We have the opinions of all the clubs that are new to League One next season, starting with local rivals Burton Albion.
Here are the views of three fans from the Burton Brewers Proboard:
Best player last season?
A number of players have been remarkably consistent and given their all for the cause…
WOODY – A number of players have been remarkably consistent and given their all for the cause. Stuart Beavon and Phil Edwards are prime examples. Also some exciting prospects such as Nasser Al Khayati and Matty Palmer.
OBSERVER – John Mousinho – a great leader and very strong player.
TERRACEMAN57– Many of the squad had very good seasons but John Mousinho and Stuart Beavon were pivotal to our success this season.
Highlight(s) of last season on the pitch?
WOODY – There were some great wins against higher opposition in the Capital One cup. There were too many outstanding league wins to recount, but especially good when we were down to ten men! The fitness level of the team was tremendous. They simply got stronger and stronger as the season progressed with a real determination and intensity about their play.
OBSERVER – Playing great passing football by and large for a League Two club and winning at same time.
TERRACEMAN57 – Highlights would be the Capital one cup defeats of Wigan and QPR, the latter being our first ever victory over a Premier League Club. In the League was there were so many but wins at home against Shrewsbury, Luton, Wycombe stud out alongside the home game with Southend where our keeper saved a first half penalty, we still trailed 1-0 at half time and had unjustly in my opinion been reduced to ten men, In the second half we outplayed them, winning 2-1 with an 89th minute winner from Nasser El Khayati. Away the highlights were the 1-0 win at Hartlepool after two successive 1-0 defeats, the 4-1 win at Tranmere where our keeper again saved a penalty whilst the score was 2-1, the comprehensive victory at Morecambe to secure promotion and the last day of the season win at Cambridge where we lost our keeper at 1-1, were reduced to 10 men again but after going behind 2-1 again came back to win 3-2 with another last minute goal.
Worst moment(s) of the season on the pitch?
In terms of low points nothing compares to that annihilation on our last visit to Vale Park…
WOODY – In terms of low points nothing compares to that annihilation on our last visit to Vale Park. We performed well against our key rivals and had no major slip ups.
OBSERVER – Very few low points on the pitch although our results dipped off a bit when clubs started sniffing around Gary Rowett before he ended up at Birmingham City.
TERRACEMAN57 – A 3-0 defeat at Wimbledon, 3-1 at Bury and 5-0 in FA Cup at Barnsley in the period between Gary Rowett and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
Sum up the season in a sentence or two?
It seemed like every week there was a must-win game and we kept delivering…
WOODY – After the heartache of the previous two seasons, achieving automatic promotion was the dream. To win the league was an amazing achievement.
OBSERVER – We played superbly in what was a highly competitive League. It seemed like every week there was a must-win game and we kept delivering. Before the season started I thought we should get automatic and needed to having missed out in the play-offs for both seasons before. I never expected we would have lost Gary Rowett though who is a top quality manager.
TERRACEMAN57 – On the pitch I hoped for automatic promotion but even though we lost our manager to Birmingham City or new gaffer JFH tweaked our style and we won the title.
Your view on off-field affairs this season?
We are fortunate to have in my opinion the best chairman in the football league, he has also kept the club debt free and been an astute judge of managers…
WOODY – We were sorry to lose Gary Rowett and his management team. As usual the chairman acted with great dignity and backed his own judgement to give another young manager an opportunity. At this stage I thought it may become a season of consolidation while Jimmy Floyd adapted to League Two. Nothing of the sort as the club pushed on and Jimmy, along with David Oldfield, proved to be an inspirational appointment.
OBSERVER – Our owner (Ben Robinson) is superb (a very shrewd guy) and I doubt there is a club in lower league that is run better than our club. It is a very happy club on and off the field and the owner sets the tone. Our managers love working for our owner.
TERRACEMAN57 – We are fortunate to have in my opinion the best chairman in the football league, he has also kept the club debt free and been an astute judge of managers. We have a decent modern stadium paid-for and continue to progress in the right direction. I was very sad to see Gary Rowett and his back room team depart to Birmingham but fully understood why he couldn’t turn down the offer. Appointing JFH turned out to be a master stroke and his coaching along with his assistant David Oldfield have added a new dimension to our game.
What are your expectations for next season?
Traditionally, Burton build step by step and I do not see that changing drastically next season…
WOODY – Traditionally, Burton build step by step and I do not see that changing drastically next season. Adjusting to League One and staying there, hopefully comfortably, will suit us well.
OBSERVER – I expect top-half at least but we may even surprise a few and flirt with the play-offs. We won League Two by five points and we do have momentum. I base this on JFH staying the season as he is a superb manager and has us playing great football.
TERRACEMAN57 – Next season being our first ever season in league 1 is really exciting, I suspect we will do reasonably well, officially and realistically to stay up will be the remit. However I have faith in Jimmy’s ability to bring players in who will further improve us, this alongside Jimmy’s ambitions I feel may see us a surprise package.
Where do the club need to strengthen on the pitch?
WOODY – The backbone of our team remain under contract and major changes are not expected. We’reo doubt looking out for players with potential to develop as usual. Our training base at St George’s Park remains a unique selling point for the club.
OBSERVER – A big target man who can score a bit would be good. Jacob Blyth was on loan last season and started to come good but got injured in latter end of season. Otherwise we probably just need more strength in depth. We aren’t the type of club to throw silly money at anything though.
TERRACEMAN57 – On the pitch the vast majority of this season’s squad have been retained or offered new contracts, fringe players have been released and I expect new signings in midfield and attack, the players we have been linked with so far encourage me to believe we will be adding extra quality to what we already have.
If you could take one Port Vale player for next season who would it be?
WOODY – I’m no longer familiar with Port Vale players – will be able to answer this question 12 months down the line.
OBSERVER – I don’t know any of your players enough to say so would take a look at who your fans player of the year was and probably go for him (providing it’s not a goalkeeper – as I always believe the fans of a club really know how to judge what a player gives a team).
TERRACEMAN57 – In all honesty I can’t see any player in the Vale squad who I would want in the Albion squad. That’s not being disrespectful, more realistic that no one strikes me who would fit in or improve what we already have.
What do the club need to do off-field to improve?
Attracting bigger home attendances of our own and dealing with big away followings effectively at the Pirelli will be a challenge…
WOODY – Attracting bigger home attendances of our own and dealing with big away followings effectively at the Pirelli will be a challenge.
OBSERVER – If the club continues to be so successful on the pitch we will need more seating at the ground over time. We don’t need any yet though.
TERRACEMAN57 – For next season improvements in the ticket department have already been made, other than that most off the field business is very well organised and run. If we do well and attendances improve the following close season may see some expansion to the Pirelli stadium’s capacity, the foundations for future expansion were put in when the ground was built so this may not be as expensive as people might think.
If you were granted one wish for next season, what would it be?
WOODY – Gain the respect we deserve as a forward thinking, well managed club by those we beat!
OBSERVER – Promotion to the Championship – it’s a big wish but we have a great manager, a great owner, a great club and a bit of momentum. So I will dream that.
TERRACEMAN57 – My wish would be to see JFH fulfil his contract! I am sure if we do well next season top clubs will come calling. To win promotion to the Championship, preferably while Derby County (the sheep) go in the opposite direction! Also, to draw Derby in the Capitol One or preferably the FA Cup and beat them!
I have been supporting the club sine the 1969/70 season, even though I knew the club had great potential I never in my wildest dreams thought we would be where we are now. Nigel Clough gave an outstanding ten years service to the club and his contribution took us virtually into the league. Having never won a league title in our history we have won three this century, 2001/2 the Northern Premier league, 2008/9 the Conference, 2014/15 league 1. That’s great progress by anyone’s standards and for the club to have never been in debt shows it has been done in the correct way.
PS. I have lived in Hanley, Audley and Silverdale but always continued to watch my beloved Brewers, I understand the Vale (having watched them numerous times) and the rivalry with the Potters. I am pleased we are again in the same division and that we will have a Staffordshire derby this season to look forward to, in my eyes the Vale are our main rivals nowadays although Walsall are probably closer in distance. Oddly enough due to our proximity to Derbyshire a lot see our derby game as Chesterfield!