I wonder if, like me, you feel that there are a few unsung heroes that have been overlooked this season?
On the pitch, step forward one Marc Richards.
Richards is comfortably the club’s leading scorer and is heading for a deserved place in the club’s top-ten all-time scorers chart. Not only that, but captain Rico, not manager Jim Gannon, was the one who stepped forward to speak to the press after the Accrington debacle. In short, he’s been a class act on and off the pitch.
But a quick look at the latest OVF man of the match table (link here) and you wouldn’t know. Bizarrely, Richards doesn’t even warrant a spot in the top three places, despite his prowess in front of goal.
It’s very undeserved, in my opinion.
It’s a similar story off the pitch. I could name any number of people from the Black and Gold, Starve ‘Em Out campaigns, but as an example, take a look at what North London Valiants’ member Malcolm Hirst has achieved for his beloved Valiants…
I have known Malcolm for some years, back to this site’s There’s Only One Vale fan in Bristol? days (although he didn’t know I was going to write this about him). I did know, a couple of months ago, that he was looking for a way to instigate change for the better at the club. Well, rather than talking the talk, Malcolm has definitely walked the walk.
Hats off to Mr Hirst, he’s come up trumps masterminding North London Valiants’ campaign for an EGM. His work and that of the other North London Valiants members should not be underestimated. While, the protests are very good at broadcasting fan discontent, they alone are not going to directly force a stubborn board out.
The NLV effort, however, takes it a step further and could actually achieve a tangible result. The EGM gives fans the very real prospect of shareholders giving the board a big heave-ho. I just shudder to think how many hours the NLV committee have put in getting their plans to this stage.
But would the Sentinel-reading Vale fan know anything of Malcolm’s work? I doubt it! The local paper have barely given the EGM campaign a mention, as its reporters seem happier covering club press conferences and having cosy chats with the Chairman. The paper is missing out by ignoring some of the real heroes of this season.
Well, it’s a different story here on OVF.
I want to celebrate those who haven’t had the banner headlines and their names up in lights. So, Marc Richards and Malcolm Hirst, take a bow, you are my nominations for unsung player and fan of the season.
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.