In our regular pre-match feature, we take a brief look at our next opponents – Stevenage…
Rob Taylor: pushing for a starting place
Vale have no new injury problems with only Chris Neal and captain Doug Loft ruled out. However, Rob Taylor has impressed in recent games and he may put pressure on Chris Birchall and Jennison Myrie-Williams on the flanks. Visitors Stevenage may give defender Ben Chorley his first league start of the season after his recovery from injury. Striker Darius Charles and midfielder James Dunne both remain ruled out.
Adam Yates: expecting a tough game
“We know how Graham Westley works and we know how his teams work. It is going to be a tough game, especially here where I imagine they will come and try to sit in and frustrate us, but the onus is on us to break them down.”
– Adam Yates
“It’s definitely a game we can win. I am more than confident. Individually we are better. There is more experience in our changing room now. It’s a case of taking that responsibilty and imposing our game on them.”
– Ben Chorley
(recent games first)
“We have got to beat Port Vale this Saturday. That the thing I am focused on. We are rising. What we have go to do is keep our form rising and climb the table… The big picture of this football club is 14 defeats in 17 under its previous manager. It’s eight defeats in 12 the start of this season and it’s what five defeats in 14 in the last 14 games. You have an 82 per lost record, has turned into a 66 per cent loss record, has turned into a 35 per cent loss record. We are doing less losing. We have lost 57 per cent of the last 14 games. We are doing more winning. But there is no consistency.”
– Graham Westley talks stats *
* Renowned online fanzine Two Hundred Percent stated in 2012 – “if self-important psychobabble is your thing – then Westley’s your man.”
The men in charge
Time in charge:
2009-10, 2011 to present
Games in charge:
207 (W: 90, D: 56, L: 61)
Promotion 2012, manager of the month (Sept 2010 and Sept 2012)
“We looked like a woman who had a big fur coat on but underneath she’s got no knickers on.” (following a run of three defeats in 2009)
Time in charge:
2003-2006, 2008-2012, 2013 to present
Games in charge:
400 (W: 194 D: 91 L: 115)
Conference play-off final (2005, 2009), Promotion (2010,2011)
“Every manager has his dashboard of indices that he looks at and points per game is the indicator I use most.” (more middle-management talk from Westley)
Sam Morsy: the last player to score against Stevenage for the Vale
Last time we met
The two sides last met in 2011 when a 72nd minute Laurie Wilson goal gave Stevenage a 1-0 home win.
- Vale wins: 1
- Stevenage wins: 2
- Draws: 1
The last time we…
Beat Stevenage at home is… never… The Valiants are yet to record a home victory having drawn and lost against them in their two previous meetings.
Did you know…
Only three Vale players – Adam Yates, Louis Dodds and Sam Morsy have scored against Stevenage.
The last Vale team to face Stevenage was:
- Chris Martin
- Adam Yates
- John McCombe
- Gareth Owen
- Lee Collins
- Rob Taylor
- Anthony Griffith
- Gary Roberts
- Sean Rigg
- Marc Richards
- Justin Richards
Jenno: will he look to prove a point on Saturday?
Jennison Myrie-Williams will be hoping to prove a point after an unproductive spell at Stevenage from 2011-12. Signed from St Johnstone, the winger had just three first-team starts during a 12 month stint with the Hertfordshire side.
According to fellow Valiant Adam Yates, Myrie-Williams “has seemed to have had a bee in his bonnet about it ever since” although Yates adds that the winger is “certainly someone I would want in my side, rather than be playing against.”
Defender Chris Robertson also played under Graham Westley at Preston North End.
Other players to appear for both sides include:
Guy Madjo. Justin Richards, Darren Murphy (see box on the right-hand side), Paul Mahorn, Callum Willock, Jay O’Shea, Daryl McMahon, Colin Miles and Vale legend Steve Guppy.
Darryl Murphy joined Vale from Stevenage in 2012 but the injury-hit midfielder was released after just 75 minutes of first-team action.
When the club reached the Football League in 2010, it promptly dropped the word ‘Borough’ from its title.
In 1999, Graham Westley bought a controlling share of Farnborough Town and installed himself as manager. One of the most controversial moments of his reign was switching a fourth round FA Cup tie to Arsenal’s Highbury stadium. This decision was made because the tie would net Farnborough £600,000 at Highbury but only £50,000 if played at Farnborough’s ground. Westley left the club after the sell-out ‘home’ tie at Highbury, which they lost 5–1.
Westley is also chief executive of the Aimita Corporation, an organisation that provides performance management consulting. “Aimita” stands for “Attitude is more important than ability”. Frankly, we prefer the LOTSIP organisation (“less of the self-important psychobabble”)…
Top up for Birchall?
Should Chris Birchall feature it will mark his 100th league appearance for Vale. During two spells, Birchall has tallied 62 starts plus 37 sub appearances.