Don’t let underrated Pope leave

Don’t let underrated Pope leave

Rob Fielding argues that the club should be doing everything in its powers to keep hold of underrated striker Tom Pope.

Rob Fielding writes…

Well over half of our opposing fans would be happy with Tom Pope in their side…

There’s been a recurring theme in around twelve months of our “Opposing views” feature. Well over half of our opposing fans would be happy with Tom Pope in their side.  However, with the player out of contract in the summer there are reports of approaches from other clubs, which thankfully the player has turned down.

Yes, Pope is not as prolific as he was during the 2012-13 season and perhaps he never will be, but he still remains our most potent goal threat, a consistent presence and arguably as targetman/talisman the one player in the side that doesn’t have a replacement. In my book, having no replacement logically means the player is currently irreplaceable.

Some fans argue that we can sell Pope and bring in some new talent from non-league. Perhaps we could but it’s no guarantee of success. Even in Rudge’s time, while he brought in Andy Jones, he also brought in Derek Swan who proved to be less of a hidden diamond.

Replacing a big sale with new “talent” is not a  guaranteed recipe for success…

Replacing a big sale with new “talent” is not a  guaranteed recipe for success. If it was, surely our neighbours Crewe would be top rather than bottom of the league? Vale replaced Andy Jones with David Riley, Bob Newton with Martin Henderson and winger Steve Guppy with ahem, Rogier Koordes.

I hope that the club hasn’t even considered selling Pope and (at the risk of repeating myself) I want to continue an appeal I first began during the Micky Adams’ contract saga. I urged Vale to start talks with Adams before his contract expired and in my blog I also suggested the same route with Pope.

Pope is clearly an asset, if the club want him to stay, start talking to him now rather than at the end of the season. It would solve so many issues – no more speculation of the star striker leaving, a welcome festive period boost to the side and no uncertainty (which the Adams saga undoubtedly caused) during the early closed season – the crucial period when the club want fans to buy season tickets.

Don’t sell Pope, sign him up!

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