Manager Micky Adams has told the Sentinel that “other people want to talk to me” as he weighs up a contract offer from the Valiants.
Adams is set to be out of contract this summer and the contract saga has dragged on all season (see panel on the right).
Earlier this month, chairman Norman Smurthwaite said that a contract “will be put in front of him [Adams] ” and that there is currently no Plan B if Adams fails to stay.
However, Smurthwaite also said that he had a “gentleman’s agreement” with Adams to stay and that he would “bet my mortgage, if I had one” on the manager remaining next season.
But Adams’ stock is high after he guided the club to an unlikely promotion last season and did better than expected in League One this campaign. He may see his “free agent” situation as a chance to move on to another club while his stock still remains high at Vale Park.
Speaking to the Sentinel, Adams said: “I have to look at it and analyse it and, with the greatest respect, other people want to talk to me.
“I don’t want to name names, but like all players at this time of year I am a free agent.”
Adams maintains that one of the sticking points would be whether the Vale transfer budget will be big enough to move the club forwards and he commented: “I want to be successful and I want this club to be successful. I want the supporters to enjoy the day they had against Northampton (when the club won promotion). That seems like an age ago but it was only a year ago, where we were celebrating.
“I don’t really want to suffer a relegation. Don’t get me wrong I have been relegated before with football teams and it is not a nice feeling. All the good will that we have at the football club, we want to keep.
“I want to be successful for me but mainly for the supporters because it is their club.
“Forget all this nonsense about me, I am just a custodian of the club. If I don’t stay, there will be 60 or 70 applicants for the job, that is how good it is at the moment.”
Adams’ future has been the subject of much debate and has caused a “chicken and egg” situation at the club. Uncertainty over the manager’s future has produced lower than expected season ticket sales while those lower season ticket sales would mean a lower playing budget and therefore less incentive for the manager to stay.
The long wait…
Sept 2013: Adams refuses to comment on his contract and hints that he could leave at the end of the season
Sept 2013: An editorial by OVF urges the club to sort out Adams’ contract by the end of 2013 at the latest
Oct 2013: Chairman Norman Smurthwaite claims that he wants Adams to stay
Jan 2014: Adams is linked with the vacant Blackpool manager’s job by some media agencies
Jan 2014: An OVF editorial says that Adams’ contract should be the club’s “number one priority”
Jan 2014: Tom Pope says that the Vale players are desperate for Adams to stay
Jan 2014: Smurthwaite says there should be “something on the table at the end of February, early March”
Feb 2014: Smurthwaite says that initial contract talks with Adams have begun – although a written offer is yet to be made
Feb 2014: Adams says he has yet to see any offer, that Smurthwaite “has to deliver” a contract and if it’s suitable he’s “never expressed a desire to leave”
Mar 2014: Smurthwaite says Adams will sign a deal by the end of the month but Adams says it is more likely to be the end of the season
Apr 2014: Smurthwaite says that “Micky’s contract will be put in front of him”