Nimely: Contract issues not football matters disrupted Port Vale spell

Former Port Vale striker Alex Nimely says that there were “misunderstandings” between his agent and Port Vale chairman Norman Smurthwaite that disrupted his spell with the Valiants.

Nimely had a controversial spell with Port Vale during which time he made just one first-team appearance and (according to Vale) was disciplined twice for being absent from training.

I think at Port Vale there were some misunderstandings. It wasn’t a footballing matter, it was something with my agent and the chairman there…

In what will probably be a controversial statement for Vale supporters Nimely claims:

  • Contract disagreements caused problems between his agent and chairman Norman Smurthwaite
  • He went to Vale for three months (not the season-long deal Vale claimed at the time)
  • He had to pay his own transportation costs and that was “too difficult”
  • The problem “wasn’t the fault” of manager Rob Page
  • Vale refused to allow him permission to train with Bolton Wanderers

The player is set to resume his career in Romania and he told ITV Sport:  “I think at Port Vale there were some misunderstandings. It wasn’t a footballing matter, it was something with my agent and the chairman there. There were a lot of contract differences. I went there for three months but I stayed there for a month and had to leave.

“It is (a shame), to some point but I don’t like to talk about matters that have happened in the past. The chairman from Port Vale knew me from Coventry, as he’s a big fan of them. When I was coming back to fitness, he called me, told me I could go there, have some games and get back playing football. There were some disagreements going on with my agent – there were too many things going on outside of football, they couldn’t settle. I couldn’t afford to travel there every day from Manchester, paying my own transportation. It was too difficult.

“The manager there knew me as well. I’d just come back to fitness and it was really unfortunate, it wasn’t his fault, it was more of an issue with the contract.”

“When I was at Port Vale for a couple of weeks, Neil Lennon the former Bolton manager rang me up as he wanted to sign me. I went there for a couple of days but Port Vale wouldn’t allow me to go, it was too complicated.”

OVF Opinion

It is likely that the Valiants will dispute some of these claims.

Any contract differences would have been played out in confidence and behind closed doors, so it is difficult to judge whether Nimely has a point there or not.

However, the club announced on the 27th November that Nimely had agreed a contract until the end of the season (reported in the Staffordshire Sentinel) rather than the “three months” deal that the player quotes to ITV Sport. It would therefore not be a surprise that the club would block any attempt from a contracted player to link up with another club (such as Bolton) when he has committed to the Valiants.

Even if the deal was for three months as Nimely claims, it is highly likely that Vale would not be happy if (as Nimely says himself) “I stayed there for a month and had to leave.”

It would also not be a surprise that should Vale claims of missing training sessions be true that a contracted player would receive disciplinary action for not turning up and that a paid professional would be expected to meet their own transportation costs through part of their wages (or indeed move closer to the club).

However, with many months having passed since Nimely left the Valiants and with the player now having the chance to air his side of the argument, perhaps it’s just time to mark his spell down at Vale Park as a “failure” for both player and club and to move on.


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