It’s fair to say that Port Vale FC is not a happy place at the moment. The defeat to Chesterfield leaves Vale with a mounting task to stay up. So what has gone wrong at Vale Park?
Rob Fielding writes…
I have no doubt that when this season is reflected upon in the future it will be remembered as absolutely disastrous. In fact, Port Vale could have been following instructions from “how to **** it up in football”.
Here’s a list of footballing errors published in the hope that the club learn from these mistakes.
Ownership issues: Now we’re not even going to particularly touch on the off-field controversies but clearly an owner who says he wants to sell and has a habit of creating eyebrow raising headlines won’t help matters. But this is about the footballing side of things, so let’s leave that aside for one moment…
No stability: No matter what happens this season, the club must show some stability in the summer because the last pre-season was exactly the opposite. A huge turnover in players and a complete change in coaching staff wrought havok. Who knows how different things could have been if less players had been released and less recruited. It was a similar situation with the coaching team. You never know, it may have been different if Bruno had appointed an experienced assistant used to the lower leagues but his trio of coaching assistants had zero experience of coaching in England.
Picking the right manager: Not experimenting with Bruno Ribeiro. If it isn’t Michael Brown then an experienced, unassuming character such as John Coleman would suit this fan. It may not be a glamour move but consistency and continuity helps a lot in football (just look at the success long-serving John Rudge, Tony Pulis and Dario Gradi had locally) so Vale need to pick the right person and give them enough time and have enough faith to give them a decent crack at the job.
Just picking a manager: I feel that not showing faith in Michael Brown also cost the club. If you were a player seeking a move in the January window would you pick a stable club or one that cannot even decide on who the manager should be? It looks like top target Jamie Proctor opted for the stability of Keith Curle’s Carlisle United over Vale’s insecurity. No wonder Vale suffered a disastrous January transfer window.
Have replacements lined up: And speaking of the January window… if you are prepared to cash in on a player like goalkeeper Jak Alnwick then have a replacement lined up. The merry-go-round of keepers after his departure speaks volumes…
Have more luck when loaning in players: One thing out of Vale’s control is that Callum Guy, Tyler Walker and Olamide Shopido are all injured. That’s three of Vale’s four current loanees on the treatment table. The club will definitely be hoping their loan luck changes next season.
A balanced squad: This season we’ve had EIGHT contracted goalkeepers (and the club has used five of them) yet we’ve ran out of centre-halves and centre-forwards. It’s a squad which currently has half a dozen wingers but only Ben Purkiss as an experienced right-back. In short, it’s an unbalanced mess.
A fitter squad: Interim manager Michael Brown is coping with nine players out at the moment and there’s no doubt that at least some of those were caused by an inadequate pre-season fitness routine. The mounting injury list isn’t helping Vale at all as they battle to beat the drop.
Better signings: With all due respect to Chris Mbamba, Gezim Shalaj, Carlos Saleiro, Miguel Santos and Martin Paterson… none of them have had much of an impact on the Vale’s fortunes this season. Granted Saleiro barely played before leaving but they will all have cost the club in wages. One could also argue that the club would have been wiser to put its faith in homegrown prospects such as Billy Reeves, Dan Turner and James Gibbons…
Secure the talent: I’ve no doubt that fans will be complaining if hot prospect Remie Streete leaves for free at the end of the campaign. Yet this website has been urging the club to agree a long-term deal with him. But Vale have acted too slowly. It’s the same with snapping up loanee Alex Jones, who could have made all the difference upfront. Vale need to act quickly and decisively to get the players they want. I’m sure that Vale’s prospects would be a lot brighter if Streete and Jones had joined Nathan Smith on long-term contracts.
It’s not all over yet. Perhaps you still have faith (and if so, you should click here to find the latest odds on Vale’s survival). But even if Vale should scrape to safety some lessons need to be learned and acted upon.