Tom from the @unofficialvaleTwitter account says that the team’s hard work and fans’ support can help Vale beat relegation.
So what went wrong, and how have we ended up in a relegation dog fight?
First of all, let’s look at the players. We lost ten in the summer. Were they amazing? No, but there were some leaders in that team. I feel the likes of Louis Dodds and Carl Dickinson have been missed the most this season. We’ve not had a solid left-back or a player like Dodds who gives us everything for ninety minutess and will score you ten goals a season (something we are missing a lot).
The majority of Bruno Ribeiro’s signings have now found themselves out of favour with Michael Brown and may not play for us again, Kjell Knops and Anthony De Freitas are the only two whom Brown seems to like and apart from Amoros and Cicilia, the only ones who seem good enough to perform at this level.
The reason for the mess is our business in the January transfer window. With Jak Alnwick and Anthony Grant leaving the club for around £350,000 you would have expected us to have a plan in place to replace them but everything was all very last-minute on deadline day.
Bury goalkeeper Ben Williams had a medical with us on deadline day, we were all set to sign him and then didn’t apparently because of a squabble over a minor amount of wages. Would he have been better than Leo Fasan? We’ll never know. We also apparently had the chance to sign Bolton striker Jamie Proctor but we lost out to League Two Carlisle because they were prepared to pay more! We also lost out on several other targets. It looks to me like Brown called up his mate Danny Pugh and then called an agent asking who he’d got in the books who could play in goal (that we don’t have to pay for). Having said that, two January additions, Callum Guy and Tyler Walker, have looked pretty impressive.
The third factor is our results. We haven’t won a game since the 1-0 win over Chesterfield in December. Since then we’ve had complaints about fitness, players have fallen out of favour, players have publicly been called out and the team as a whole has somewhat imploded.
We now have sixteen games to save our season and keep our place in league One. I feel Brown can turn this around. He has talked of luck and Vale’s luck needing to change but you don’t win a lot of games in League One with luck, you win them with hard work, dedication, a good attitude and a team working together.
That’s his task from now until the end of the season starting with the two home games coming up against Bristol Rovers and Bradford City.
We can get out of this relegation battle and I think we will be a league One team next season, Norman Smurthwaite knows he has really “dropped one” this season with appointing Bruno. It was a massive gamble, but you can’t fault the faith and money he put into Bruno and the plans and promises which ultimately weren’t true and never happened (for example, Joe Mourinho’s promises to provide loan players).
I’m sure Norman wants this club to be a Championship club in the future and he just needs to get it right. There’s no doubt in my mind it’ll be another VERY busy summer and there will again be a lot of changes in personnel but until then let’s get behind our club and support them!
You can follow Tom’s views through the @unofficialvale Twitter account