I hope Tom Pope stays, I’m not hopeful he will…

I hope Tom Pope stays, I’m not hopeful he will…

Rob Fielding feels that Tom Pope will leave but he hopes fans appreciate his contribution should he leave Vale Park.

Rob Fielding writes…

I am happy to confess that I am a Tom Pope fan. Yes, I’ve seen better strikers at Vale Park (step forward Messrs Foyle and Jones) but I’m not one to downplay the worth of Pope like some fans seem keen to do. I personally think Vale will miss Tom far more than some fans realise.

I personally think Vale will miss Tom far more than some fans realise…

It seems to me that if a player is set to move on (as Pope surely is) then some supporters think it’s best to downplay their achievements almost so that they can minimise the loss.

They say he was only prolific for one season…

Not so, he scored 16 goals in League One which is no mean feat. A half-fit Pope still outscored everyone else last season. Not only that but it’s Pope hold-up play and ability to shield the ball that brings so much more than goals to the Vale attack.

They say he’s unfit…

He has had knee surgery and missed three months for goodness sake!

They say he’s past his peak…

But for most players the late 20’s IS their peak.

They say he’s replaceable…

I would argue potentially not – you certainly won’t get the likes of Chris Dagnall (mentioned as one fan’s preference) on Vale’s reduced wage bill. You may get a raw youngster with potential but not the proven Pope package and the loyalty he brings as a Vale fan.

Nevertheless, that loyalty is set to be sorely tested as Pope will surely not stay on Vale’s apparently vastly reduced pay packet.

Norman Smurthwaite is trying to be financially sensible while dealing with the fall-out of a large contract doled out by predecessor Paul Wildes…

It’s an argument that one can see both sides of. Pope needs the money as a professional before he retires. Anyone with a mortgage or family cannot simply take a 65% pay cut (if that is what it is) in their stride. Meanwhile, Norman Smurthwaite is trying to be financially sensible while dealing with the fall-out of a large contract doled out by predecessor Paul Wildes.

It seems never the twain will meet which for me is a great pity. I for one will not be downplaying Pope’s worth and achievements should he leave the Valiants.

I will simply be sad to see him go.