OVF editor Rob Fielding says he has detected a change in manager Micky Adams this season – and the Vale boss and football club are all the better for it.
Rob Fielding writes…
I’ve changed my mind about the Port Vale manager this season.
I supported Micky Adams because I felt he was a good manager even though other aspects of his personality irked me…
You see, in previous seasons I supported Micky Adams because I felt he was a good manager (no-one can disagree after he worked miracles last season) even though other aspects of his personality irked me. So, I effectively respected him, but didn’t particularly warm to him. And I suspect I wasn’t alone in that view.
I know that BBC Radio Stoke’s Lee Blakemen has made a habit of reminding fans that many of the Vale’s boss’ post-match remarks were made with a “twinkle in his eyes” and the odd “raised eyebrow” but radio isn’t exactly the best medium to see facial expressions. So, reliant as I was on his spoken words, I felt Adams often came across somewhat passive-aggressive, combative, petulant even.
But all that seems to have changed as this season has progressed.
I don’t know whether sorting out his dodgy hip has helped made Micky a little mellower, but recent interviews have shown a more relaxed, a more easy-going side to the manager than was previously the case. A case in point would be Adams’ comments on the team’s chances this season. His remarks (pre-hip op) after the Wolves games were widely seen as pessimistic and defeatist when he claimed that the side would be battling relegation. Well, look at his comments this week. Adams said “I think we have done great and slightly surprised ourselves and myself. After the Wolves game I questioned whether we were good enough, but I know we are now.”
This season, Adams has also come across as a more rounded tactician and manager…
“So what?” some may say. The manager’s post-match comments are important but they’re not a vital part of his job are they? But to me, this season, Adams has also come across as a more rounded tactician and manager.
Last season, hamstrung by finances in the early part of the season, Vale played in a very rigid but effective style. That’s understandable. However, some would argue that even when the purse-strings were opened in the January window, Adams’ tactics floundered as the season wore on and teams worked out how to combat Vale, particularly in midfield. I don’t mean to diminish Adams’ remarkable promotion campaign when I say that Vale crawled, rather than waltzed, over the promotion finishing line.
But look at his tactics this season. He’s been prepared to ditch his favoured formations to match specific opponents, he’s dropped some of his favoured players (Tom Pope, for instance) when they needed a wake-up call and he’s even brought youth into the side in the exciting shape of Jordan Hugill.
In many ways I can understand Adams’ belief in tried and trusted players (he’s there to win games not develop youngsters’ careers) but he now seems far more willing to dip into the development squad. On Thursday he even commented that he didn’t want to bring in a youngster on loan because “if we need a decent youngster I will look to my development squad for that.”
All of this is very encouraging.
We have a manager which no longer makes me cringe when he’s interviewed post-match, who appears to be happy to bring youngsters in and whose team are performing really well on the pitch…
We have a manager which no longer makes me cringe when he’s interviewed post-match (no need for smiles and raised eyebrows anymore), who appears to be happy to bring youngsters in (providing they are good enough) and whose team are performing really well on the pitch. The players clearly respect Adams and his back-room staff including George Foster (credited with scouting Jordan Hugill) and the highly-rated Rob Page appear to work well together too.
So, what’s not to like? Well, only one thing. I’ve already said that I’m really warming to the manager this season (he deserves enormous credit) and I hope his change in style (both on and off the pitch) indicates he’s happy and content with life at Vale Park. A great way to cap off a tremendous 2013 would be for Adams to sign a new contract before the end of the year.
What a fabulous Christmas present that would be!