Don’t let Adams’ furore detract from Norman’s honest approach

In his latest column, Rob Fielding says that “Monday night’s performance did much to quell any doubts about how Norman Smurthwaite will fare”  and “the early signs are promising…”

It was a refreshing change to receive long, in-depth and (to my mind) honest appraisals of the club from the man who owns it…

Rob Fielding writes…

I was unable to attend Monday night’s Fans Forum at Vale Park. As an exiled Valiant, a long commute back from my London workplace means I am only just back in Aylesbury at 7pm. Getting to Stoke-on-Trent by 7:30pm is an impossibility even when they’ve built the HS2 link a couple of miles from my doorstep.

I was therefore delighted that the Supporters Club videoed the event so us exiles could see how events unfolded. And I must say, I was impressed with Norman Smurthwaite’s direct answers to the questions put to him (I was also impressed with his ringing endorsement of the onevalefan website as “a nice piece of kit” but that’s perhaps for another article).

It was a refreshing change to receive long, in-depth and (to my mind) honest appraisals of the club from the man who owns it. I was particularly taken by his response to one question about the size of the task he had taken on – to Norman this isn’t a huge challenge and he explained that companies like Stoke Audi have bigger turnovers than Port Vale. The equation was simple in Norman’s eyes – this wasn’t a big business challenge to him and the more people who come in and spend money at Vale Park, the more money there will be spent on the squad.

I think that Monday night’s performance did much to quell any doubts about how Norman Smurthwaite will fare as Vale’s sole owner…

So far, so good and I think that Monday night’s performance did much to quell any doubts about how Norman Smurthwaite will fare as Vale’s sole owner. I hope he will make more appearances at future fan forums.

But while I am on the subject of honest answers, Micky Adams’ press conference performance the following day certainly divided opinion. Some supporters felt Adams was correct to dampen unrealistic expectation while others felt the manager’s gloomy and to some minds, self-pitying performance poured cold water on the optimism that Smurthwaite’s performance had produced just 24 hours earlier.

Juding by the comments on the OVF forum there is little middle-ground when it comes to our manager. A section of fans will back him to the hilt despite his comments causing a bit of an uproar. Others will, say their detractors, never miss an opportunity to jump on his back even after he’s just won promotion.

Personally, I judge Adams as a manager first and foremost and I believe he’s our best boss since Brian Horton. If his comments were part of an exit strategy (and I doubt it) he’d certainly be difficult to replace and his harsher critics should be careful what they wish for. But that said, unlike some members of the Micky fanclub, I don’t think he is faultless- the timing and certainly the content of the press conference were unfortunate, to say the least.

However, I just hope the ensuing controversy over Micky Adams’ remarks doesn’t detract from Norman’s storming performance on Monday night.

It’s early days in Smurthwaite’s reign as sole owner, but to me, the early signs are promising…

 

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