Vale supporters in upbeat mood
We recently asked a selection of die-hard Vale supporters their opinions on things Vale-related
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
Mark Porter, from Kidsgrove, has followed the Vale all of his life and is proud to be the Chairman of the Port Vale Supporters’ Club.
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.
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.
How relieved were you to see Vale finally get a home win under their belts last weekend after beating Cheltenham Town?
Jean: Very! There had been signs of improvement against Grimsby but beating a team who were second in the current form table at the time can only have done wonders for confidence. To follow it up with a great win at Morecambe was just the icing on the cake.
Mark: Very relived I thought they played really well, disappointed to not keep a clean sheet but very pleased that we managed to get a win and score 3 goals. Also scoring 3 goals on Tuesday and keeping a clean sheet was really good I actually think we can start moving up the league now.
Gerard: Incredible karma after a frustrating few weeks knowing that there are no good sides in the division and we were by league position one of the worst sides in it.
Ally: The relief was unimaginable. It has been a very low few months in the life of a Port Vale fan… it’s about time we turned a corner.
Managers often get the blame when teams have a run of bad results. How much credit should Neil Aspin take for that home win?
Jean: There is a clear difference in the way Vale play under Aspin compared to Brown. Our tempo is now much quicker and we no longer play with Tom Pope looking like Billy No Mates up front. Aspin should take enormous credit for this.
Mark: I think Neil Aspin should take a lot of credit. He has stuck with a system that is now paying off, only conceded 1 in 2 games yet scoring 6 fantastic the appointment and performances have lifted everyone players, staff and fans.
Gerard: Since the start of the season I have believed we have potentially a good side to compete easily in this division. However, Neil Aspin has changed the desire and so far moulded a side that can win a match. I thank him for that. Time to build some bricks on this foundation.
Ally: The new Management team need to take some credit for the win. After all, they have played with the exact same players which we have had during our dry spell, but they have managed to re-ignite the players’ self-belief.
Vale travel to Exeter City this weekend for what is expected to be a very difficult fixture. How do you see the game going?
Jean: On our last visit to Exeter the owner nearly had a heart attack and decisions he made following on from the defeat led to us being in the pickle we now find ourselves. We will do well to get a point there but it’s to be hoped the owner has a much calmer day than the last time. And stay off the coaches, Norman!
Mark: I see this as a draw at worse. Four weeks ago I couldn’t see us winning a game, now I can’t see us losing. We seemed to have just clicked and Aspin has managed to get the best out of them. It’s going to be a difficult fixture but one we can do well in so I will go for either 1-1 draw or 2-1 to the Vale, Pope to get another goal for the Valiants – that really would make it super Vale Away.
Gerard: Paul Tisdale works miracles at Exeter every season, a student and a thinker who is respected within the game. We have a chance as everyone does against everyone else in this league but we need the same desire we produced against Cheltenham and a lot more.
Ally: Exeter are flying high this season and are currently sitting in joint second place in the table. We will really need to raise our game on Saturday but it’s definitely a winnable game. I would like to see us coming home with at least a point.
What do you think of the FA Cup draw earlier this week which saw Vale drawn out of the hat to face Oxford United at home in the first round of the competition?
Jean: I’m glad we’ve got a home draw and it isn’t one that looks like a banana skin. Oxford will be a very stern test for us but if our form continues to improve we may get something from the game.
Mark: It’s not a bad draw and winnable at home. I’m predicting a decent result, I just hope the club don’t put it on a Friday night. I think a Sunday game will be better and draw in a bigger crowd.
Gerard: A tough game on whatever commodity you like paper grass etc etc. We are at home and I’m not sure whether it’s good or bad. It maybe a tough ask and a game too far as we progress but I really want our league form cementing and this season that has to take priority.
Ally: It’s not a very glamorous tie to get in this round, for either team. I can’t imagine many Oxford fans relishing the thought of travelling over 100 miles to watch it. However, we could really do with a decent cup run, so we should keep everything crossed.
Anything else Vale related on your mind?
Jean: Does anyone know why the Newport game was changed four weeks before the due date when the Rugby international date was announced in April and the fixtures came out in June? Never mind about the fans who have already booked train tickets. They don’t matter.
Mark: It’s just pleasing to see us finally playing well and winning games. Our season has really turned around, the team are responding to Neil and his team and I feel we could go on a long run – who knows, ending up in the play offs perhaps. We can but dream, let’s hope for a big windfall from the sale of Jordan Hughill and then bring in a couple of experienced players in January, it might be a White Christmas after all. Up The Vale
Gerard: I have to air this story after the Vale game v Cheltenham and I hope Ben Whitfield doesn’t mind. I have unofficially become Vale’s Railway side coach. As Ben walked towards me and there was a stoppage in play, he looked across at me and said ‘God I feel knackered’. With a smile on my face I said that he ought to forget about that, get out there, score and celebrate in front of my camera. He laughed and a minute later that’s exactly what he did.
Ally: The club feels like a very different place since the new Management team came in. Everyone is upbeat and positive… long may it continue.