In his latest “One Vale View” column, Rob Fielding comments on Gary Roberts’ suspension and hopes that with help, the midfielder can conquer his demons and give himself a better life both on and off the pitch.
Rob doesn’t expect everyone to agree with him and reminds OVF viewers that these are his own, personal opinions.
Before I even begin with my column’s main topic, let me make a few things clear:
1. There has been no definitive explanation for Gary Roberts’ suspension but Micky Adams’ comments on Monday left little to the imagination.
2. Yes, football is very important and it’s pretty much a given that it is important to you as someone reading this site. But it’s not the most important thing in life – good health and good quality of life are more important, in my view.
3. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views. I respect your right to hold your views just as I hope you respect mine.
So, on with the column…
If Gary Roberts’ recent suspension has been caused by problems with alcohol, I feel desperately sad for the midfielder.
I am sure Gary Roberts didn’t miss training or turn up “unfit to fulfil his duties” through laziness or shoddiness; after all it takes massive dedication and resilience to get to be a professional footballer in the first place. More likely, and sadly, it appears that Roberts has serious issues and ones he needs support for.
It’s already a fact that Roberts has attended the Sporting Chance clinic for drink and gambling problems once before. But that is not a “one stop shop” – sometimes it takes more than one visit to resolve the issues.
Of course, Micky Adams’ first priority is to his employers and his team and his recent comments to BBC Radio Stoke show how upset he is with Roberts. Yes, I know Port Vale FC is not a charity, but as responsible employers, I hope they do try to help one of their staff tackle his problems, rather than simply casting him on the soccer scrapheap.
<span class=”pullquote”>As fans, we should all remember – Roberts is a young man in his twenties trying, very publically, to overcome some serious issues.</span> Ultimately, only he will be able to end his problems, but I for one would rather offer him words of encouragement and support rather than castigate him for not being perfect.
And most of all, I hope Gary Roberts comes out of this suspension a better and stronger person – not just for the sake of his Port Vale playing career – but to help him face and beat his demons long after his football career has ended.
About the author: Rob Fielding has been a Port Vale fan for thirty years. He founded the award-winning onevalefan.co.uk website in 1996. These are his personal views and he welcomes your comments on them.