A guest writer for this website explores what can be done to reverse Port Vale’s fortunes.
A Vale fan writes…
If you caught any of the 6 Nations best moments the other day, then you’d probably recall that us Vale fans have not had too many good memories lately. We all hope that Michael Brown and the team will be able to give us fans something to be cheery about in the foreseeable future but after the 2-1 loss to Bradford City at last Saturday and the draw against Southend that elusive win is still some way away. Can anything be done to turn The Valiants luck around?
The club needs stability everywhere. Owner Norman Smurthwaite needs to decide whether to invest more into the team or to sell it off to someone who will. On the playing field, there needs to be consistency in selection. Teamwork and co-ordination won’t come if the starting eleven changes every other game. Michael Brown and his coaching stuff have had a tough job to do after Bruno Ribeiro left the team in an unfit condition mid-season. However, if necessary, Port Vale FC may need someone with even more grit to pull the team out of the rut that it currently is in.
Fan vs. Owner
Smurthwaite has been in the centre of controversy lately with a lot of criticism. It cannot be denied that his decisions have not worked out the way they should have; especially regarding his treatment of manager Rob Page and his appointment of Bruno Ribeiro as manager last year. He even commented that the club budget had to be reduced since not enough fans are buying season tickets. Fans, on the other hand, consider Smurthwaite to be responsible for alienating many of them from their club. This is a situation that needs to be resolved a soon as possible because ongoing fan vs. owner arguments can only harm the team.
Quality over Quantity
When for Bradford a fortnight ago, it once again underlined what a loss it was for The Valiants when Jones left Vale at the end of his loan spell and signed up for Bradford City. The management was guilty of gambling too much on the ability of low wage young talent to perform. It would perhaps be best if they concentrated on bringing in fewer players into the squad with more quality, even if it meant a slightly increased budget.
It isn’t that Vale cannot win the relegation scrap; it’s just that the team needs to prepare for what is to come if they do slip down to League Two. Fans may be angry and frustrated at the moment, but they will stick with their team till the end. The management and the owner need to show some of the same faith in the club as well.
Sadly, these things won’t all happen right away and even if they do, the results will take some time before taking effect. Nevertheless, it is indeed time to take some positive action before it’s too late for the next season. In fact, Smurthwaite should perhaps also invest in some marketing efforts if he really wants to sell those season tickets.