Our correspondent feels that a “new chapter is unfolding at Vale Park” as a summer rebuild looms.
James Russell writes…
Nothing in football is a given, it has to be earned in the right way. The fact that Port Vale’s fairly forgettable season could be lifted with the new takeover of the club and, potentially, an exciting future, is something that certainly provides hope that the club can be given a more realistic chance to earn their way back into League One, at least. It’s not a given, but chances of success should certainly increase, you’d think.
Port Vale have simply lost their way in recent times and the club is in desperate need of some fresh impetus and an injection of life…
Vale’s showing in League Two this season has been far too inconsistent from a team of players that has a distinct lack of quality. Budgetary constraints can always be blamed but the fact of the matter is, a club of Vale’s size should be finishing in or around the play-offs and not languishing in 20th place, just avoiding relegation out of the Football League and into Non-League football – something that would be simply devastating for the club.
John Askey has done his best with fairly limited resources and a squad that is simply not up to it, although Askey’s future could certainly be up for debate in the future, perhaps in the coming weeks as big changes appear to be on the horizon at the club.
One of the major changes will of course involve a squad overhaul which, judging by the team’s showing this season, will need to be fairly major. Perhaps Vale can draw inspiration from England boss Gareth Southgate, whose Three Lions rebuild heading into the World Cup in Russia was nothing short of sensational considering the amount of new players he bedded in – a Three Lions team that are heading into their Nations League semi-final full of confidence, with odds on them beating Holland currently priced at 27/20 (888sport), although the Dutch are no pushovers after showing signs of progress in recent times, with a victory for them currently on offer at 21/10 if you fancy an online betting flutter. Portugal are outright favourites for the competition at 7/4, with England just behind at 2/1.
The summer should provide England and Southgate the chance to grow further and build on their new-found identity. That is exactly what Port Vale need to use it for too, as we all take a break from the domestic football schedule and focus on England’s matches, whilst also hoping Vale can bring in the required quality to really push the team on next season.
The new owners, Carol and Kevin Shanahan, will certainly want to make their mark and demonstrate their ambition moving forward, with a marquee signing or two desperately needed to lift Vale’s glum fanbase.
Port Vale have simply lost their way in recent times and the club is in desperate need of some fresh impetus and an injection of life. Loyal Valiants will continue to support the club whatever division they’re in, but patience is wearing thin following a dull and depressing campaign with little to build on. It’s typical of season’s gone by where the club have simply stagnated under Norman Smurthwaite – an owner of the club since 2012, where he and his then business partner Paul Wildes bought the club and the ground from the administrators in a £1.25million deal.
A new chapter is unfolding at Vale Park as the Valiants look to re-establish themselves as promotion contenders in League Two and get back to League One – a division where they truly belong. First of all, though, a vital summer rebuild needs to be well planned and executed if the club are to stand any chance of promotion next campaign. In the meantime, while we take a break from domestic football and recharge our football supporting batteries, let’s enjoy Southgate’s England again, shall we?