Some fans need to let the manager manage

Some fans need to let the manager manage

Rob Fielding argues that while opinions are part and parcel of being a supporter, booing your team’s substitution is just not on.

Rob Fielding writes…

I do hope Rob Page doesn’t pay too much attention to what some Port Vale supporters think and say. Vale are doing very well under his tenure and I think we should trust him to carry on the good work.

However, it does seem that for some fans, the “grass is always greener” as they argue for whom they would pick in the side. For example, I heard one caller to BBC Radio Stoke’s Praise and Grumble programme suggesting that Vale should have adopted a rotation system over the busy Christmas and New Year period. All very well, but would such a move have brought Vale nine points from four games as Page’s policy of sticking with a winning team did?

I was bemused when some fans took to booing when Ben Williamson was replaced by Colin Daniel during the Gillingham game…

Similarly, I was bemused when some fans took to booing when Ben Williamson was replaced by Colin Daniel during the Gillingham game. I’m not even sure what the booing was for – was it because goalscorer Williamson was being replaced? Or was it because they wanted Campion rather than Colin Daniel?  If it was the former, then it’s a bit rich considering the amount of stick Williamson has suffered in recent months. For me, Williamson had an excellent game on Saturday – linking up well with Louis Dodds and causing umpteen problems to the Gills defence. If it was the latter – well just look at which player proved to be the matchwinner? The manager was proven to be right, but I bet very few of the fans who booed will hold their hands up and admit they were wrong.

Achille Campion may prove to be a valuable acquisition for Vale, but right now the jury is definitely out. I mentioned to my dad on the phone prior to the match, that there have been plenty of players to score bucketloads of goals for the reserve (including a certain, much-derided Ben Williamson) but many have not transferred their scoring exploits to the first-team. I hope Campion is the exception to the rule, but the fact remains – scoring in reserve games is not the same as scoring in first-team matches. On Saturday, Rob Page opted for the more experienced Colin Daniel instead – and his decision paid off.

I would suggest we trust the judgement of Rob Page. His decision to pick an unchanged team has seen Vale win three of the last four games…

So, what should supporters do? I would suggest we trust the judgement of Rob Page. His decision to pick an unchanged team has seen Vale win three of the last four games. His loyalty to Ben Williamson has resulted in two goals in four starts. Finally, his introduction of Colin Daniel resulted in three points on Saturday.

Yes, football is a game of opinions because fans care. But managers are not going to be swayed that much by fans’ thoughts. While speculation and views on who should start the game are naturally part of being a fan, I think the right time for that speculation is before and after matches.

Once the team sheet is selected and the team are all set to play then that’s the time when we need to put our personal views to one side, when we should let the manager manage and let the supporters support (not boo) the side.