoat by both parties. That we don’t deserve.

Vital Port Vale website

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