OVF Editor Rob Fielding argues that Rob Page needs time and the opportunity to build his own squad before judgement can be passed.
Rob Fielding writes…
It’s perhaps understandable that after such a poor second-half display against Leyton Orient, the “Page out” contingent have been more vocal recently. But I still have faith in the Port Vale manager.
Some of the reasons why have been aired before in previous columns, but it doesn’t mean that they aren’t still relevant.
He needs time
Rob Page has been in charge for 193 days. Yes, 27 weeks. Is that really enough time to judge him, especially when you consider that due to contracts, transfer windows and the like, the majority of the squad are not his signings? Even managerial greats like Sir Alex Ferguson or (closer to home) John Rudge needed time to mould a squad to their liking.
They will be mistakes
There has been plenty of nit picking of Page’s tactics, squad selection and the like. I don’t think he’s perfect but then again, who is? All managers will make mistakes. Even John Rudge dished out £300,000 on Peter Beadle. Page is a rookie in managerial terms and he won’t always get it right. The key for me is not whether he makes the mistakes but whether, over time, he learns from them and becomes better as a result of them. In my view, you can’t be too harsh when a manager makes mistakes 193 days into a job.
We need continuity
A good example of the value of continuity could be seen with our opponents Leyton Orient. Under the unassuming Russell Slade they almost made it to the Championship, but following his departure after four years of relatively unsung progress, the club are on their third manager of the season and are in the relegation zone. Look at other struggling clubs and a familiar pattern emerges…
Blackpool, set to drop to League One have had six managers in two seasons; Burnley by contrast appointed Sean Dyche two seasons ago, stuck with him despite a poor start to the Premier League campaign and may yet be rewarded by staying up.
We can’t afford change for change’s sake
Even if you are in the “Page out” camp, then even you can’t deny that bringing in a new man has a huge element of risk. I remember some fans being delighted at the appointment of Jim Gannon and the “carpet football” that was promised. It goes without saying, that there aren’t too many Vale fans (if any) praising Gannon nowadays. So, for all their CVs and reputations, a new man isn’t necessarily going to turn things around.
Judge him in twelve months
My final argument to the “Page out” camp would be that you really need to judge him when he has his players and signings in place. We can expect another high turnaround of players in the summer and so I would argue that it would be this time next season when it would be best to pass judgement on Page’s progress.
Patience is a precious commodity in football. I hope that Vale fans will show some towards Rob Page.