OVF has asked four regular users of the forum for their views on the 2013-14 and here are their opinions.
We wanted a wide range of views so we asked Jacko51, Animal, Howjy04 and Robbie Earle’s Perm for their views.
And without further ado, here are the thoughts of the OVF panel…
OVF: There’s probably a wide range of candidates, but who is your Port Vale player of the season?
[pullquote]He is the only player that I haven’t wanted dropping at some point during the season![/pullquote]
Jacko51: I voted for Chris Neal in the Player of the Year vote on the grounds that he is the only player that I haven’t wanted dropping at some point during the season! Tom Pope’s absence in these last few games has highlighted just what a very important player he is to us, as well.
Animal: This is a tough one. For me it’s between Loft and Neal as I think they have been the most consistent over the season. I think it’ll have to be Doug Loft. Both his work ethic and contribution have been top notch this season.
Howjy04: I’d select either Tom Pope or Chris Lines.
REP: For me it’s one from two. Chris Neal has been outstanding and is a must to get signed up again. He exudes confidence and with a better defence in front of him hopes should be high for next season. I noticed a few fans thought we should release captain fantastic Doug Loft last season but for me he is one of those who has actually excelled at a higher level.
Special mentions also to Tom Pope for continuing his flow of goals recovering from a poor start, Richard Duffy who has been the only shining light of an otherwise leaky defence, Billy Knott and Jack Grimmer and another excellent season for JMW who is very much under-rated by some given his record over the course of the last two seasons.
OVF: What was the worst moment (or moments) on the pitch?
[pullquote]We collapsed in such a dramatic fashion and it was followed by an unnecessary confrontation…[/pullquote]
Jacko51: The home defeat by Crewe when we played like a bunch of blokes from the local pub against a team in the relegation zone.
Animal: I think this has to be the episode at Bristol City. We collapsed in such a dramatic fashion and it was followed by an unnecessary confrontation between Micky and the fans that neither the club, players or fans needed.
Howjy04: It was a poor defeat versus Crewe at Vale Park.
REP: Carl Dickinson’s dismissal during the humiliating defeat at Bristol City. We were stemming the flow and performing manfully and to do what he did was crazy in the extreme. A more selfish sending-off I can’t recollect in thirty years of watching the Vale with the possible exception of Sam Morsy.
OVF: And what have been the highlights on the pitch?
[pullquote]A season where most people will agree we have exceeded expectations…[/pullquote]
Jacko51: The 3-0 away win at Crawley on a Tuesday night when we looked like Barcelona and the FA Cup win at Plymouth after Chris Neal saved that desperately late penalty.
Animal: For me I would probably have to say the opening game against Brentford. Our first game back in League One. There was a good crowd and we held our own against a team we all expected to be promotion contenders. We walked away from that game with the belief that we could definitely compete in league One.
Howjy04: The wins against Coventry (at home) and away at Tranmere.
REP: Lots for me in a season where most people will agree we have exceeded expectations. I think the win at home to Rotherham was pretty much the complete performance. The run of 4 home wins on the trot, the FA Cup run and the double over Walsall were also memorable.
OVF: Sum up the season in a sentence or two?
[pullquote]The team has exceeded my expectations in finishing ninth and frustrated the hell out of me with some of the points they have chucked away…[/pullquote]
Jacko51: The team has exceeded my expectations in finishing ninth and frustrated the hell out of me with some of the points they have chucked away which could have taken them even higher.
Animal: On paper we’ve done far better than anyone could’ve expected on the field. It’s been very frustrating at times given the games we thrown away and sometimes I did wonder how we were managing to retain such a good league position but the league table doesn’t lie and we should be proud. Off the field is another matter!
Howjy04: We’ve done well in patches.
REP: Exceeded expectations. I hoped and forecast twelth to fifteenth but I think most fans wanted anything above the relegation zone. It’s been great to maintain a top ten place for most of the season even though I think we might fall just short of that after the weekend. Full credit to Micky Adams, Rob Page and the players.
OVF: And your view on off-field activities?
[pullquote]It’s never any different![/pullquote]
Jacko51: Thank you to Norman Smurthwaite for subsidising the team. Some of his public utterances, however, have made me cringe although I am pleased he has finally started to take his foot out of his mouth in the last couple of weeks and be a little more positive about the future.
Animal: Unfortunately, there is nothing positive I can say about this and unfortunately ‘positivity’, or the lack of, is my biggest gripe about this season’s campaign. Norman failed drastically in his attempt to bring any kind of ‘good feeling’ to Vale Park. There has been poor PR, constant contradictions, poor creditor relations and very little passion for success. It worries me how bad it could get if we ever find ourselves having a poor season on the pitch!
Howjy04: It’s never any different!
REP: The owner’s problem has been the fact he tried to be too open, trusted the wrong people and was too emotional. Given he has put more money into the club than anyone in my lifetime and possibly the history of the club he has my respect and now it seems that he is posting less on social media, is issuing clear and professional statements and launching promising incentives things look promising moving forwards.
I do think he needs a complete overhaul of the current commercial team as this will be a key revenue stream and I would like to see him employ a PR Manager if he doesn’t want a CEO though I’m prepared to give a season on his own to see how he progresses the professionalism and marketing success of the club.
The OVF panel will be sharing their thoughts on next season later this week.