Change for change’s sake is a silly idea

Change for change’s sake is a silly idea

OVF editor Rob Fielding thinks fans need to stop thinking that a player not involved can do better than those on the pitch.

Rob Fielding writes…

It was during that awful hail shower that the comment was first pointed out to me by my dad, who was sitting next to me. “I can’t believe what that bloke just said,” he told me. Apparently, after a Chris Neal goal-kick (hit through the storm) had failed to find its target, the bloke in front was calling for Sam Johnson to come on.

Sam Johnson may become a fine keeper but Chris Neal is one of the best in this division, what a stupid comment to make…

My dad’s response was perfect – “Sam Johnson may become a fine keeper but Chris Neal is one of the best in this division, what a stupid comment to make.” His views were born out moments later when Doncaster keeper Bywater couldn’t cope with the same conditions and allowed Freddie Veseli’s shot into the net. It wasn’t something Vale needed to be scared of – Neal, as usual, coped admirably with the adverse conditions.

However, it’s a common problem at Vale matches – there’s always someone calling for a player not involved to be brought on because (their logic goes) he would do better than the bloke on the pitch.

I like Achille Campion and I think he has great potential but those who call for him to be involved in every match should perhaps look at Vale’s recent record without him in the squad – two wins and two clean sheets.

On the flip side, Louis Dodds has his detractors but I bet none of them piped up when he came on to perform a highly effective cameo against Doncaster. Although I like Dodds, I was surprised when he replaced Ben Williamson because I felt Ben’s pace was troubling a slow Rovers backline. That perhaps shows why I am not a football manager.

Dodds was soon involved, threading lovely through-balls through to the forwards…

Dodds was soon involved, threading lovely through-balls through to the forwards and in the joy of Byron Moore’s first goal for the club, it is perhaps worth remembering that it was the much maligned Dodds whose ball put Moore clear of the defence.

I guess it’s easy to think a player not in action is going to improve on what is in front of you – it’s that idea of the “grass always being greener” – but it’s not as simple as that. Football clubs don’t put out a text vote out for the crowd to pick their side and wait for the inevitable victory. Sometimes things are not as easy as that.

So, I’d hope that the next time you’re at a Vale game, you won’t be calling for one of the division’s best keepers and potentially the player of the year to be replaced just because his goal-kick went off-course during a freak gale.

And if you do, my dad will happily put you right…