What are Vale fans thinking ahead of the Yeovil game?
We recently asked a selection of die-hard Vale supporters their opinions on things Vale-related
Gerard Austin, from Hartshill, is the club’s match photographer, a role he has undertaken for a number of years now. He attends all Vale’s home and away games.
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.
Ally Simcock, from Stoke, is on the national council of the Football Supporters’ Council and is a support liaison officer at Port Vale and former Chair of the Supporters’ Club.
Dan Beech, from Burslem, is a Vale fan of 30 years and has assumed many roles at the club, including ball boy and programme seller.
The Chairman says it wasn’t his decision to appoint Michael Brown, but surely the fact he didn’t intervene suggests he was happy with the appointment – or was he?
Gerard: I’m not sure how much input Norman had with the appointment and he has probably been conscious of not intervening in a decision he has not made. Difficult for me to answer this one as I honestly don’t know.
Eddie: Despite his protestations to the contrary I cannot believe Norman will have retreated from involvement to the extent that he would not be consulted about a managerial appointment. He must surely have known something of this.
Ally: Norman Smurthwaite hasn’t been involved with day to day runnings of the club since the end of last season, so it’s difficult to say if he had any input into the appointment of Michael Brown. The current Chairman Tony Fradley and CEO Colin Garlick are the ones to make the recruitment decisions so far this season, and they gave Michael Brown every bit of support he needed to succeed. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.
Dan: He must have been ok with it or he would have stopped it from happening. The right decision has now been made though.
What do you think about former Vale midfielder Ryan Burge putting his name in the hat for the Manager’s job?
Gerard: I had to check the calendar to check if it was April 1st when I saw that one. Ryan is no shrinking violent and in all honesty could have been anything as a player for Vale as he had ability and skill. However, as for having the abilities required to undertake the task of restoring Vale to a Championship berth (which he suggested) I’d say I would have considerably more chance myself.
Eddie: Norman has already told Burge not to waste his time applying. For once I agree with Norman. It would be a truly laughable prospect.
Ally: I can’t make my mind up if Ryan Burge is seriously interested in managing the team or if he is attempting to be entertaining and humorous. No disrespect to him, but no thank you!
Dan: I am not a fan of Mr Burge so I am glad Norman has already ruled him out.
How confident are you that the correct decision will be made when the new manager is appointed?
Gerard: It’s tricky. I’d like to see a high calibre list of applicants for the position but I doubt that this will be the case. Therefore, bearing that fact in mind I think the list of applicants we do get is likely to make getting the right one somewhat difficult, let us say that those with a couple of failures in their last jobs should need not be considered. Only time will tell.
Eddie: Not at all. The last two managerial appointments have been poor and always looked so and Norman might be seeking a rare hat-trick. He needs to listen to the right people, including John Rudge, to improve the chances of making a sensible appointment.
Ally: Our management and player turn over ratio is horrendous, which doesn’t instil the greatest confidence. However, I’m hopeful if we don’t go for the cheap option, instead going for a mixture of experience and a good network of contacts, then we will make a good decision.
Dan: My confidence level is not very high, but hopefully past mistakes and lead the way to a better appointment this time.
Realistically, who would be your choice to take the manager’s job, and how likely is it that he will be the man chosen to do the job?
Gerard: Looking at it from a personal point of view I think Vale’s fortunes could be placed in the hands of somebody already at the club. Mick Ede who manages the youth team every season puts together youngsters who he hardly knows into a competitive unit every season. Therefore he is starting from a blank page every term. Maybe him with a shout also for the hugely experienced Ronnie Moore. Both together till the end of the term. Not big name appointments but on reflection a couple of possibles who just may make the future a little brighter.
Eddie: Very hard to settle on a name but the candidate must have League experience. Norman says that if necessary he will pay compensation to another club to get the man he wants so that will bring people like John Coleman into play. An ideal set-up would be to have a Director of Football to support the new boss.
Ally: Sitting at the bottom of League Two does not really allow you to cherry pick, but I would really like to see Owen Coyle or Chris Powell… failing that, I’ve heard Harry Redknapp is free.
Dan: Gareth Ainsworth would be a good shout but would be dependent on Norman putting his hand in his pocket for compensation. Other than that a seasoned pro who is not a journey man.
Vale now face Yeovil Town away, Accrington Stanley at home, followed by a trip to Stevenage in their following fixture. Given all that has gone on recently and the current situation, what do you feel Vale will get from the three games?
Gerard: A win at Yeovil a defeat at home again to Accy with a shout from the fans for John Coleman to join us and a draw at Stevenage
Eddie: Suddenly every game looks tricky for Vale and all opponents look like giants of the game. Yeovil are unbeaten at home, Accrington are having a great season and Stevenage always score but I expect Vale to gather around four points.
Ally: I never look forward to playing teams who have parted company with their Manager, as they tend to be difficult games. Everyone has a lot to prove in that position. The players want to prove they have what it takes and the caretaker manager(s) want to demonstrate their leadership skills. These are not easy games by any stretch of the imagination, but don’t write us off. I have a feeling me can get something.
Dan: Things can change quickly if the right appointment is made but with the current caretaker management in charge I think little will change so not hopeful of getting any points.