Player stats and reputations mean very little – give signings a chance

Player stats and reputations mean very little – give signings a chance

OVF Editor Rob Fielding repeats an argument he’s made many times on the OVF Forum.

Rob Fielding writes…

I’m rarely surprised by some of the comments posted on the OVF forum during the summer. The chief topic of conversation revolves around transfer targets and it seems that some people continue to have markedly different ideas than me.

Let’s take each of those “opinions” in turn…

That’s silly. If they are good enough, who cares what club we sign them from?

“Not another Crewe player” – so no player of the year Michael O’Connor? Why not? Just because of a bit of banter from Crewe fans bemused/upset at our interest in their former players. That’s silly. If they are good enough, who cares what club we sign them from?

“He has a terrible record as a striker” – yes and so did Akpo Sodje and Tom Pope for OTHER clubs. It’s true that stats can indicate a lack of scoring prowess (see OVF forum threads filed under “Ben Williamson,” for instance) but it’s not a hard and fast rule. After all, as we know with Sodje and Pope, an occasional scorer for another side can soon turn into a prolific scorer for the Valiants.

Why are we signing “player x we’ve never heard of?” Ah, the old “annoyance at your own ignorance” argument. The poster is basically annoyed because a) we didn’t sign an (expensive) high-profile player and b) he doesn’t know anything about the actual signing so can’t really add any insight. Not every “chancer” signing pays off, but many do. I’ll just reel off some “unknowns” who didn’t do too badly, shall I? Andy Jones, Ian Taylor, Steve McPhee, Stewart Talbot, Marc Bridge-Wilkinson, Robin van der Laan… Need I go on?

What matters is how well (or not) the player does in a Vale shirt…

“We should sign player y who was brilliant for club z.” This is also known as the “Shane Tudor argument” in OVFTowers. After all, just like Tudor, how they play for another club often has little or no bearing on their Vale career.

Having dealt with each of those views in turn, let me get to the point which I think really matters.

For me, what really counts isn’t past reputation, stats or former clubs. What matters is how well (or not) the player does in a Vale shirt.

I know that the Internet and social media often demands instant judgement on everything, but can we be patient? Rather than writing them off (or indeed hyping them up) straight away, let’s see how they fare in a competitive fixture or two, first, shall we?