We’ve asked six members of our forum for their thoughts on a number of issues – next up are their hopes for 2017…
Take it away panel…
What are your hopes for the New Year?
Jacko51: That some how or other we hang on to Alex Jones for the rest of the season. Signing a couple of tall players wouldn’t be a bad idea. We are currently a team of dwarfs and believe me, I’m an expert on dwarfs.
mr.hobblesworth: Staying up. I’d also like Streete sign a new contract and for Smith and Jones to still be at the club when the window closes.
PV1973: Firstly to stay in this division, I think we will, but to be honest after what went on pre-season I hoped we would just be able stay in this division let alone be close to the play-offs.
I’d like to see some improvement in performances and consistency now that Bruno’s had some time with the squad. I also hope hes backed to get in some better players to help us. I think that should be a number ten, a winger and a striker for starters.
Stupers: That we can get through the Huddersfield tie first and foremost. Something has to reignite the fanbase and a cup run could do it. I think we’ll know before that whether Plan B is kicking in or not.
Family Stand Terrier: Where do I start? I want the club to wake-up, basically. On the pitch I’d like us to stop the current rot that we’re in. I think relegation would be disastrous for us. These next few years are a critical time in the club’s history in my eyes. I really think it’s that important. That leads me to the off the pitch issues, which for me are huge. I think there are some serious challenges ahead given the times we’re living in. There are external factors affecting us that we can’t prevent, but we must adapt and constantly thrive to put the club in the best position to survive and prosper.
Without going into a huge rant, I want to see an experienced footballing man at the helm who can provide some positive leadership. Someone who can put in place a long-term plan and give us some form of club identity. The whole image of the club to me looks lazy and unprofessional. I want us to compete and to generate some form of excitement about the place. I then want that person to bring everyone together. I’m tired of all the divisiveness and hostility surrounding the club. A decent leader could change that. Wildes changed that. Whatever went on with Wildes we’ll never know, but during his tenure he generated a level of excitement (performances on the pitch helped of course) and professionalism around the club that I haven’t seen for some time.
Robbie Earle’s Perm: A few things immediately spring to mind;
1. A long cup run to generate the club cash and interest from floating/stay-away fans
2. Tie down Streete, Foley, Taylor and Grant to new contracts
3. The ability to win a game of football without Anthony Grant
4. The release of some of the deadwood from the squad to improve quality over quantity which should have been the case eighteen months ago and ever since.
5. A change not so much in terms of formation but its direction of use. 4-5-1 or 4-3-3 is a clever system if used well both in and out of possession. The key simple area to improve from my point of view is supporting the central striker when in possession of the ball.
If Norman “Santa” Smurthwaite was to give you one present this Christmas what would it be?
Jacko51: Finish the Lorne Street and turn it into the best Family Stand in the league. We need to attract those young ‘uns.
mr.hobblesworth: A proper, in-depth and sustained campaign to get more people, particularly the next generation of fans, into Vale Park.
PV1973: It would be easy to say throw money at the club, but that’s probably unrealistic… So, I’ll say stability. Learn from the fact that a lot of things he’s said over his tenure affects morale of both players and fans alike. Stop making disruptive statements about the club, players, fans and behind the scenes issues that arguably should be left in house. Let the manager manage and back him. If Smurf intends to stay make sure he’s got a plan for the club going forward – to grow its fanbase, to improve facilities, to improve its marketing and image around the area. He comes across like he’s just keeping the seat warm until its sold.
Stupers: To bring somebody in to implement his strategy for the football side of the club. I’m not comfortable with him being so close to the day-to-day management of the team. He needs to bring in an experienced football man to run this side of things, and sit back and watch that person and the Chief Executive execute his plans for the club.
Family Stand Terrier: An assurance that before he acts or speaks in future, he will ask himself this question; if I do or say this, will it negatively affect Port Vale Football Club. If the answer is yes, don’t do, or say it.
Robbie Earle’s Perm: Show Bruno and the rest the door and open it wide to Gary Rowett – now that really would be a Christmas Miracle!