Weekly Digest: Stick or twist?

Our weekly magazine article looks at a key September decision looming for the Valiants…

Back in the summer, Norman Smurthwaite told the media that he would review Rob Page’s position in September. The Vale owner told the media in May that “he will review the appointment at the end of September and will make a ‘ruthless’ decision if necessary.”

If Page is living up to expectations and can expected to deliver – should the Vale owner back him with transfer funds and secure Page’s long-term future…

Well, as we’re now over half-way through the month and the Vale are eleven matches into the season, decision day will be coming soon.

Page is under contract until 2017 and so the manager’s faith in his manager is now crucial. If Page is living up to expectations and can expected to deliver – should the Vale owner back him with transfer funds and secure Page’s long-term future to prevent bigger clubs sniffing around?

On the other hand, if Page hasn’t delivered to Norman’s expectations then is now the time to act? An awful lot has clearly been personally invested in the likes of the Ryan Inniss loan deals and the permanent move for Remie Streete.

Smurthwaite has not been slow in criticising his manager’s mistakes (as anyone who read THAT tweet after the Bradford loss will recall) so after saying he will review the manager’s position in September, it’s surely now time for him to do exactly that.

For what it’s worth, this fan is backing Page. The quality of football on offer is vastly improved and despite much criticism about some of his summer contract offers, Vale look a much strengthened side for Page’s work in the transfer market.

The only red mark would be the lack of a proven goalscorer but I don’t think that should spark too much criticism. Goalscorers are a rare and much-sought commodity and Page has shown his eye for a player in other areas of the team – just look at bargain buys such as Anthony Grant and the decision to start with rookie Enoch Andoh. Page also has the raw striker JJ Hooper – develop him into a goalthreat and you could say that the manager has done all that was asked him.

However, it’s not this fan Page has to convince – it’s the manager and it will be decision day very soon.


With the focus on Rob Page, let’s ask some questions about his career…

1. How many caps did he win for Wales?

a. 31
b. 41
c. 51

2. When did he join Port Vale as a coach?

a. 2011
b. 2012
c. 2013

3. When Micky Adams left in 2014, what were Page’s first opponents?

a. Bradford
b. Fleetwood
c. Barnsley


It’s been an eventful week in the life of Nathan Smith. He has seen Torquay United manager Paul Cox resign on Friday and then played in Torquay’s 3-7 defeat to Bromley – their biggest home defeat in 20 years. On the positive side, I guess you could say it’s “character forming.”

Elsewhere, Aziz Deen-Conteh joined Adam Yates back at Vale Park after his loan spell with Boston United ended.


birchallChris Birchall won the vote for the game against Carlisle United

  • Chris Birchall – 20%
  • Remie Streete – 16%
  • Louis Dodds – 15%

So overall, the leaderboard looks like this:

  • Grant 3 (Swindon, Gillingham, West Brom)
  • Dodds 1 (Doncaster)
  • Purkiss 1 (Crewe)
  • Andoh 1 (Burnley)
  • Dickinson 1 (Bradford)
  • Dodds 1 (Carlisle)

Quote of the week

Defender Richard Duffy reflects on the defeat to Millwall:

[su_quote]”We have set our own standards and they have been pretty high. You have to try to reach them every game, but you have to be realistic and in some games you are not going to quite reach it…”[/su_quote]

Tweet of the week

Captains meet-up. England U23 netball captain Brogan Griffiths meets up with Port Vale captain Carl Dickinson at Vale Park. If you wish to help Brogan achieve her dream of leading out the U23 side in Australia, please go to www.gofundme.com/BroEng and donate now.


Epic fail

Epic Fail Ratings

Time at club: Two seasons

Highpoint: Earning a permanent move

Lowpoint: Setting a new club record for red cards

In the mid-2000’s Vale had not had an awful lot of luck with left-backs. Craig James joined in 2004 but after two years of mediocre performances, he had left. In 2005, the signing of veteran Micky Bell had not worked out and he had returned to the West Country in January 2006. But Martin Foyle’s search appeared to be over when he signed youngster Jason Talbot, initially on loan, from Mansfield Town. Talbot had been sent-off during that loan spell but that appeared to be an isolated incident and the 20 year-old joined on a permanent basis in May 2006.

His comeback lasted five games before he saw red again – this time against Leyton Orient…

However, that loan dismissal should have flagged up the warning signs. Twelve matches into the 2006-7 season, Talbot was sent-off in a game against Scunthorpe. His comeback lasted five games before he saw red again – this time against Leyton Orient. And to cap the season off, he was dismissed for a third time in a game against Millwall in May.

He did better in his second season – just the one red card was issued during a game against Cheltenham – but his record of five dismissals during his Vale career remains a club record.

He was released in the summer of 2008 and moved to the Scottish Leagues. He continued in his unique style (three reds in 34 appearances during the 2013/14 season alone) but has remained red card free for the last two seasons. What a pity he couldn’t manage it while at Vale Park!

One hit wonder

We briefly celebrate the brief careers of players who made a solitary appearance for the club.

One Hit Wonder

Name: Alan Oakes

Sole Appearance: 31st October 1983 versus Plymouth Argyle

After retiring as a player, Alan joined the Valiants as a coach under manager John McGrath in 1983. McGrath’s side was enduring a disastrous season in Division Three. An injury crisis in October saw Oakes drafted into the side at the end of the month and on the 31st October he played in a 1-0 home defeat to Plymouth.

At 41 years and 60 days he became one of the oldest players to appear for the club (the record stands with Tom Holford who played at the age of 46). That solitary game was to be Oakes’ only appearance as a player and he departed the club in December 1983. However, Oakes was brought back by new manager John Rudge in 1984 and served until 1987.

Quiz of the week answers:

  1. b
  2. a
  3. c



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