Vale fans have their say
We recently asked a selection of die-hard Vale supporters their opinions on things Vale-related.
Eddie Jackson, from Oakhill, has followed the club man and boy and still attends all Port Vale games, home and away. He has also been a programme contributor and proof reader.
Nicki Jones, from Baddeley Green, is a life-long fan who has worked in the media department and other departments at the club on a voluntary basis.
Pete Lawton, from Sneyd Green, is a life-long fan and is a former Commercial Manager at Port Vale, having more than one spell at the club.
Jean Jackson, from Oakhill, follows Vale home and away. She has been a programme contributor and proof reader for a number of years and is very knowledgeable about the club.
A bit of doom and gloom has started to creep in of late, but did the second half performance against Crewe suggest things are about to change for the better?
Eddie: It’s a pity we needed to go down to ten men before mounting some serious attacking against an ordinary Crewe side. Perhaps we should always start with ten players! What happened did indicate the value of having two men up front. It remains to be seen if this is an indicator of better things to come.
Nicki: Yes, definitely. We have had a disappointing start to the season but the second half against Crewe was a vast improvement. Considering we lost at home to our rivals, I left the ground feeling encouraged and more positive.
Pete: As I’ve said before, it’s very early days. Whilst it was disappointing to lose on Saturday, both the team and management team need to be given time. Nobody ever won promotion in August.
Jean: The second half was certainly encouraging considering we only had 10 men but the manner in which the Crewe goal had been conceded still left cause for concern. We are the ones who are supposed to watching, not the Vale back four.
How can Vale begin to get the results they need? Is it all about signings, or about being patient with what Michael Brown is trying to achieve?
Eddie: We’ve already signed a vast number of players. I’m not convinced we’ll be signing any game-changers this week. We need to look at our formation, give more protection to the back four and go with two strikers.
Nicki: A bit of both. We still need more signings and, at the time of writing, it sounds like more will be arriving before the window closes. It is far too early to be calling for Michael Brown’s head. I couldn’t believe that some callers to a phone-in after the match were calling for him to be sacked! In my opinion, he needs more time for his ideas/plans to come together.
Pete: Patience is the key. I know we have been unfortunate with injuries, which has meant too many changes, but we have to try and get a settled side. Results will not improve if we are making two, three and four changes every game.
Jean: It’s about playing to the strengths of the players, not imposing a system that doesn’t suit them. Tom Pope has never had pace and can’t run in behind the defenders so playing him up front on his own with no one within 30 yards to pick up his knock-ons won’t work.
Colin Garlick and Michael Brown have both praised the Vale support recently – what part, if any, can the Vale fans play in in any success this season?
Eddie: Positive support is always useful to a team but some of our fans are very quick to accentuate the negative. I agree with Colin Garlick who has asked fans to reserve the booing for the end of the game.
Nicki: We need to be the twelfth man without a doubt. Having the fans behind the team must make such a difference to the players. When things aren’t going well, it’s important that the players don’t lose confidence which can happen if fans are on their backs all the time.
Pete: Good support is vital, but it’s also a two-way street and fans frustrations are understandable, it’s how the modern game is now. Let’s hope we can turn a corner this weekend.
Jean: I’ve never booed players however exasperated I’ve got with them. It serves no useful purpose and if anything just encourages the opposition. Positive support during the game can help and save the booing to the end if you must.
Which players, if any, have you been particularly impressed with this season?
Eddie: Denton, Whitfield, Pyke so far. All of these are loan players.
Nicki: That’s a tricky one as there have been so many changes to the team this season. Including the cup games, I think that only Smith has started every game so far. If I have to name a few though, I’ve been particularly impressed with Harness, Whitfield, Denton and Worrall. It was also great to see Popey back to his best against Crewe when he had a partner up front in the second half.
Pete: I think it’s too early to single out any player, good or bad. We are a work in progress, let’s look at that this time next month.
Jean: I like Tyler Denton, he is a real hundred percenter. David Worrall was impressive in his debut on Saturday and I hope he will get better with more match time.
Any other business?
Eddie: Like many other Vale fans I was pretty unimpressed with the after-match comments of Crewe boss Artell. If he’d said Crewe scored a good goal, might have scored others but fair do’s to Vale they put up a hell of a fight in the second half I would have taken that but remarks about uneducated Vale fans suggest the man lacks class.
Nicki: I hope that:
- The manager and his management team are given time to develop their squad.
- We manage to have a more settled side in the games ahead.
- PNE sell (or have sold by the time this is printed!) Jordan Hugill for millions.
Pete: With regards to the criticism of Michael Brown, I think he has to decide if some of his injuries are genuine injuries or down to players’ attitudes to injuries, It does concern me slightly.
Jean: I was disappointed to read about problems after the match on Saturday. The Crewe fans had clearly come with the intention of being stupid with the flares they set off during the game. It was a shame some of our own fans were looking to respond in kind after the game. I despair of football fans at times – will some of them never grow up?