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The Myth that is Tom Pope


philmpv

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No, anyone who went to that game is scum.

 

Good attempt at derailing a thread questioning the untouchable player who is a major contributing factor to our on the field performances. People will still be making excuses for the guy when we're down in the National North.

 

I wouldn’t go so far as to say they were scum but they are directly or indirectly supporting the death of lower league football. Sad days.

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Pope was one of our best performers against Morecambe. Yes the penalty miss was poor but he fought in midfield and won numerous headers.

 

In the last two games he’s cost us 2 points, winning headers in midfield because his mate Kay is crap and too busy pointing isn’t really what he will be judged on, by his own admission it’s all about the goals.

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In the last two games he’s cost us 2 points' date=' winning headers in midfield because his mate Kay is crap and too busy pointing isn’t really what he will be judged on, by his own admission it’s all about the goals.[/quote']

 

99.9% of the stuff you post on here is total garbage but this one we can agree on.

 

Light at the end of the tunnel for you yet pal.

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Whitfield is more creative than Pope at creating openings for other team members and himself, so I disagree with you there. The track record will mean nothing when Vae are relegated to the fifth division (Which seems more likely every week)

 

Face it...no player has had as many chances at playing badly and being picked week in week out than Pope has...it is only logical that he will weigh in with the odd header here and there

 

The bottom line is Vale have become too predictable and Pope is the main reason for this

 

I'd play both Whitfield and Pope.

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The only part I agree with is that we shouldn't be so dependent on one player. The fact that it we are tells you more about the rest of the team than it does about Tom Pope.

Tells you a lot about the ability of a succession of managers (and a chairman) who’ve struggled to build a squad with enough creative players and attackers to complement Popey. It’s not his fault that none of the other attackers and midfielders have stepped up to the plate or that we havent pushed the boat out enough to get them in to the club, which is why we rely on him so much.

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Take away all the other views/stats/opinion, but what is irrefutable is that Philmpv hits the nail on the head when he states factually, we do not have players with the ability of putting crosses into the box and IMO this is probably our biggest single problem and the largest factor in our appalling lack of goals--only 2 other teams out of the total 72 in the EFL have scored less than our paltry 27 goals!

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Followers of Popelam please do not continue to read this thread. I am about to question the Prophet....

 

I am strongly of the opinion that Tom needs to be dropped, immediately, and the apparent future strategy of building a team around him, a 33 year old immobile target man discontinued.

 

THE BASIC STATS

 

Over the past 40 seasons, our average goals for is just under 59 goals per season. For full seasons of teams including Tom Pope, that average drops, markedly, to just under 52 goals per season. This is despite the remarkable promotion season (87 goals). Take that season out, and the average drops to a paltry 46 goals per season. So, I think it is fair to say that a team including Tom Pope scores less goals than the average.

 

Many reasons may be postulated for the stats, and I would agree with some, but not all. In that flying season, we had great wingers supplying quality balls. We no longer have that, and haven't for some time. So, the big question, for me, is why we persist in trying to 'feed the Pope' when it is abudantly clear that we do not have the tools to do this. The crossing ability within the squad is, quite simply, shocking. This is not Tom's fault, of course, but would you continue to try to light a wet match, or find another way to start a fire?

 

HIS PERCEIVED HEADING ABILITY AND HOLD UP PLAY

 

'Popeball' is, of course, the system of choice, and has been whenever Tom is playing. Hit it as long as you can in the direction of Tom Pope and hope that he can make something of it. Which is fine if he generally makes something of it. He doesn't. He is generally marked by 2 CBs, making his life even more difficult. 8 times out of 10, he misses the ball, 1 time out of 10 he is penalised for a foul, given his inclination to grab whatever he can of his oppos, even in full view of the ref, and 1 time out of 10 he wins the header. Now if, when he actually wins the header, it was a targeted flick on or knock down, great. It isn't. The ball generally bounces off his head (which I think must be shaped like a sherrif's badge) quite randomly, and often back up into the air, leaving the CBs to win the second ball. In short, most attempts at Popeball result in possession quite easily being given back to the opposition. It's all well and good trying to get players in and around Tom, but if he cannot actually do anything other than randomly ping the ball back up into the air, then this will rarely succeed. When was the last time that we scored a goal from a targeted Pope flick on?

 

Another valid point is his immobility. If the ball isn't played to him on a sixpence, he can't get it, quite simply as he's both too slow and immobile to move a great deal. Often, a temper tantrum ensues at this point. When he does manage to win a ball, control it, and lay it off, he is so slow at getting into the area that the attacking momentum created is gone by the time that he does. The best example of this was the recent home game where he was partnered with Whitfield. Time and time again in the first half, Whitfield got in behind, looked up, and Tom was still some way from the area, leaving Ben with no choice but to try and take it on himself.

 

 

THE TEMPER TANTRUMS / ABUSE

 

This is a trait that really rankles with me.

 

I am all for players talking to each other and giving contructive criticism if this is warranted, even if this is shouted. Nothing wrong with that. However, to go to such extremes as Tom appears to, with the angry face, vitriol spewing from his mouth, pirouettes, and arms flailing does is completely unwarranted and, more importantly, not helpful at all to a largely young and inexperienced squad, and can do nothing but increase the liklihood of nerves and lack of confidence amongst such players. And this is the captain! A prime example of this was actually immediately prior to him missing that sitter against Cambridge. If you watch the replay, you will see the pirouetting Tom screaming abuse at the crosser, immediately getting the ball then, only to miss. I can't help feel that if, rather than having a tantrum as he was at that time, he would ver likely have scored.

 

To have a captain conducting himself in this way is not, in my opinion, conducive of any element of good morale, and will certainly not improve the situation.

 

Askey is now the third manager to see Tom Pope as the be all and end all, a knight in shining armour, such a quality player that the team must be built around him. If we continue down this road, we will only continue to fail and struggle. Aspin once said, I belive, something along the lines of 'there's not strikers many like Tom about any more'. Perhaps there's a reason for that? The game has moved on from permitting a solid grappling battle of strength between oppos. The amount of fouls that Tom concedes (rightly or wrongly) is testament to this.

 

As sensible as this post is it won't be popular..... partly because if he is dropped there is no one else to shout for.

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Take away all the other views/stats/opinion, but what is irrefutable is that Philmpv hits the nail on the head when he states factually, we do not have players with the ability of putting crosses into the box and IMO this is probably our biggest single problem and the largest factor in our appalling lack of goals--only 2 other teams out of the total 72 in the EFL have scored less than our paltry 27 goals!

 

We have a player who’s scored 17 goals whilst out on loan.....don’t want him near the team

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Since Tom Pope's return from Bury.

 

The facts:

 

2017/18 Season, 19 goals/46 Apps, top scorer.

2018/19 Season, 11 goals/28 Apps, top scorer.

 

No questioning his value to the team.

 

Everything else is opinion and debateable.

 

I think these stats only serve to support the OP as it’s clearly Popeball or no way and his ratio is dropping largely because people have figured him and us out. Sadly through little fault of his own he makes us a one trick pony. If everything revolves around him he really needs to convert more.

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Vale just need to find someone(s) to play along side him, someone with league 1/2 experience rather than drop him. The likes of an Alex Jones, a Leith-Smith (Just using ex-Vale players for effect). At the beginning of the season I thought we had found someone in Ricky Miller but for whatever reason it hasn't happened although there's still time.

 

I hope Askey plays Miller and/or Whitfield along side him on Tuesday, Harris doesn't appear to be the answer.

 

Vale are a one trick pony 'cause the opposition know we have no one else, if there was a goalscorer along side Pope and the opposition doubled up on Pope than Vale would surely have a greater chance of scoring goals.

 

I thought Pope got a really bad shake from the ref on Saturday, the pen should have been re-taken and countless times Pope was manhandled by their two central defenders and the ref gave nothing.

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